Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How do you define a "professional artist"?

I'm an artist - but I'm not a professional artist.  Following on from the recent and very popular post "How do you earn the title of artist?" I thought I would now ask a slightly different question - how do you define a professional artist?

Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) - self portrait c.1500 - age 28 
Here's the Chambers definition of "professional" to get us started....
professional adj
1 earning a living in the performance, practice or teaching of something that is usually a pastime • a professional golfer.
2 belonging to a trained profession.
3 like, appropriate to or having the competence, expertise or conscientiousness of someone with professional training • did a very professional job.
4 derog habitually taking part in, or displaying a tendency towards, something that is despised or frowned upon • a professional misogynist.
1 someone who belongs to one of the skilled professions.
2 someone who makes their living in an activity, etc that is also carried on at an amateur level. professionalism noun. professionally adverb.
Chambers 21st century Dictionary
My definition of a professional artist is purely pragmatic - it's an artist who makes their living mainly or entirely through their art.

So for example, that might mean a professional artist was somebody who was a practising artist who sold their art in galleries, also taught art in a school or college or workshops and maybe did some illustration work as a sideline.

What's YOUR definition of a professional artist?
  • what, in your view, are the defining characteristics of a professional artist?
  • do you have to be able to sell your work to be a professional artist?
  • do you have to make enough money from your art and give up all other employment to be a professional artist?
  • what characteristics or attributes or practices distinguish a professional artist from an amateur?
Professional Artist Magazine

By the way - did you realise that earlier this year the magazine Art Calendar (http://www.artcalendar.com/) changed its name to Professional Artist.  However, it's still the same URL for the website!

Note re image:  Following on from the Rembrandt drawing of the previous post, this is also an opportunity to post the self-portrait of a professional artist with an enormous output who I hugely admire - Albrecht Durer.  He is regarded by many as being the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance.