Anyone Can Be An Artist, Yet Not Everyone Believes It

Is it time to release the artist within?

Christopher P Jones
7 min readSep 22, 2022

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Persian Nightingales (1917) by Paul Klee.
Gouache, watercolor, and pen and black ink over graphite on laid paper, mounted on cardboard; the sheet bordered at the top with yellow paper strip mounted to support. 22.8 × 18.1 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, U.S. Image source NGA

I’m here to tell you: anyone can be an artist.

There’s no special method to being creative, nor are there any perfect conditions.

The urge to make art comes from within and is often irresistible. Yet for some people, acting on their creative impulse requires encouragement because they believe that too many barriers stand in their way. The artist needs to be released.

The obstacles to making art are plenty. Many can feel that creativity is only for the privileged and eccentric few, and that ordinary people like themselves have no real place in the world of art. Impostor syndrome is common: the sense that everybody else knows what they’re doing and has the talent to pull it off, whereas they are only amateurs limited by a lack of training, a scarcity of time and a sense that one day they will be found out and exposed.

This is all nonsense, of course. All artists begin as amateurs and many remain so throughout their lives. Many of the most famous names in art history have suffered spells of public or personal inadequacy.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from looking at artists through history it’s that no artist’s story is a straight line. More or less every creative person who ever lived has experienced exhilarating high points and debilitating low points that render the professional/amateur divide almost meaningless.

The true measure of an artist is not how much money they make or how many artworks they’ve sold — or in the current age, how many followers they have — but in the values they carry within them.

What are those values?

It’s a mixed bag, but I’d suggest a combination of open-mindedness, a willingness to be different, a sense that chance and happenstance are friends to the artist, and a perception that life is not something to be optimised for profit but is far more extraordinary than that. Persistence is important too, as is a readiness to let the smallest or weirdest detail take on immense significance. This list can really be summed up in a single pledge: to remain insatiably curious about the world.

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