What does it mean to be an artist? I have always struggled with this question. Is it someone who intentionally creates something? And does the creation need to have meaning or purpose in order to be art? I recently read an article No Artistry in Apes which talks about the contemplation of art made by monkeys such as the well-known “artists” Congo and Betsy both chimpanzees as being defined as art or not. Many Art Critics argue both sides with substantial evidence in both cases, however the question always arises does the monkey consciously know what he or she is doing and understand aesthetic values, and if so would that determine their status as an artist and their work be approved as art?
While sitting in my backyard overlooking a typical Florida-style fenced in yard with just the tops of palm trees and roof tops showing I realized something. I define myself as an artist because I have the ability to see beauty in the most unexpected of places. I sometimes depict this beauty in form of a poem, portrayed through a painting, or captured in a photograph. However, other times I simply take it in and only reflect on it. In my opinion alone, I don’t believe an artist necessarily has to create something, and I don’t believe everyone who creates something is an artist. I believe an artist is a poetic soul who views the world around them as living art. A being who uses any or all of his senses as tools for reflecting this living art. They can see beauty in the most unexpected and ugly of places as easily as they can see it in the most expected and beautiful of places. That captured moment is then what becomes an act of inspiration for them to create and to share with others or to simply digest and take in for themselves alone.