Do you know the distinction between artist and craftsman ?
A bit of History
The separation between artist and craftsman has not always existed. Initially, "artisan" was defined as any person who practiced an art, whether through the application of a technique or through knowledge of one of the fine arts. Thus the potter and the sculptor were considered similar.
Excerpt from a philosophy course for the final year of high school :
Etymologically, the word art refers first of all to the idea of know-how: for the Greeks, art was first of all a tecknè, i. e. a technique, a clever way of doing things in a given field.
Thus, Antiquity did not make any strict differences between the craft of the craftsman and the activity of the artist and considered that both the potter and the poet were men of the art. Art was first seen as a skill, a method acquired through learning and based on empirical knowledge. However, over the centuries, the difference between the artist and the artisan has become more pronounced. In the 18th century, we now speak of Fine Arts to refer exclusively to the artist's productions. The artist is no longer a particulary skilled crafstman but a man endowed with genius and capable of creating an original and meaningful work.
The imprint of our collective unconscious
Popular wisdom that is not always a symbol of wisdom, prejudice, clichés, we hear everything and anything about the role of an artist and the work of a craftsman.... Often the artist will be worshipped or rejected. The craftsman himself, even if mentalities change for the better, will be considered as an expert in his field but always in fields far from art.
A quick exercise: If you ask what a craftsman is?
- Well, he's a house painter, a plumber, a bricklayer, a gardener, a landscape gardener, etc...
- Some of them are very serious and others are real crooks
- they never finish within the deadlines they have announced
And an artist?
- so... uh... it's someone who gets up late, who dresses like a tramp, often an alcoholic
- often recognized after his death
- a genius I wouldn't like to live with, I hear they're unbearable !
- an oversized ego
- who lives outside reality
- I loooove artists !
You see, these are regular - not exhaustive - practices that weigh heavily on these two trades.
I even, during one of my permanences in an ephemeral shop, heard a visitor tell me about my collages:
- It's nice what you do... ah! But you're a craftsman?... Well, I only like artists !
Valserine : artiste ou artisan ?
I must say that personally I had a hard time choosing which square to put myself in... I had the tableau collage between two chairs somehow.
If I chose craftsman it is because I did not want to make only unique pieces, even if my tableaux collages are ; I wanted to be able to print as many postcards or magnets as I wanted without depending on a distributor.
I also had bad feedback from some of my friends artists about their health coverage, it scared me a little bit since I'm no longer 20 years
The price I was going to give to my creations also made me doubtful, my aspiration being both to free the decoration from its imposed fashion constraint and to offer it all the prerogative of artistic favourites and to allow people on small budgets to acquire my unique pieces without getting into debt.
The door between my studio and my imagination is never closed, is it the characteristic of the artist or craftsman?
november 6, 2018