Why I Admire Artists

Given that this blog celebrates art and everything about it, I rarely write a great deal about artists. Most of my articles have been about works of art and the display of them, however the creators of these pieces are pushed into the background. Now however, I am going to explain just why I admire artists and why you might too!

Firstly, artists have a strong backbone. On a personal level they put themselves on the line. They are self-employed meaning that they have no one to hide behind, meaning they put themselves under huge risk concerning financial security, especially when trying to become established. Furthermore, being self-employed also means that if issues arise surrounding their work they do not have colleagues or corporations to support them, in short, there is nowhere to hide.

Another example of a strong sense of character is in the courage and determination in taking the decision to actually be an artist itself. Thousands of students every year go to study at art colleges; however how many of them actually decide to make art once they have graduated? Not many. It takes guts to decide to go against the grain and opt to make art instead of working in an office.

The act of being an artist also shows a sense of dedication and determination in a culture where there is so much competition and little room for success. This sense of fortitude allows an artist to withstand ignorant comments like the famous remark: ‘a five year old could do it.’ Where I might argue that if a five year is able to do this then why have you not done something ten times more spectacular? Yes a five year old may be able to make the same marks on paper, but would said five year old be able to approach a gallery, come up with a concept behind the work and market themselves to a public in order to bring themselves fame and fortune? No, I didn’t think so either.

The final reason why I admire artists is the way in which the most famous are still remembered throughout history. On a personal note as an art historian and as a point of comparison, how many people study or could name a famous art historian? Only art historians themselves, and very few at that. However, how many people could reel off a list of artists? Probably the vast majority. Even compared to the entertainment industry where we still remember musicians and actors throughout the past century, there are still more artists throughout time as famous and remembered figures within our own society. You would be hard pushed to name a singer or actress from renaissance Italy but it would only take a moment to remember the art of Michelangelo and Raphael.

Hopefully after having read this you will have a little more respect for an artist who has gained fame from what appears to be a squiggle on a piece of crumpled up paper.

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Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

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