When is it fair to call yourself a professional artist?

We posted this question on our Instagram on 14th May 2021, here are the answers offered by our followers:

  1. As far as I know, ‘professional artist’ isn’t a protected term or title – so you can call yourself one if you so wish. I much prefer the term artist without a qualifier. Life is elitist enough – so as far as I’m concerned – ‘professional artist’, ‘amateur artist’, ‘self-taught artist’, and all of the other label can just do one. Can you tell that pigeonholing is a trigger for me? How do people define what a ‘professional artist’ is? Is it down to qualifications, having a studio, having gallery representation, lots of sales, a large amount of collectors, honesty, integrity, an artist statement?
  2. Professional artist is a bit of a weird title and just being called artist is enough. You can claim the term whenever you want to. I think the term professional artist really just means any of the following: you are aiming to exhibit your work in public settings; aiming make a living or some money from it (when possible); aiming to dedicate a considerable portion of your time to your practice; aiming to present yourself to the world as an artist.
  3. I always considered a professional artist as someone who makes a living from their art đź’° But more recently I agree – commitment, time and energy making and showing art, as well as networking and being a part of creative spaces makes someone professional too.
  4. Love these comments! I feel like it depends on what kind of artist you want to be, I don’t think there is strictly one type of artist or a benchmark for what is deemed to be professional artist status. For example, I love delivering workshops and have based my art CV and a page on my website around this. I have lots of experience delivering workshops and feel confident enough to consider myself to be professional in that sense. I think being able evidence your work and the way you work is always helpful in cementing your professional standing. From my experience of commissioning artists to work on projects with me, I had no idea if a person was a long-standing “professional” artist or someone new to the art world. I was looking purely for someone who fulfils the brief, communicated and acted in a professional manner, was reliable and able to deliver on-time, quality works.

Published by Artist Discussion & TERM Art Classes

Artist Discussion and TERM Art Classes are a fellowship of two entities who share values and online platforms to encompass peer support opportunities for artists and the art inquisitive.

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