The word "Artist" gets thrown around a lot. But there are levels and rights of passage to that word. There are people who live it, breathe it, bleed it out everyday and push the boundaries of what we know, and there are those who scuttle around the border of the word trying to hold on but slip away.
I believe that the word really means that you are a traveler through a world unseen by others, where the foot steps you take in to that foreign abyss get translated in to a physical form in this world. You brave the unknown, and constantly traverse that vast, spectacular place that, at the same time, comforts like a warm blanket and scares the shit out of you.
Foot steps. Traveling. Movement. Advancing. Exploring. Feeling.
Earn the word! Be worthy of the title.
It's the action that defines you. Paint! Sculpt! Write! Dance! and REPEAT! It's only over a period of time through dedication of action that the earning of the title comes about. Yes, there's more to it then that, but people sometimes focus so much on the aesthetic beauty of the result that they don't question the process. And it's through the process of creation that the true magic occurs. Don't ride a wave of one beautiful painting for years and sit on that artist throne thinking your job is done. Continue on your path. Or relinquish your throne.
Think about it this way. You can't call yourself a hiker if you drive to the head of the trail and stand in the parking lot lot. Right? But, what if you took one step in to the woods. Are you a hiker then? What if you took three steps but never any more. Are you a hiker then? It's through the action that the definition of the word earns merit. What if you went hiking 6 months ago and haven't gone since. Are you a hiker? Maybe. What if you last hiked 6 years ago? Are you still a hiker? Sounds absurd doesn't it. Well, some people paint something one time, frame it, hang it on their wall and say "I'm an artist."
Let's not forget that to be a creative person in this lifetime is a gift. Sometimes it's a double edge sword, but in the end it's a gift. I struggle with this myself, when life gets in the way and mundane tasks supersede my creativity. But I try to keep coming back to my path. Try to take my steps, experiencing what's around me while always looking around the bend for more. Then take those sights and funnel them through my spirit and out of my hands. Bits and pieces of translations that fascinate and enliven sleeping souls.