I’m not an artist.
You might think that someone who spent the better part of the last couple decades making stuff, pictures of stuff, pictures all lined up in a row and played back at 30 per second, and pictures you could convince to move around with a gamepad would be an artist. At the very least they would call themselves an artist. When they ask me what I do, I usually tell people “I make things”. It just feels more comfortable. More honest.
A while back I wrote a bunch of words about the the term “art”. I described how I thought maybe “art” was more of a verb than a noun, and that anyone that ever made anything is, by definition, an artist. I’m not going back on that. I still believe that art is a thing you do and not a thing you make. Whittling down the specifics of the language, people who make things are probably best described as artists.
Unfortunately the title of artist is saddled with a lot of expectations and strictures. Artists are supposed to have some well of inspiration. They are supposed to draw on human universal truths. Artists are supposed to be granted some uncommon talent that most people can only marvel at. That’s not me. That has never been me. I solve small problems and make things.
Maybe there are people out there that have ideas and capacity to manifest those ideas gifted to them. It’s nothing that I have any knowledge of. I see a task, break it down into small problems, and solve them one at a time. Sometimes the task is completed, sometimes it isn’t, but mostly I just run out of problems I am capable of solving. What comes out the end of that process, I suppose, could be called art.
The cultural shorthand for what I do would probably be artist. Maybe the term Maker will fully insert itself into the vernacular, and I can call myself a maker without all the techno-hippy baggage that comes with it. Until then I will continue to do what I have been doing, being fully uncomfortable with the worlds of artists, or makers, or developers. If you read this, the next time you hear me say that I make things, now you will know what I mean.