"Well, she's an artist," one friend said of me to an acquaintance who doesn't know me as well.
I didn't say much in response.
The acquaintance persisted with curiosity, "Are you really? Are you an artist?"
And for perhaps the first time in my life I said "Yes, I am."
I still felt the need to explain the particulars – that I am trained and have worked as a professional graphic designer and how I've now started my own business selling my art.
I have long struggled with claiming the title of "artist" for myself. As one who veered from the path of "fine art" to "graphic design" while still in high school I have always felt much more comfortable with the very useful, very practical title of "graphic designer." Indeed, I chose it for that very reason. It was art but it was also a clear path to a job with regular paychecks. Not very romantic, I know!
I am coming to believe that "artist" is who God made me to be. The word encompasses so much more than my career or my daily activity. Instead, it helps to describe the kind of person I was created to be. The way I notice color and shape and pattern in the world. The way composing a photo or pairing colors comes as naturally to me as breathing. The personal aesthetic that I bring not only to my art but to the way I dress and the way I decorate.
"Artist" isn't a title I need to earn but instead it's the person I am.