Becoming an Artist

An artist is defined by the word artist in the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Addition: “a person who makes something beautiful by his own skill or by the aid of his tools”. The word originally comes from the Latin artistem, which means to make useful work pleasant or appealing to the sight. In English, the meaning of this art has been widely varied. It can mean the creation of works of art, the application of arts in the design of things, or the skilled production of something beautiful or useful. There are many other uses for the term but these three seem to be the most common.


In modern times the term artist is used to refer to a person that creates or designs something, usually with music in mind. This artist may be a musician, designer, writer, painter, sculptor, industrial designer, or even an illustrator. Any person with a talent for art can be an artist, although there are some artists who do not have a gift for painting or sculpture but still manage to create beautiful works of art.

Many composers have been called artists because they made beautiful works of art, even if their gifts were of a different genre. Yo-Yo Ma was a famous composer of the noughties, who also had a big influence on the abstract art movement. One of his most famous paintings is still recognisable today as the logo of McDonald’s. Other creative artists include Vincent Van Gogh, who was very famous for his paintings of architecture.

Many modern day artists are either closely related to the categories of contemporary and traditional art or they have adopted the terms to suit themselves. For example, modern artists who are very famous include Pop artist Banksy, who is well known for his critiques of commercialism and art. He makes observations about how society controls the perception of beauty through the advertising of products and services. His work is very relevant to our times as he points out that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate how people are bombarded with advertisements that they see everywhere, even on the streets.

An artist must choose whether to express their creativity in their art or through other media. It is important to recognise the difference between being an artist and being a photographer or a writer. All artists make art that is meant to be enjoyed and passed on and it is up to the public to interpret that meaning in their own lives. A photographer may shoot pictures to share with friends and family or they may make pictures available to be displayed at galleries or exhibitions; a writer might write articles or produce a book of their work. A painter creates works of art that are intended to be seen and appreciated by others.

It is important to note that anyone can become an artist provided they possess certain qualities such as the ability to enjoy the visual aesthetic, to have an enthusiasm for the creative process, and to be willing to perform or stand in front of a naked audience. It takes talent as well as luck to become an artist but there are many opportunities available for working artists throughout the United Kingdom. For more information regarding artist training programs in the United Kingdom visit the UGC England website. You will also find information about the participating artists listed alphabetically by their stage of development. (The chronological order for artist development is from the oldest to youngest.)