An artist is usually someone involved in a professional activity relating to making art, practising the arts, or showing an artistic skill. In academic terms, the term artist includes anyone who makes art, whether as an individual or as part of a group. The term also includes any person who shows art, whether public or private. Some artists work for hire whereas others produce their own art. Others still display art on the streets and sell art pieces. Still others sell their paintings in galleries or on websites such as eBay.
An artist may be artistic in nature by deciding what he likes and seeking to express this through his work, or he may choose to engage in the business aspect of selling art by using his skills to make clients profit from his creations. It does not matter which way an artist goes about making art, but he must have certain characteristics. Most artists have a talent for identifying colours, shapes, lines, and so on. Other artists must have the skill to follow a pattern while working.
One of the most difficult qualities to master if one wants to be called an artist is the ability to identify beauty in things. An artist must be able to see the beauty in something, even if he does not understand the underlying meaning. If an artist sees something beautiful in a nature photograph, he can use it as a canvas for his artwork. A painter may find an image of a mother hen he enjoys looking at and recreate it in her own image to decorate a wall. These artists do not view the photograph necessarily as an actuality; instead, they look at it as something that can add beauty to their surroundings.
Music and art are similar in that the process of creation requires an artist to identify and select something that inspires him. Music, like painting, comes from the imagination and so is much harder to master than the other. Most musicians will develop a lifelong passion for music, no matter what instrument they play. Other musicians will develop their particular style because they have their own personal characteristics and experiences. Jazz musicians, classical musicians, and singer-songwriters have all discovered their individual voice and unique gifts and are able to communicate these wonderfully to the world.
Some musicians try to create musical concepts on their own. This is true for many classical musicians. However, many modern musicians choose to follow more in the footsteps of established musicians. They listen to the music that inspires them, imitating their styles, and writing original music based on their musical idea. Whether the artist chooses to be part of an established musical group or writes his own music, he will gain artistic satisfaction by sharing his musical ideas with others.
Many artists work closely with their recording engineer to produce the perfect mix, take care of the sound mix, and the tracks that will appeal to the audience. Musicians who are not professional performers should not underestimate the importance of recording experience and skills, as these are vital factors in creating a great musical idea. As well, most professional musicians make it a point to record as much of their own material as possible, in order to preserve their unique sounds and to allow future generations to enjoy these sounds as well.