When I think of an artist balancing her ego and desire for social change, I cannot help but think of Gilf!. For the politically-charged (and gutsy!) artist, the answer isn’t about communication or contradiction. Rather, it is about choice: “In my opinion, a true artist is one who chooses ultimate freedom. Not one to be swayed by fads, conventions or others’ opinions, but moving wholeheartedly in the direction of one’s truest self. Art is truth of self.” 

“Art reflects the highest order of human activity… the ability to create!” With a burst of enthusiasm, Jason Botkin shared much about the subject: “I am considered a professional ‘artist’ by way of taxes and for legal/consensus reasons. My living is derived from the creation of a product, which has come to be called ‘art’... objects and concepts that I then exchange with others for money, goods, and services. It’s a funny game. I apply a simple definition to the word art: communication. Art thus follows regular formulas we apply to communication as an activity: A sends B a message, and B receives message and understands it. B acknowledges communication back to A, thus completing a circle. It doesn’t really matter what A wants to communicate to B. It is about conversation (simple or complex) and this act describes the relationship that takes place. It is my opinion that a good artist strives to communicate first with him/herself, in a complex, abstract, and at times, profound manner.” He ended on a spiritual note, “On the first day, God created LIGHT, without which one cannot experience the vibration of aesthetics. It is powerful business this slapping around of paint and colour!”

I asked Whatisadam to answer the same question. “What do you need?” he asks. He sends me his answer and follows up with: “Is this long enough? Do you need me to be funny? I can be funny!” Whatisadam is more than easy to get along with. He is helpful and patient. “What is an artist,” he types from his iPhone. “An artist is an outsider, someone whose switch has been flipped, or who at least thinks it has. He sees the world differently and tries to express it physically through the creation of something new. An artist is a martyr of unwanted ideas, a voice for something that would normally go unsaid.”

Next week, you’ll hear the answers received by the pun-master Hanksy contrasting to Yoav Litvin, a doctor of psychology and author or Outdoor Gallery NYC, as well as Montreal’s own Stikki Peaches and Antoine Tavaglione.

Check out A Dead Fly on the Windshield of Time: Part I of What is an Artist? here!