In early January, I settled down with Sarah Thornton’s new book 33 Artists in 3 Acts in which she poses what appears to be the simplest of questions: What is an artist? Within the first few pages, Thornton is already dismayed to have people reply: “An artist is someone who makes art.”
I scoffed. My answer would be so much more profound, detailed and smart! Clearly, an artist is… blank. What is an artist? Over dinner, my husband, who is not involved in the art world, answered promptly: “Emily, it’s simple. An artist is a creator.” Really? This seemed too all-encompassing for my taste. One can create with no intent towards art. No, it wasn’t simple at all.