Are You an Artist? Students Answer the Question

By Carolyn Edlund

Gilbert West, a British web designer based in Belgium, has launched a new website called Start Looking about art and the process at www.startlooking.co.uk .  One video on his site features art students answering the question “Are You an Artist?”

Artsy Shark asked him to explain his viewpoint on the significance of this video, and how his website can benefit emerging artists.

Gilbert responds, “That was a very popular video and I think it was made by an art student. I was surprised that here were a group of young people who were about to embark on their careers who appeared to be really thrown by the question. Some of them would make choices about whether to pursue a career as an artist, go into a related creative industry or take another path and pursue their art as a pastime. I’m sure they were all accomplished as creative people, yet it appears that their college had never addressed the question of what it is to be an artist.”

Visit Start Looking and see this video

Visit Start Looking and see this video

Gilbert adds, “I think it’s a really good question for any artist to ask themselves. What struck me was that although they were all practicing some kind of art, half of them did not consider themselves artists, because I think the word artist conjures up the image of a great master. If was as if they’d been asked “So, do you think you’re as good as Van Gogh?”

One of the people being interviewed said that it wasn’t a title that he felt he could bestow on himself. Again this touches on the notion of the greatness and how we validate art, or at least how we validate art in the West; through its financial value. If that is the only measure of art then it inhibits the desire to try and to learn.

So I hope that emerging artists will watch the videos on my site and think about these questions and get inspiration for their work.”

Any students or emerging artists who have video of themselves creating art or explaining how they created a piece  are welcome to submit it on his website.  The intention is to have a wide range of people represented on Start Looking.  Not everyone has to be an expert in their field or a recognized artist, so all are welcome. Visit and explore at www.startlooking.co.uk.

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