I made art – am I an artist?

At Burning Man this year, someone asked me if I was an artist. It took me by surprise, the question. Then again, I’d just talked about something I’d made and called it art, so I guess it was just natural they should ask.

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Burn With Me.

I don’t feel like an artist, but I guess if I claim to have made art – and I do – it means I’m an artist. I don’t remember exactly what I answered, but it was probable something along the lines of “uhm, yeah, I guess…”

Being an artist seems to imply something more than just having made one piece of art.

That said, I’m happy to call myself a writer, even though I haven’t really published any stories. I write, so I’m a writer. I don’t regularly make art though – it kind of just happened.

Regardless of whether I’m an artist or not. I did something and called it art, and I’d like for people to see it.

The art piece I made is a book: a collection of Valentine’s Day cards and “words of affection.” You can read more about the book itself here.

It’s not “just” about the book though. Part of the art is people’s interactions with the book. The ones I brought to Burning Man all came with a pen attached to encourage people to write in them.

Most of the books I gave away to people I met, but some I left in places where people could encounter them on their own. One such place was Point Three at the Trash Fence, and you can see what people wrote in that book on this page.

I recovered one other book left in a public place, and I’ll be putting up the pages from that in the near future.

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I made art – am I an artist?

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