I was talking to an artist yesterday who used to carve beautiful fireplaces for clients. She really enjoyed this, but stopped abruptly.
"Why," I asked. "Why would you give it up?"
She said she stopped when one of her patrons (a couple) was going to have a fountain created for their home and she asked if she could submit a proposal. "Oh no," they said. "We’re going to get an artist to do that."
She was caught in the old art vs. craft dilemma. Her patrons had come to see her as a craftsperson and, ignorant of the art of craft, they pigeonholed her in their minds.
Sadly, I think many people share these same thoughts. I, for one, do not believe that art and craft are separate. The best of fine craft takes an artist’s eye to conceive and create it. The best of fine art takes a skilled craftsman to execute. The onus is on artists to educate others about their approach. Unless you establish yourself as both from the beginning, you probably won’t get the consideration you deserve.
Damn those teddy-bear-painting hobbyists who bastardized the word "craft" for the rest of us!
(Artists can read the motivational Do This! newsletter, posted every Monday on ArtBizCoach.com)