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Humanities LibreTexts

1.4: What is an Artist

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  • An artist is any person from any culture engaged in one or more activities to create art or practice art. Artists do not have to be a professional to design art; most of the time, art is very relaxing and enjoyable, creating sense and meaning in one's life. Artists throughout time were generally called an artisan, a term used for someone who labored with their hands producing art. However, art can be utilitarian, although very beautiful. For example, the pots the Jomon culture produced over 10,000 years ago were very utilitarian, yet they added unusual decorations to the outside of the pots with rope impressions in different patterns.

    Art historians have divided art into categories called art movements. A famous art movement known to many is the Renaissance. The Renaissance encompasses the art in Italy during the 14th and 15th centuries. The name Renaissance means "Rebirth," and it seemed an appropriate term to describe the dramatic evolution in art. Art movements usually consisted of the same style or philosophy during a period. The movements usually were not named during the time it occurred; later, art historians arbitrarily assigned names based on similar styles and geographical groupings. Art movements have only been classified as movements by the artists or commentators in the last 150 years, beginning with the Impressionists. Most art periods in the last 150 years have been short, around ten years or less, the periods of art before modern art usually lasted 25-50 years.

    Not all artists are famous or make a living selling art, but they still create interesting or different art. There are multiple employment opportunities in the art field, for example, teaching, writer, museum curator, art therapists, music, theater, education, and many more. Even the computer industry has designers on staff, so the design of the final product is aesthetically appealing and commercially compelling.

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