South Bank artist wearing a backpack and hat drawing art while sitting on pavement. Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

An artist is someone who engages in any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art, practicing the arts and demonstrating an artistic ability. The common usage in both everyday speech as well as academic discourse is usually limited strictly to those engaged solely with visual arts-related pursuits. The word is popularly used in the entertainment business, although it could also refer to a person that performs music for other artists such as singers.

An artist may be defined as a person who expresses him or herself through an artistic medium. The word is also used in this qualitative sense, meaning that one is creative and innovative at his/her art practices. Most commonly, the term refers to those who make within the context of fine arts or high culture–those using their imagination, talent, and skill to create works that can be judged for having an aesthetic value such as painting drawings, sculptures acting, dancing, writing, filmmaking, new media, photography, audio –people with creativity skills.
Art historians and critics define artists as those who produce art within a recognizable discipline. Contrasting conditions for highly skilled employees in the applied arts or decorative arts include artisan, craftsman, and technical terms like potter, goldsmith or glassblower. Excellent modern day-artists such as painters succeeded during the Renaissance in raising their standing to an indisputably higher level – that is formally similar to these employees (though still lower on significance).

The term artiste can be used in an informal or metaphorical sense to denote highly skilled people in almost any non-artistic endeavors, such as law, medicine, mechanics, and mathematics. Many discussions on the subject focus on the differences between “artist” and “technician,” “entertainer” and “artisan”, “fine art” versus applied art.” The French word for ‘artist’ (which in French, means” artist”) has been imported into English.

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