I'd always thought an artist was someone who was paid for their work. That was my criteria - just as a writer was someone who was paid to write. Could you be called a singer just because you sing in the shower? A lyricist just because you can find a rhyme? The voice of my father would say no. I can hear it. "Who is this guy who fancies himself a poet?" He would say (I'm sure of this) that it has to be a career, not a craving, to give yourself a title.
But that was a misguided idea. Not at all ill-intentioned, but certainly one shaped among a different generation of people. Life pressed its demands hard on them and you certainly couldn't be a queen just because you said so or thought you might like to be. Could you be an artist just because you painted or created? Not to them. But we understand it differently, because we know that - especially with creative endeavors, imagination is something that comes from the heart and soul and not from a degree conferred or a dollar earned. How many artists died indigent, possessing only their passion?
Anyway, one day I just made a leap and said it out loud: I am a mixed media artist. No one questioned it, and it was out there in the ether and has been floating around ever since. What are you?