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  • Janet Massimino

What's the Difference Between an "Artist" and a "Creative" and Why it Makes a Difference.....

I woke up in the middle of the night with this question on my mind. It always upsets me when I hear people say “I’m not an artist” or “I have no artistic ability” - and I hear it a lot! I try not to argue because it’s hard to convince people once they have convinced themselves that this is so.

So I asked Siri for the definition of an Artist….

"a person who produces paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby”.


That’s what most of us would say and it’s what I believed for a long time as well.

Siri went on to say this…

-a person who practices any of the various creative arts, such as sculptor, novelist, poet or filmmaker.

-a person skilled at a particular task or occupation.

-a performer, such as singer, actor, or dancer.

-(informal) a habitual practitioner of a specified reprehensible activity.

Siri didn’t have an answer for a “Creative” - instead the word Creativity came up with this definition:

-Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something somehow new and somehow valuable is formed.

So why is the distinction important?


An Artist is someone who has ambitiously learned skills and uses those skills creatively to accomplish what it is they are passionate about. It takes ambition to learn skills and passion to use those skills creatively. An Artist can be the obvious, as Siri describes above and not so obvious are the skilled people around us - Grocery Clerks, Healthcare Workers, Financial Planners, Equestrians (I know from personal experience how creative one has to be to manage horses - hah!), Moms & Dads (obviously), and so on and so on. For many of us, it takes a certain amount of creativity just to get trough the day!


Look around your personal space - the design of your desk, the pictures on your walls, the chatchkes on your shelves - you chose and arranged those items creatively to make your space appealing. What did you create for dinner last night?

It took me a long time to convince my husband that he too is an Artist. He ran companies with thousands of employees with a myriad of problems that needed solving everyday. It was exhausting. But using the skills and intuition he learned through the years, he was able to lead those companies with much success and his employees loved him for it.

The truth of the matter, I believe is that everyone is a Creative and everyone is born with artistic ability. Humans have survived because of their ability to solve problems creatively. Passion, and ambition to learn the skills of what you want to accomplish are what make YOU an Artist in what you do.

I am an Artist who paints. We are all Creatives. If this resonates with you please consider joining my Facebook Group - “Jan’s Musings in Abstract” which I intend to be a safe place to share ideas, processes, and techniques that influence my art journey along with others.



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