This is simultaneously one of my favorite topics and one of the most triggering for me – I have very strong opinions about what being an artist is, what art is, what making it is and means, etc. Perhaps, paradoxically, those opinions more or less sum to “you get to say.”
My experience with music and musical training when I was a kid and young adult left me with a lot of confusion and self-loathing dumped over my innate passion for music. I have spent pretty much ever since then working through that stuff, trying to get back to the “clean” love for it that I started with – indeed, that goal provided a lot of my energy in becoming a psychologist – and that included wrestling with what it means to be an artist and/or a musician.
I feel like I finally have some answers that work for me and I have empathy for folks who are sorting through that or analogous questions for themselves; conversely, find myself pretty tweaked when I hear someone arguing that there are right and wrong ways to be an artist or make art. I think that’s another reason why I appreciate this forum: most folks here are really interested in learning about others’ ideas about art, rather than seeking to argue one perspective or definition over another.