I call myself an “artist” because I think that art involves looking with an artist’s eye, and I do that. I don’t think that “art” requires hand-to-eye coordination; I think it involves looking, and looking, and looking again.
Most of the artists that I know are painters. Of course if you’re going to paint, you must look. But one can render a painting or drawing without looking with an artist’s eye. Technicians can draw and paint photorealistically without having an artist’s eye. As I say in my upcoming book on the importance of imagination in the life of faith, a 3D printer can render perfectly without any imagination whatsoever. Any imagination involved happens in the mind of the programmer.
If I want to be more accurate, I’m more of a designer than an artist, because my preferred medium is “mixed media,” usually paper, which involves arrangement more than manipulating media. (I often quote Hello, Dolly!, in which Dolly asserts, “I have always been a woman who arranges things.”)
The reason I’m writing this right now is that I’ve been thinking that I wish the art world were not dominated so much by painting. As a collagist, I have a soft spot in my heart for collage. (I also have an upcoming book on 20th-Century history and various media involved in collage.) I wish that more non-painters would get popular credit for being artists.
That’s all on that for now.