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Bridging the Divide: How "All Art is Craft" Empowers Creativity and Combats Imposter Syndrome


In the scenic backdrop of the Whitsundays, in the mid 1990's a group of local artists once gathered, eager for inspiration and wisdom. Among them was a guest, Bert Flugelman, a name synonymous with Australian sculpture and artistry, who shared a perspective that would reshape my understanding of art and craft. His assertion that "all art is craft" served not just as a statement but as a bridge connecting two worlds often seen as disparate.


Cones (1976-1982) in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Bert Flugelman, Cones (1976-1982) in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra


This simple yet profound observation by Flugelman invites us to reconsider the relationship between art and craft. In his eyes, the distinction blurs, suggesting that the skills and dedication behind both forms are inherently similar. This philosophy does not imply that all art is universally acclaimed or that every craft piece belongs in a gallery. Instead, it highlights the importance of recognising and valuing the craftsmanship involved in all creative endeavours.


The notion challenges the pervasive 'imposter syndrome' that plagues many in the artistic community. This psychological pattern, where individuals doubt their accomplishments and fear being exposed as a "fraud," is all too common among artists and craftspeople. It stems from a culture that often elevates certain forms of art while undervaluing others, creating a hierarchy that can discourage and diminish the value of craft.


To move beyond this limiting mindset, it's essential for artists and craftspeople to embrace their work with confidence and pride. Recognising that every stroke of the brush, every placement of paper, and every woven thread is a testament to their creative spirit and technical skill can be empowering. Here are a few suggestions for artists struggling with imposter syndrome:


1. Celebrate Your Unique Voice: Understand that your creative expression, whether through art or craft, is uniquely yours. It carries a piece of your story, your perspective, and your spirit. There's value in that distinctiveness.


2. Seek Community Support: Engage with fellow artists and craftspeople. Sharing experiences and challenges can help normalise feelings of doubt and reinforce the idea that you're not alone in your journey.


3. Continuous Learning: Embrace the learning process as an ongoing journey. Every effort to refine your skills is a step forward in your artistic path, reinforcing your legitimacy as a creator.


4. Document Your Progress: Keep a visual or written record of your work over time. Seeing your own evolution can be a powerful reminder of your growth and a boost to your self-esteem. I keep a photo of every artwork and list it is a spreadsheet (yes, I'm a bit of a nerd), but it is worth the effort and helps me to see my development and achievements.


5. Positive Affirmation: Regularly remind yourself of your achievements and the positive feedback you've received. Affirmations can reinforce your belief in your skills and your rightful place in the creative world.


In aligning with Flugelman's vision, we find a liberating truth: the art we create, regardless of its form, is a manifestation of our craft. It's a blend of skill, passion, and expression that deserves recognition and respect. By breaking down the barriers that separate art from craft, we can foster a more inclusive and supportive community where every creator feels valued and empowered.


In the end, the most significant piece of art we can create is a life filled with authenticity, creativity, and the courage to share our vision with the world while at the same time, showing encouragement and love to our creative community. Happy creating!

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20 mars
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Great article.

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