Artist and Artisan: Do You Know the Difference?

Artist and Artisan: Do You Know the Difference?

The world of art is full of terms with often confusing definitions that can easily befuddle you to the extent that it’s hard to tell the difference between the phrases. One such puzzling pair is the words artist and artisan. Isn’t it tempting to make them interchangeable? Despite their morphological similarity, they are not even synonymous and, in fact, cannot be used alternately in the majority of cases. Let’s see how exactly they are different and when they can replace each other.

Artist and Artisan: Do You Know the Difference?

Artists: The Masters of Fine Art

Nowadays, they are usually associated with high art and culture. Their mediums range from traditional paintings and drawings to installations and NFTs. Artists go to art schools, get degrees in universities, and practice a lot to create works that are purely aesthetic and decorative to the core. It’s their way of expression, which is basically one of the main functions of what we call “fine art.” That’s why you see exhibitions, fairs, shows, and all sorts of other related events occurring on a regular basis here and there. Acknowledgment is an essential characteristic for understanding the difference between an artist and artisan. The former often gets recognized on a global scale thanks to critics, collectors, and investors, while the latter’s work is usually valued by people locally.

Artisans: The Adepts of Applied Art

These people are trained to produce goods of broad practical and technological properties. On the one hand, they may specialize in carpentry and make wooden furniture. On the other hand, you can see them as sculptors and watchmakers. In other words, an artisan is more of a vague term, meaning that you cannot deduce it as simply as with the word artist. It is not a rule, but the philosophy of their job revolves around practical items that you can directly benefit from by using in the household or somewhere else. It doesn’t mean, though, that their works lack aesthetics, but it’s usually not the primary goal.

So, When Does It Make Sense to Use the Words Interchangeably?

Technically, the words artist and artisan mean different things but can also be each other’s components. To put it differently, both occupations involve the use of skills and can be a method of self-expression – that’s how these words may be used interchangeably. In other cases, it’s important to stick to the definitions given above and make sure you focus on the right concept when you approach someone.