Artists vs Creatives: Which Are We?

Written By: Chevon

Someone once asked me if I was an Artist or a Creative.  My response was “What is the difference anyway?  Aren’t all Artists also Creatives and all Creatives, Artists?” The distinction between the two can be difficult to identify until both are more clearly defined.  Artists are experts, masters in their art form.  Creatives, on the other hand, are those with the ability to make new things or think of new ideas.  They are imaginative, innovative, and experimental, but not necessarily professional as Artists are.


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Strangely enough, this simple little question changed my life. I had not initially realized what kind of impact that this distinction would make in how I see myself, but it turns out that it lead me on a journey to that would help me to understand myself better. Who am I? An Artist or a Creative? I had spent the first few years of my degree training to become an Artist, but after learning that I could be something different I wanted to know what it would feel like to be a Creative. I discovered a love for painting and photography, and realized that I focus better in class when I doodle. The best part was that this all somehow made my music even better. I even developed a love for song writing (and I am a clarinetist so I had never thought of trying such a thing).


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As arts students, it can be difficult at times to determine whether we fall into the Artist or the Creative category;  we are not yet experts, per se, but we are more than amateurs who just create as a hobby.  This perplexed me until I realized that the two can go hand in hand.  The ability to couple artistic ability with creativity and innovation is what will set you apart.  It is one thing to be able to play a violin concerto perfectly and another thing entirely to be able to make it your own.  We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that we are here to become Artists, or professionals, but we forget that we are also here to create.  Our creativity is arguably the most valuable thing we have to offer the world.  For most of us, it is what attracted us to the Arts in the first place, but when the stress of assignments overwhelms us, it is the aspect that is possibly most easily forgotten.  Our imagination, innovation and creativity are what the world needs.  When we become better at our craft, our ability to recreate what we imagine will also grow.  After all, at the end of our degrees, it is not what we learned that matters, but what we choose to do with it.  So the next time the world asks us if we are Artists or Creatives, let us boldly answer: “Both!”