Why am I an artist? I don't know if I really have a good answer to that. A better question, at least to begin with, might be 'Do I want to be an artist?' It is a straight and yet hard question. I am pretty sure, most of the time, that I do indeed want to be an artist, although I don't know that I am always capable of being one. Certainly it does not feel as if I have been one for some time now, with my artistic life lying somewhat dormant.
Being an artist is about the only thing I can really remember ever wanting to be (other than a spaceman, which did not last far past the end of Return of the Jedi). I've been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. However, there is a world of difference between having an aptitude for something and being able to do it as a career. Being an artist is not simply about being able to create the work, and goodness knows that is enough of a challenge in itself. Being an artist is to be a small business, requiring a whole host of business-related activity, all whirring away behind the smiling face of the artist, or the works created.
It's a hard road to travel and one that pretty much requires an almost sociopathic level of self-belief and drive enough to circumnavigate the solar system. I exagerate, of course, nevertheless the point holds, in that self-belief and drive and essential. Without them, paintings, when they get made, build up slowly in storage and the world has no idea that they are there. Viscous negative cycles commence.
Once again, I am writing in the third person, but I am fooling no one. Why am I an artist? It's a good question. I'm going to need to think about this some more.