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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Carlos

The Creative vs the Artist

Updated: Nov 26, 2018

Even now I am still uncomfortable with calling myself as an artist and would rather refer to myself as a creative. What's the difference?

Beadwork on red velvet, with a caption in white text that reads: Are you a creative or an artist?


The taxi driver casually asked me what did I do to come home so early at two in the morning. I just wanted to be left in peace so I simply answered, “I’m an artist.” No question followed after that but immediately I felt goosebumps. I didn’t like using that word.

That time I was still working as a digital colorist in the business district of Makati, Philippines. Post-production can get really hectic. Prior to becoming one, I worked as a graphic artist and before that I would accept any job in a film production from a wardrobe assistant to an assistant director. I was sort of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none.

Whenever I looked back at my erratic career, I realized that there was one consistent factor: I was always a creative. But what is the difference between being a creative and an artist?

Creative is an umbrella word for any person who is obviously able to fabricate things...

The Difference

Creative is an umbrella word for any person who is obviously able to fabricate things, has a penchant for doing arts and crafts or has the ability to find solutions on any given situation. Though an artist is definitely a creative person, a person who is creative may not necessarily hold a paint brush or a chisel. Nevertheless creative people, like artists, have the ability to imagine concepts and produce them in any medium they have been accustomed or trained to use.

Michelle Carlos painting a bird on a black canvas
I work now at home, preferably in daylight.

It's a Heavy Word

For the longest time until just recently, I didn’t want to call myself an artist, because it always felt like there is an emotional or psychological baggage and even clichés attached to it. One must always live up to that title and must be able to produce something that can be called a work of art. It’s too much pressure! Plus, I haven’t created any artwork since I graduated Fine Arts and therefore did not hone my skills.

It was a creeping internal conflict but as soon as I accepted that it is probably what I am supposed to do in this life, creating art eventually became so natural. There isn’t a moment in my day that I am not concocting ideas for my next painting. The creative juices are simply flowing that I do not know where to start or how to stop. It's like opening the Pandora box of creativity!

So, which one are you?


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