Artist vs Artisan: What’s the Difference?

Artist vs Artisan Feature

For a lot of us, the difference between artist vs artisan may be pretty negligible. Chances are, you might not have realized there was a difference at all. Anytime two words sound this similar, confusion is bound to happen!

If you love fun facts about words or simply want to better understand your craft as an artist or artisan, this article is for you. We’re going to cover exactly what the difference between artists and artisans is, and what that means for any creator of art.

What Is an Artist?

First, let’s start with artists. This is the most generic term out of the two because an artist is anyone who performs any creative art. In modern times, the use of this word has expanded liberally. Artists are musicians, painters, 3D modelers, sculptors, and more. It doesn’t apply solely to professionals who perform their occupation under the vast umbrella of art either. Anyone of any skill level can be considered an artist. In a lot of ways, being an artist is about the pursuit of creating art.

While many artists seek to monetize their work and create a career out of it, this neither detracts nor necessarily adds to the art itself. The beauty of art is that it can be created simply for the sake of itself, and is not dependent upon any other ulterior motive. Art is often created simply for the personal satisfaction of the artist or those who enjoy and interact with it within society.

“VA2022: Electric Dreams” by -valzheimer- in the Daz Gallery

What Is an Artisan?

Simply put, an artisan is a skilled worker who makes things by hand. Whether this is making jewelry, furniture, or something in between — the key is that an artisan is a worker in a skilled trade. Incidentally, the word artisan can also refer to food or drink made in a traditional, non-mechanized way if it’s made with the highest-quality ingredients, and usually in small quantities.

It’s now easy to see the distinct difference between an artist, who freely creates whether for pleasure or gain, using any variety of mediums, versus an artisan who might handcraft furniture or pottery as a professional trade. There is, of course, some overlap, because a sculptor can qualify as an artisan, and we most certainly would consider sculpture as a form of art!

steampunk bird in egg
“Untitled” by x87 in the Daz Gallery

Which Role Is Right for You?

It’s safe to assume that the majority of this blog’s readership consider themselves artists by the two previous definitions, though you may also be artisans as well! Perhaps you wanted to know the difference between artistry and artisanship because you want to be the best creators you can be.

Many assume that the difference between artists and artisans is like the difference between being a cook or a chef. There is certainly an implied grandiosity in the art of being a chef that is lost when the simple term cook is used. While it turns out that isn’t exactly the case when it comes to artists vs artisans, there is still a lot we can learn from both sides, especially for those of us who are pursuing 3D art.

Are 3D Artists Also Artisans?

In the most literal sense, probably not. But it is kind of fun to think about the overarching connections involved in creating 3D art. As 3D artists, we mimic the roles of many different trades. Think about it, we can play the role of architect, carpenter, and designer. 3D artists can most certainly also be fashion designers, landscape architects, set designers, lighting experts, even makeup artists. The only difference is we use digital tools to recreate these trades virtually.

While the processes and techniques differ greatly from the procedures artisans would take in real life, say building a high-quality sofa, we as 3D artists engage in a very similar creative process. While we tend to use the words, “built from scratch” when we create our models, in the end, is it all that far off from saying, “built by hand?” In the end, whatever we call ourselves, it’s important to take pride in our work and love what we create.

One for International Women's Day - Peace
“One for International Women’s Day – Peace” by Divone Lerade in the Daz Gallery

We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below or on social media!

If you’re new to the Daz community, thanks for spending some time with us. We’ve been leaders in the art world for the past 20 years, doing everything we can to make 3D rendering as easy and accessible as possible. Our platform, Daz Studio, is free, easy to use, and delivers professional, artisan-quality results. 

Featured image: “The Dollmaker” by Pennes From Heaven in the Daz Gallery

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