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this single term - laced as it is with its own multifarious definitions and explanations - i claim (i DECLARE!) as my very own definition AND my own explantion when called upon to answer that somehow insidious, forever lurking, ultimately inevitable question asked of all of us at some time or another:

i have been an artist for a very long time.
my character/personality/identity is, of course, a composite of countless other factors and experiences and even other so-called talents, i prefer "artist" over any other facet i could feasibly employ for myself...i require none other.
artist it is and shall be!
regardless of what others may think, feel, or have the audacity to assert either about me as an artist or person...OR the work i do (and so many allow themselves to fall into this Category of Categorization!) it is mine, this word, this term. my identity is synonymous with the one word.

my work: disturbing. intense. scary. (so THEY say...) these descriptives are neither here nor there to me (colorful though they may be [ GUFFAW! pardon me - incapable of suppressing my response to this ludicrous, unimaginative, LACKADAISICAL 3 word description]). unlike my contemporaries who deem it necessary to detail their development as artists from the moment a pencil or brush was picked up to the present moment (you recognize it, yes? that automatic, well-rehearsed, quite accurately memorized BORE A HOLE THROUGH MY BRAIN little tale: the “i-have-been-painting/drawing-all-of-my-life-since-i-picked-up-a-pencil” BORING little tale), i am adamantly opposed to offering The Lazy an EXPLANATION of my work. i blatantly REFUSE to answer, in particular, the question "SOOOO...what were you FEELING when you created this piece??" other than mentioning certain apps i use for my photography or - if speaking of my paintings, mentioning that most of my works are created with oil or acrylic paint on canvas, with the addition of various media, and that my concentration is self-portraiture, i prefer that others GLEAN WHAT THEY WILL upon viewing my art. my admittedly cantankerous, obstinate nature is not the reasoning behind my approach. my reasoning is as follows: i believe that whatever emotion/thought/feeling or, conversely, lack of emotion/thought/feeling my work conjures in others - WITHOUT the interruption of instilling my own particular meaning(s)and/or interpretation(s) - provides a more valuable experience for the viewer.