Skip to Content

5 Differences Between an Artist and an Artisan

Are you thinking of becoming an artist but you need help making the right choice? If YES, here are 5 key differences between an artist and an artisan. Differentiating between someone who is an artist and who is an artisan is not supposed to be confusing, but again, you cannot rule out the fact that words that sound similar usually get people confused.

If you are amongst those folks who get confused trying to differentiate between who is an artist and who is an artisan, then we’ve got you covered. The essence of this short article is to give simple yet clear cut differences between an artist and an artisan.

Are you ready?

Let’s roll…

Who is an Artist?

An artist is a person who is involved in any activity that revolves around creating art, practicing the arts, or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse refers to a practitioner in the visual arts only.

Actually, an Artist is a descriptive term that is used to refer to a person who engages in an activity deemed to be an art. An artist also may be defined unofficially as “a person who expresses him- or herself through a medium”.

The word is also used in a qualitative sense of, a person creative in, innovative in, or adept at, an artistic practice. In this regard, we have performing artists such as musicians, stand-up comedians, makeup artists et al.

Please note that in most cases, the term artist describes people who create within a context of the fine arts or ‘high culture’, activities such as drawing, painting, sculpture, acting, dancing, writing, filmmaking, new media, photography, and music—people who use imagination, talent, or skill to create works that may be judged to have an aesthetic value.

Who is an Artisan?

An artisan is described as a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand. These objects may be functional or strictly decorative, for example, furniture, decorative art, sculpture, clothing, food items, household items, tools and mechanisms such as the handmade clockwork movement of a watchmaker.

Artisans practice a craft and may through experience and aptitude reach the expressive levels of an artist.

For example, the adjective “artisanal” is often used in describing hand-processing in contrast to an industrial process, such as in the phrase artisanal mining. Thus, “artisanal” is sometimes used in marketing and advertising as a buzz word to describe or imply some relation with the crafting of handmade food products, such as bread, beverages, or cheese.

Many of these have traditionally been handmade, rural, or pastoral goods but are also now commonly made on a larger scale with automated mechanization in factories and other industrial areas.

It is important to point out that prior to the Industrial Revolution, Artisans were the dominant producers of consumer products all across the globe.

Artisans were divided into two distinct groups: those who operated their own businesses and those who did not. Those who owned their businesses were called masters, while the latter were the journeymen and apprentices.

So also, there are four types of Artisans

  • The Artisan Promoter (ESTP)
  • Artisan Crafter (ISTP)
  • Artisan Performer (ESFP)
  • Artisan Composer (ISFP).

Difference Between an Artist and an Artisan

Now let us look at some of the basic differences between an artist and an artisan.

  1. Different Area of Focus

One of the major differences between an Artist and an Artisan is that an Artist focuses on creating aesthetically pleasing works, whereas an artisan work focuses on accessorizing and functionality more than aesthetics.

For example, an artist is a graphic designer, who develops layouts using artwork, photographs, or illustrations. A similar field to an artisan is a metalworker. They build products using metal for construction, artistic, or manufacturing purposes.

  1. Different Points of Display

Another difference between an Artist and an Artisan is that the work of artists tends to be shown in museums or galleries, while artisans sell their crafts at fairs and shops.

  1. Artists are Inventors and Artisans are not

Usually, an artist creates his or her own work from the scratch, but an artisan duplicates his or her own work. The truth is that, most often than not, an artisan or craftsperson is a skilled worker, but not the inventor of the original idea or form.

An artisan or craftsperson can also be someone who creates their own designs but does not work in art forms or with materials traditionally associated with the so-called Fine Arts, such as painting and sculpture.

  1. Artists Perform on Stage an Artisan Do Not

The fact that musicians, poets, stand-up comedians, and dancers are referred to as performing artists means that they are expected to perform on stage, but it is not so for artisans. Artisans are expected to carry out their crafts or trades from a craft village or their workshop.

This buttresses the narrative of why the word artist is used most often for persons and activities of ‘high culture’, for example drawing, painting, sculpture, acting, dancing, writing, filmmaking, photography, and music. Sometimes a person who is very good at their job is called an artist, even if it is not considered as art.

  1. Their Mode of Operation

Lastly, you will agree that it is easier to differentiate an artist from an artisan by how they carry out their trades. For example, artists can make use of his or her hands to perform his or her trade, at the same time, they can carry out their trade without the use of the hands or producing anything tangible.

An artisan is expected to produce something tangible like dyed clothes, or any activity that revolves around using and mixing mediums like paint, metal, glass, or fabric. Shaping, gluing, sewing, testing, and producing products.

Artisans are also known as craftsmen who make practical artistic products such as earrings, urns, stained glass, and other accessories. Artisans gain their knowledge by studying under master craftsmen and then practicing with continued study.

Artisans work to create something new, original, and at times, provocative. They spend a good portion of their time selling and promoting their items in various marketplaces.