What do gender, race, sexuality, and class have to do with who gets to be an artist? Well, for many centuries, we have been taught that all great art was the product of men, and that art created by women was merely an attempt to copy the masters that came before. For many, many hundreds of years, women struggled to gain recognition as artists, and for the greater number of these years, they remained obscured due to the constraints of patriarchal society. Recently, however, in the feminist movement of the seventies, women have found a voice and a face and recognition in the world of the arts followed. Yet women today are finding that they have yet another battle to fight, one that demands that they be looked at as more than merely women artists in the light of feminism. They are individuals who create art in the context of their identities, which include â€śethnicity, personality, life stage, religion, class, and politicsâ€? (Norwood, 1987 p. 4), as well as gender.
What cultural stereotypes are there about artists that either help or hinder people in different identity categories from doing art and being called artists? Several stereotypes exists surrounding the â€śartistâ€? persona, ranging from the Masters of the past (Monet, Picasso, Michael Angelo) whoâ€™s art was precise and detailed, every stroke intentional, to anyone claiming self-expression. This broad spectrum of art (or what is considered art) allows practically anyone to be an â€śartist;â€? however, because skill level varies, and some people posses more â€śtalentâ€? than others, those who are less confident in their abilities could be hindered from doing art.