A friend commented to me today that I had “dressed like an artist.” I took it as a compliment (afterall, I’m supposed to be an artist aren’t I?) and thanked her. Then she asked where I was going.
I explained that I had been cleaning out my closet, trying on clothes that I hadn’t worn since I left my previous lives as a speech-language pathologist and then a technical writer. We have a “rule” in our house that if you haven’t worn something for two or more years it is time to think about donating it. It is a good rule of thumb.
Her comment reminded me about the first time I delivered art work to a local consignment gallery and the gallery owner’s assistant told me she wouldn’t have guessed I was an artist. Both comments made me think about how we perceive people by their dress and/or how we think they should dress.
So what does an artist look like? Blue spikey hair, dark frame glasses and dressed in all black.
I admit that I’m not a fashionista. I like comfortable clothes and I like to dress up now and then. Individualism, as far as dress was concerned, was not stressed in my years at Catholic school. In college, style was whatever you made it. Punk and new wave were in fashion. I had my bright colors (red pants, yellow pants, and red deck shoes) and my share of skinny ties, horn rimmed glasses (sans lenses), black boots and the black leather belt with rivets.
Then came graduate school and the professional life. In the rehabilitation field at that time, there was a running joke that if you put an Occupational Therapist, a Physical Therapist and a Speech-Language Pathologist next to each other, you could always tell the Speech Path from the rest of the rehab staff by what she wore: heels, a dress or a skirt, and sometimes pearls. Yet there were times when the PT or OT wore a dress or skirt and blouse. And the Speech Path would wear khaki pants.
So what does an artist look like? Straight hair, crisp white shirt, capris and a nose ring.
In the world of high tech the only person wearing a suit and tie was the CEO…and even that might only have been when there was a customer meeting. T-shirts and blue jeans have typically been the norm. But sometimes they wear chinos and a Polo shirt.
So what does an artist look like? Salt and pepper hair, skirt, t-shirt, and a tattoo on her ankle.
So what does an artist look like? Probably like you or me. Maybe with some individual style; maybe not. Most artists I know started in other careers and have kept some of that style of dress with them. Some are rediscovering themselves and buying new wardrobes. Some mix and match.
What does an artist look like? In a nutshell, I really don’t know. But I am reminded of the words spoken by Wednesday Addams in the Addams Family movie when asked what she was dressed as for Halloween: “A psychopathic maniac” she replied “we look like everyone else.”
Yep; artists can look like everyone else.