Compartive image of an artist painting on easel and a potter making a pottery.

What is the Difference Between an Artist Vs Artisan?

Art and craft have been essential to human civilization for thousands of years. They have evolved with time, and now we see a vast range of creative work done by artists and artisans. Many people still use the terms artist and artisan interchangeably. They need help knowing when to use an artist and an artisan in contexts.

While they may look similar, there are some differences between them. We will explore the Difference Between an Artist Vs. Artisans and how they differ in their work and approach to creativity. But before, let’s briefly understand what an artist is and what an artisan is.

What is an Artist?

Image of an artist painting on an easel
What is an artist?

An artist is a person who creates artistic works, such as paintings, sculptures, photographs, music, plays or films, etc. Artists use their imagination to express themselves and their artworks to impact society, make their living, or satisfy themselves. 

Artists are generally inspired by their environment, emotions, and feelings. They take risks to explore fresh ideas and make something that has never been before. One main thing an artist needs is passion and a sense of self-belief to succeed.

Artists usually work on their projects independently or in collaboration with others, and their work is generally intended to evoke an emotional response from the viewer.

What is an Artisan?

An artisan is a highly skilled professional who has mastered creating something with precision and perfection using their hands. They are experts in their field and demonstrate exceptional craftsmanship. An artisan is a skilled worker who employs their expertise to perform their craft or trade manually. They use a variety of mediums to create handmade things. 

Artisans are highly respected for their knowledge and ability to turn raw materials into something unique and valuable. An excellent example of an artisan is a weaver who can convert yarn into beautiful clothes. Artisans also focus on creating aesthetically pleasing objects with practical use.

Artisan work uses different materials such as wood, metal, or fabric, and their created products include furniture, pottery, jewelry, clothing, and much more.

What are the Main Differences between Artists and Artisans – How do they Differ in their Creative Process?

There are 3 main differences:

  • An artist is usually more concerned with self-expression, while an artisan primarily focuses on creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing object. Artisans are also called craftsmen.
  • An artist tends to have more creative freedom, whereas an artisan must balance creativity with the practicality of the final product.
  • An artist’s work is often more subjective and abstract, while an artisan’s work is generally more objective and straightforward.

How Do Artists and Artisans Differ in Their End Results?

Though both are related to the creative process, they differ in their outcome.

  • An artist’s work is usually a unique, one-of-a-kind piece, while an artisan’s work can be replicated or mass-produced.
  • An artist’s work may have more value in art and history, while an artisan’s work may have more value in the craftsmanship and materials used.
  • An artist’s work may be more expensive, while an artisan’s may be more affordable and accessible.

What is the Difference between Artists and Artisans?

Background in dark an artist is painting and a weaver weaving cloth, on the foreground main difference between artists vs artisan
Difference between Artist Vs Artisan


PurposeThe primary purpose of an artist is to express personal vision, emotion, or message through their work and capture the beauty of life in their works. The purpose of an artisan is to craft beautiful yet functional items. Artisans take pride in creating products that serve both practical and aesthetic purposes, from furniture to jewelry or kitchen utensils.
FocusAn artist typically focuses on using their imagination and emotion to create works of art, such as paintings or music. On the other hand, an artisan usually focuses more on creating something functional or decorative that can be used by others focusing on aesthetics.
SubjectivityTheir work is often more subjective and abstract, emphasizing creative expression over practicality.
Work created by artisans tends to be less subjective than those created by artists, as artisans focus on honing their skills and creating pieces that will stand the test of time.
OriginalityAn artist’s work often reflects their unique experiences and creative expression, making it highly original. An artist’s work often reflects their unique experiences and creative expression, making it highly original. 
MediumThe purpose of an artisan is to craft beautiful yet functional items. Artisans take pride in creating products that serve both practical and aesthetic purposes, from furniture to jewelry or kitchen utensils.An artisan’s work is typically based on traditional designs or patterns passed down through generations. 
Skill levelAn artist typically uses a variety of mediums, such as paints, charcoal, or clay, to create their works of art. The result can be anything from realistic renditions to abstract pieces depending on the artist’s style and preference. Artists often need to be highly skilled, but they prioritize creativity and expression over technical mastery.  talent. Artists can create realistic or abstract pieces and invoke emotion creatively.
TrainingAn artisan typically has advanced skills in crafting with materials such as wood, glass, metal, or clay. It often takes years of practice to create objects that look good and are practical at the same time. An artisan is more likely to use materials such as wood, glass, or metal to craft functional objects that have decorative value. Whether it’s jewelry-making, furniture-building, carving stone statues, pottery-making, or any craftsmanship, 
ValueAn artist’s training often revolves around developing their natural ability to see and interpret the world. Formal training is not always necessary for an artist, but it can benefit those who wish to hone their skills.Artisans focus on quality rather than creativity; using a skill set that has been acquired through years of practice, they create objects that are functional as well as visually pleasing. 
AudienceAn artisan’s training focuses mostly on honing technical skills such as carpentry, joinery, silversmithing, blacksmithing, and other crafts. Artisans may take classes or complete apprenticeships to gain knowledge.An artist’s audience is often the general public, and their work can be experienced in galleries, museums, art shows, and other cultural events. 
Commercial viabilityAn artisan’s audience typically consists of individuals or companies seeking handmade products for specific purposes, such as decor, furniture, or other functional items. An artist’s work is often not commercially viable, and they have to rely on grants, awards, and donations from patrons to sustain their livelihood. 

What are the Similarities between Artist and Artisan?

Artists and artisans share numerous similarities in their creative work and approach. Some of these similarities include the following:

  1. Creativity: Both artists and artisans rely on their creative abilities to produce their work. They use their imagination and skills to bring their ideas to life.
  2. Skill: Both artists and artisans require specific skills to create their work. Artists and artisans must develop their technical produce ties to create high-quality work, whether painting, sculpting, woodworking, or any other craft.
  3. Passion: Artists and artisans both have a deep love for their work. They are driven to create and express themselves through art and often dedicate significant time and effort to their craft.
  4. Individuality: Both artists and artisans bring their uniqueness to their work. They have their styles, techniques, and approaches that set their work apart from others.
  5. Attention to Detail: Both artists and artisans pay close attention to the details of their work. They strive for perfection in their craft and take the time to ensure their work is of the highest quality.
  6. Dedication: Both artists and artisans must be dedicated to their craft to succeed. They often face setbacks and challenges but must persevere to achieve their goals.

Is an Artist also an Artisan?

A hand of a potter, crating a pot
What is an Artisan?

Artists and artisans are often considered interchangeable terms but are two distinct categories of creative workers. An artisan is a worker who makes things by hand, often focusing on functionality and practicality. In contrast, an artist is an individual who produces artworks that primarily emphasize the aesthetic appeal of the art.

Although there may be some similarities between the two occupations, an artist usually specializes in fine arts like painting and sculpture. At the same time, an artisan focuses on more practical areas such as woodworking and ceramics. However, using both terms in everyday conversation can lead to confusion.

That being said, it is essential to note that an artist can also be an artisan. For example, a graphic designer may create art with a specific function in mind, such as a logo or a website design. Similarly, a musician may create music to entertain an audience. In these cases, the artist still creates art with a practical purpose. This highlights the fact line between artist and artisan can sometimes be blurred.

Artists and artisans, they are both practitioners of a creative occupation. An artist typically focuses on creating art for art’s sake, while an artisan creates objects that serve a practical purpose. However, the two categories overlap sometimes, and an artist may also be an artisan. Understanding these terms’ nuances helps us better appreciate and engage with the world of creative expression.


While artists and artisans may share some similarities, they have distinct differences in their creative approaches and the results they produce. Artists prioritize self-expression and emotional appeal, while artisans focus on their craft’s practicality and aesthetic value. 

Art is a subjective and abstract form of expression, with each piece being a one-of-a-kind creation that often comes with a high price tag due to its uniqueness.On the other hand, artisans produce functional and often affordable pieces that can be replicated or mass-produced. 

Both artists and artisans require a high level of skill and training, and their work has value in different ways. Art is often considered more valuable in creative expression, whereas artisanry is highly respected for the expertise and craftsmanship used to create practical yet aesthetically pleasing objects.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What makes an artist an artisan?

    An artisan is an artist with exceptional skill and experience. Artisans are highly trained professionals who have honed their craft over many years of practice, allowing them to create works that reflect their unique artistic vision. They deeply understand the materials, tools, and techniques used to create their art. Artisans take pride in their work and strive for perfection in everything they do.

  2. How are artists and artisans similar?

    Artists and artisans are both creatives that use their artistic vision to produce beautiful works of art. Both put a lot of time, effort, and skill into their work. What makes an artisan unique is their exceptional expertise and high level of craftsmanship, which not all artists possess. Artisans also deeply understand the materials and tools and techniques used to create masterpieces.

  3. Which is greater, artist or artisan?

    Both artists and artisans are talented creatives, but each has something unique. Artists can explore their artistic vision without limits, while artisans excel at excellence in craftsmanship thanks to their technical mastery of materials and tools. It’s up to the individual artist or artisan to determine which is greater.

  4. What are the three types of artisans?

    Artisans are talented craftsmen and craftswomen specializing in certain types of craft. There are three main types of artisans: woodworkers, metalworkers, and fabricators. Woodworkers create works of art from various types of hardwood, metalworkers work with various metals to create sculptures or furniture, and fabricators use textiles to create clothing or quilts.

  5. How do you qualify as an artisan?

    An artisan is typically judged on their level of craftsmanship and experience. Qualified artisans must have a strong understanding of the materials and tools used for their craft, attention to detail, and excellent problem-solving skills. Additionally, many potential artisans must submit work samples or portfolio pieces to prove they have the skill set required to succeed.

  6. Is an artisan an artist or a writer?

    An artisan is neither an artist nor a writer. Artisans are skilled craftspeople who specialize in a particular craft, such as woodworking, metalworking, or fabricating. These crafts can create objects for everyday use or art pieces for decorative purposes. Artisans are highly skilled and experienced with the materials and techniques associated with their craft.

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