According to psychologist Otto Rank, The first step in becoming an artist is when one calls oneself an artist. This is a powerful statement. I remember years ago when I first adopted that identity and it was precisely such a moment. Sure, I had studied fine art at universities and privately, but, at that time I didn't really feel like an artist because I hadn't made many sales nor had I established a relationship with a gallery. In fact, my work wasn't all that great. Then, someone came to my home to look at my paintings. I was embarassed and made some lame excuse that I was working hard so that one day I could become an artist. The person looked up at me in astonishment and said "You ARE an artist!" That was the turning point for me. That's when I realized that self-identification as an artist is essential to becoming an artist. This is where it starts. OK - so the rest of the world might not always agree with the label, but who cares? Over the summer I read a wonderful biography of Louise Nevelson written by Laurie Lisle. I was taken with the fact that Nevelson self-identified as an artist at a very early age. It was her identity and passion from youth even though it took her nearly four decades to get her first solo show. According to Lisle, Nevelson early on developed the ability to dissociate herself from the objective reality and enter completely into the emotional truth of an experience. This was essential to her development as an artist. Is this the second step to becoming an artist? If, as Theresa Bernstein once wrote, The language of art is the prime language of a human relationship with life, then wouldn't the acquisition of that language be essential and the logical next step after one has self-identified as an artist?