“…lay the germ of a new social type, The Artist. He or she was no longer a common performer of established manual tasks, no longer ruled by group rules, but an uncommon individual free to innovate”.
The above sentence is from Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun and it makes a fine point.
That is, an artist is an individual. Artists cannot be a group for this reason, though Barzun does reference them as a class, but he does so as a classification of identity just as we say someone is black or white, fat or skinny, blonde or brunette. However artists, though they can and do collobarate cannot be a group. Influence of contemporary styles or techniques does not form a group, but rather “taste”. Artists being individuals cannot be a group, a union of artists cannot exist because their creative efforts are independent and thus not compatible.
What does this have to do with anything? Nothing, I just thought it was an interesting point to make. I think people tend to think of “artists” as a whole seperate group of people, but we should be thinking of them as a smattering of individuals who are grouped only in the sense that they are all considered artists but that as artists they are no more similar to each other than we are to them.