My dad's been trying to get me to be an "artist" since I was a kid. I was always making crafty things and sketching. He encouraged me to go to an art school. Besides the fact that the thought of going to college scared the crap out of me, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. I couldn't see myself as an artist. The literature in the high school guidance office talked of Graphic Arts and that didn't appeal to me. My four years of art classes in high school was mostly limited to painting and drawing, neither of which got me very excited. So I did nothing.
For some reason having family and friends tell me I had talent didn't make me feel that way. I guess I acknowledged it, to an extent, on a "crafty" level. It wasn't until my pottery teacher's husband told me I was under pricing my birdhouse for a student studio show that I began to think of myself as marketable. This took a while to sink in and take root. I started selling at local shows and when I saw almost everyone who looked at my booth smile or even laugh I finally realized the definition of my gift. I knew it was there but having third-party confirmation helped solidify it in my weak ego. Seeing some of the joy I get from creating being passed on to someone else just from looking at one of my pieces.... priceless!
So, does being marketable make you an "artist"? It shouldn't. But in my mind, apparently, it does help. Making something that excites my passion and seeing the intended impact in a strangers reaction makes me feel more like an artist (and that will be $40, please). They're shoes I'm growing into and starting to feel more and more comfortable in. But I need to walk around in them a lot more!