This JE got me thinking about this. The example therein was yet another of boorish behavior and attempt at offense. And I don't call that "art". I could type something disgusting right now, easily, about something disgusting using disgusting words. Would that be "art"? What if I really meant it? What if I was really passionate about it?
One example of when I think of "artist" is a photographer. And I'm not talking about "photojournalists" here, who are just there to coldly record an event. Photography for "art" is supposed to evoke a feeling or emotion when you look at the photograph. But it's feelings we want (or maybe don't know yet we want, but will like being) evoked. And they can even be "negative"/"bad" feelings -- why do people go to scary movies? Because they want to be scared/thrilled/whatever. Art is about how strongly and satisfyingly you can evoke that while doing it in new, unique ways.
But evoking feelings no one wants is not "art".
Another example of when I think of "artist" is an interior decorator. I may know some of what I like, but others of it I may not (yet). I may like some things, but may make the mistake of choosing too much of it or combining it with something whereupon it doesn't work for me, and I might not be sure why. Contracting the services of such a person, you're looking for someone with a strong sense aesthetics. Someone who knows when to pour it on, and when subtlety is called for, when "less is more". And what clashes and should be left out. Even "bad taste" can be okay -- a certain restaurant chain has wonderfully tacky decor.
But inappropriateness is never "art".
So I guess "art" to me, like the spirit of the Christmas season, is the act of "giving". It's not taking, or selfishness, or self-centeredness. It's about doing what may deeply interest oneself, and may ultimately be towards one's own personal satisfaction, but also certainly hoping that others will enjoy it as well.
So now I may have, ahem, painted myself into a bit of a corner. Is it "art" if some deeply troubled person paints something and then locks it away somewhere? No, that's called therapy. You may admire say the expressiveness and creativity of the painting of some deranged fellow, but the most I would call that I think is "accidental art". As in once in a while I take a brilliant photograph.