The concept of what is art is vague to many. Those in the various arts might have general assumptions about what others call art, but ask them about their own art workings. Ah, there's specific and personal involvement.
I was talking to a friend at a gathering, she introduced me as an artist to her friend. The friend exercising her concept of art and of artist, immediately invited me to do a portrait of her and her family. I almost blurted out "Go buy a camera!." Calmly I explained, I do digitally manipulated drawings of patterns for use in interior design and decor. I saw the frustration on her face so I recanted and said 'I do abstracts.' The conversation was over, she was sure she understood and frustration was now on my face.
So if you are an artist, forget the business card. Print up some post cards with a sample of your work on them. There will then be no misunderstanding. Show-n-tell works for kids and especially adults. One picture = 1000 words, two pictures will blow them away!
Admiration and envy plagued me for years. I let ones I admire influence my work. If I envy them I steal from them, wanting to be them, do their work like them. So, I don't intensely study another's work. Overtime I become familiar by glancing here and there, gleaning and understanding. I figure out what my own interest are and what my own directions are.
The biggest thing is to review my own history of sketches. I took all my sketchbooks and scanned them into my computer, a little each night. Then I used Picassa or Fotoxx or another photo management software to review. It's like your life flashing before your eyes, what insight! There is a nature of your own work that is your work, a character. You might not like it, but if you understand it, embrace it, you can then adjust it, improve it or just use it. It is not going to go away, it's you. Tell yourself, 'It's not a flaw, it's a feature! Then say 'Others don't see this much of me.' You tell others what you want to tell them. If then they want more they will have to know you personally or see a retrospect of all your works.