The Artist series (or AR series) is a line of electric guitars produced for Hoshino Gakki and sold under the Ibanez brand. The first Artist models were introduced in 1974. It was one of the first series of original models by Ibanez. Prior to the early 70's Ibanez was mainly focused on producing copies of guitars designed by other manufacturers such as Fender and Gibson.
The Artist is clearly influenced by the Gibson Les Paul model, but it is not a Les Paul copy or clone.
Originally, the Artist label encompassed not only the now classic "Artist shaped" models, but also other body shapes like the first Iceman models and various semi-hollow models. By 1979, most of these models were offered as separate series, including the similar named Artist Semi-Acoustic series which later became the Artstar series. By then, the four digit numeral model names were also replaced with the now standard AR + numeral naming convention.
Due to popularity of the various Superstrat models of the late-1980s, production of Artist models halted during 1988 (although the Artfield series which contains some similar designs was introduced that year) and 1989. The Artist line was brought back for 1990 only to once more see production halted after 1992. The series was reintroduced in 1996 and has remained in continuous production since.