Back when I was in art school in the ‘old’ days of art and graphic design, we were told that it was OK to be different than everyone else; we were artists! We could dress, act, and create any way we wanted simply because of who we were. I thought that was amusing back then but as I got older, I think that may have been the truth.
Besides my certain fashion sense and use of color but also my attitude towards ‘corporate culture’ and my religious and political views which tend to be the extreme opposite of conservative, it seems most people in the arts are also inclined with the same nature. I began to wonder how many creative personalities have these same traits in common.
I recently took a personality test to see what it would tell me. I knew I was an introvert, shying away from most social interactions but this test told me more than I realize. I do prefer just to stay in my studio and absolutely love my alone time. Any more than 5-6 people then I feel drained and just want to stay away or find a solitary corner somewhere. But when it comes to business, then I have no problem talking to someone about my art. Maybe that’s the 3%.
This is all fine except that I find it hard to come out of the studio and show my art to the world in a more public atmosphere. Sometimes it feels like my art and therefore, persona grata, myself, are under scrutiny and I feel vulnerable. I also shy away from doing workshops since this would involve lots of people, all of which I do not know. But is this being shy or is it about being more sensitive to my surroundings, more intuitive? Those that prefer to rely on their imagination, ideas and possibilities, and thusly artistic, are also more likely to prefer to work on their own, being self-reliant and private.
Being creative, I tend to be imaginative of course, but it is rooted in reality. I know my limits but I also constantly strive to create with utter perfection, pushing myself to the next level. I’m also highly organized to a fault. I notice other artist’s studios and wonder how they even find anything let alone paint. All my brushes are organized by size and type, as well as my paints and my palette is neat and orderly when painting.
I am not alone as an artist with these feelings, many actors, musicians, authors and other artists identify themselves as being shy, or consider themselves introverted or highly sensitive. This is all a good thing though and I am in the best of company. Great artist of the present like Peter Max, Elton John, JK Rowling, and even Dr. Seuss preferred to be a company of one. Some of the masters of the past were also introverts and understood the value of working alone, “My work is always better when I am alone and follow my own impressions.”– Claude Monet; “Without great solitude no serious work is possible. Because I cannot work except in solitude, it is necessary that I live my work and that is impossible except in solitude.“– Pablo Picasso; “And here in my isolation, I can grow stronger. Poetry seems to come of itself, without effort, and I need only let myself dream a little while painting to suggest it.“– Paul Gauguin; and even Van Gogh, “Often whole days pass without my speaking to anyone.”
Don’t let the impression of being a highly sensitive individual let you think that it is somehow a weak trait. For although we may not speak openly or loudly among many people, our hearts are burning with passion inside. “I was the shyest human ever invented, but I had a lion inside me that wouldn’t shut up.”– Ingrid Bergman
Find out more about your personality and take the test yourself, especially if you are an artist. I would love to hear what your results are. Comment below and let me know.
The above-featured image for this article is by graffiti artist, Arnaud Rabier Nowart, who creates masterpieces by blending impressionism and street art into incredible pieces of history. Read more about his work.