Now, before reading this and jumping to judgment and criticism, know that this is purely based on my own opinion and experiences up to this point in my life and it is not a scientific study of any sorts.
I believe that there are two types of artists/creatives (this mainly focuses on artists but some can apply to those that are creative but wouldn’t consider themselves artists). There will be others who think there are more, but when you chisel away all the fluff and technicalities, it comes down to 2 types, in my opinion.
The characteristics and abilities I mention for both types can and do spill over into each other (and if you want to get technical, could probably make a third type—but remember, this is chiseling all that away). Think of it in relation to astrological sun signs—depending on when exactly you were born, what life experiences you had, etc.—these can sometimes put you into another sun sign category, right? Well the same applies here, because let’s face it—everyone has a unique life experience here on earth and there are a LOT of factors that can influence and change “predetermined traits”. So again, there are factors that can influence these types, including training received, life experiences, their tenacity, etc. Keep that in mind as you read…
The “Imaginative & Insightful” Type
The first type is what I call the Imaginative & Insightful type. These artists are the ones that we would think of as the stereotypical “artist” —unorganized, messy, super laid back or carefree, always “in their heads”(a.k.a. “artist brain”), may or may not be reliable for making deadlines, forgetful, etc. These are usually pretty brilliant minds, regardless of what I just mentioned or what society labels them as. They are very right brain driven and have an ability to “reach into the unknown”—the ability to create their own worlds, subject matter, characters, etc., to create surreal, dream-like environments that only they can envision or see. (Yes, other artists can do these things too, but the other type usually doesn’t see these types of things in their mind’s eye constantly or without really focusing on it.) Their work is usually so deep and complex that they may even have difficulty explaining exactly what it is or where it came from. Side Note: I’ve always wondered if there is some sort of connection between the inability to express/get it all out of their heads/separate it from reality and mental illness. 🤔
I have had the honor of teaching several of these types. They are usually the ones that while you are instructing to do one thing, they are doing their own thing or taking it in a whole different, unique direction. They are the types that usually do not conform to societal expectations or restraints.
Left Brain vs. Right Brain
In case you needed a refresher, this little info graphic of the left brain vs. right brain, pulled from Meme Center does a great job at illustrating the traits & characteristics of each hemisphere of our brain.
The “Resourceful & Intuitive” Type
The second type is what I call the Resourceful & Intuitive type. These are artists/creatives that are mostly driven by what they see in front of them as inspiration or what they intuitively “feel” as inspiration. They have some imaginative abilities, but it isn’t their main drive/focus or isn’t as developed usually.
They have very keen observational skills with trained eye-hand coordination and can draw/paint/create pretty much anything they see in front of them with accuracy. It comes easier for some and takes a lot of practice to develop, but is most definitely a teachable/learnable skill.
These artists/creatives may find that they have a strong left brain influence (logical, analytical & rational) but have the ability to tap into their creative, right brain simultaneously. A very good skill to have for basically every industry. These types are going to be much more organized, be excellent at multitasking, great problem solvers & analytical thinkers, dependable, and usually pretty effective communicators. In addition, while doing all of that, they can be creative with it. Overall, pretty resourceful people. These types are found much more commonly than the “Imaginative & Insightful” types.
An Artist Example
In the images below, compare the works of Salvador Dali (a surreal artist, notably most well known for his painting “The Persistence of Memory”—the melting clocks) and Edgar Degas (a realist/impressionistic painter most well known for his dancer paintings). These two had drastically different subject matter & style—Dali painted what he saw in his mind’s eye and Degas painted what he saw in front of him concerning the subject of dancers. (Both brilliant artists!) I would consider Dali as an Imaginative & Insightful type and Degas to be a Resourceful & Intuitive type.
Within both types, there is a sliding scale of course. Some are much higher on this scale, while others are more in the middle to lower end with some of the capabilities just not as developed. However, there are creative exercises that can improve and develop these skills and abilities. That sounds like a good follow up post to be addressed later. 😉
Again, many will have some characteristics of the other type and vice versa. So far I haven’t met anyone that has ALL characteristics/traits from both types—but it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist! I think I’d call them a Super Artist type if so! 😂
Why It’s Important To Know The Differences
It’s important to know that there are differences when it comes to artists/creatives. It’s especially important to know if you are in the business of hiring people, have to work with one, are an art collector, want to request a commission from one, have a child or sibling that is one, etc.
Don’t misinterpret this by thinking that either one is more superior than the other. Both types are still fully regarded as artists/creatives. It’s just that they have differing skills, abilities, and perspectives. Regardless of what type they are, artists/creatives are very special individuals that make the universe a better place. They are given skills and abilities to create amazing things but can sometimes be misunderstood. Setting your expectations accordingly after reading this may be able to help alleviate some headaches in the future. 😏 To find out what type of artist I am, the methods I use, and where I get my inspiration, read Why Do Artist’s Create Art?
If you enjoyed my Art Talks discussion, please share with someone you know who would enjoy it as well. Thanks for reading and supporting me on my artful journey!
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