Monday Musings: Artist Personality Profile
Written by Carrie Blackaby
Personality tests are all the rage these days. There’s the classic Meyers-Briggs model that labels you ENTJ, INFP, LMNOP and all that. I think they’re the ones to blame for starting it all.
Then there’s the color test. You answer half a dozen questions and they tell you what “color” personality you have. Great for visual learners, but maybe not entirely sensitive to the color blind.
I heard of a new one last week: The Winnie the Pooh test (that the administrator so eloquently nicknamed “Who the Pooh are you?”). From the different characters in the beloved children’s book/show you pick the one with whom you most identify.
I don’t know about you, but I start feeling queasy whenever I start taking one of those tests. What if I get stuck with the personality description, “Socially awkward. Doomed to failure in later life. Mildly shallow”?
By question two, test anxiety sets in.
Which of the following best describes you:
A. Adventurous. B. Imaginative. C. Logical or D. Compassionate.
All the time? When I’m tired or hungry or stressed? In months with 30 or 31 days? When Mars is aligned with Jupiter? *Sweat Sweat* Is there no box for moody, temperamental female??
Most creative types don’t seem to fit into any one category. If we did, we would have become accountants or Chinese Olympians.
Maybe there should be a “Personality Profile” for artists. It might look something like this:
Artist Personality Profile
From the following [highly stereotyped and generalized] list, which best describes you as an artist:
Mark Twain: The Cynic
“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain
You might be a Mark Twain if:
- You find the best way to approach difficult people is to insult them in such a way they mistake it for a compliment.
- You often get invited somewhere…once.
- You see the bad in the world and can still laugh.
Pablo Picasso: The Nonconformist
“I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.” –Pablo Picasso
You might be a Pablo Picasso if:
- You care more about the grooming habits of Tibetan Monks than following popular trends in fashion, music or art.
- You don’t seem to live in the same world everyone does.
- You like to paint odd, creepy people with messed up faces.
Ludwig van Beethoven: The Prodigy
“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.”—Ludwig van Beethoven
You might be a Ludwig van Beethoven if:
- While the other kids in your class were still learning to tie their shoes, you were composing your first musical masterpiece.
- You tend to attract envious stares and snide comments from us mere mortals
- You have an unfortunate hearing deficiency…
Charles Dickens: The Workhorse
“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” –Charles Dickens
You might be a Charles Dickens if:
- You produce works thick enough to double as doorstops, step ladders, or footstools
- You work well, and frequently.
- You have overcome a tragic upbringing (which may or may not have included a stint in a British Poorhouse).
Michael Jackson: The Performer
“The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work” –Michael Jackson
You might be a Michael Jackson if:
- Let’s face it. MJ was one of a kind.
If you’re scratching your head and thinking “I belong to every category, yet none of the categories,” or something equally paradoxical (which I suspect you are), then I suppose I have proved my point that artists often find themselves in a category of one.
Artists simply aren’t meant to be confined. (But, for the record, William Shakespeare was an INFP).