We have all seen those little posts where they define each personality type and then list the “ideal jobs” belonging to these personalities. The INTJ always gets World Domination – no, but really we get suggested jobs like bankers, financial analysts, engineers, neurologist, attorney, judge…but artist?
I am a professional artist. I LOVE being creative – no, I HAVE to be creative or it starts coming out in weird ways (“Babe, who spray painted the chicken coop purple??”), so I have tried my hand at many different art forms and mediums. Oil painting, water colors, leather, photography, textiles, collage, sculpture, 3D mixed medium, the list is endless. Art is in my genes. My mother is a professional oil portraitist descended from the Dutch Masters and my father is an architect. And both are musical, and so am I. Some folks are just creative. I am creative. Everything I do has a smidge of creativity somewhere within it. I think in colors and sounds and patterns and fibonacci sequences and music and tone and imagery. I constantly visualize things done five different ways and what it would look like.
Now, I have worked in the art world for 20 years. I have taught art. I was a theater major and a business minor in college. I have taught children’s theater. (I am a drama teacher now!) I have worked in galleries. I have had exhibits and I have been in art shows. I have been in plays, written plays, directed plays, built props and scenery for plays. I have worked as a professional photographer. All of these have been satisfying outlets for my personal creativity. Yet one of the most interesting jobs I held in the art world was as a consultant and mentor to artists who make the choice to go public – try to sell and exhibit – their art. Stereo-typically, creative folks are a messy, free-spirited, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants race of people. I have also learned that many artists are TERRIBLE when it comes to business and numbers. So, creative person = brilliant artist + disorganized business person. I have seen it countless times.
I am an artist. Add Female INTJ to that. Yeah. Layers. LOTS of LAYERS. Being a creative and artistic INTJ offers a unique phenomenon. I can do both. I can also see where another artist is veering off course and is naively preparing to self-sabotage their art career. I can price art whereas most artists have no idea what their worth is. I understand the ways different galleries function and whether or not it is a waste of my time and energy to sell in that establishment. I understand that, unlike manufactured goods, art is a unique and limited endeavor that can increase in the item’s value over time. Artists use talents to make things most people cannot make. That is a lucrative skill! That is WORTH a lot!
I am also much more organized than most of the creative people I know. I have a thing about cluttered surface areas – I like my desk and tables clean. I like tidy. I like to know where stuff is. And yet I am not bothered by other artist’s mess because somewhere in my soul I get it. I am a perfectionist when it comes to myself, but I am flexible and tolerant and patient with others (unless they are being irrational or making a repetitive clicking noise. #INTJ).
I am not impulsive. I am not super emotional. I analyze and pre-plan my works long before they ever manifest on paper or canvas. I loathe most commission work because I feel like it robs me of my own creative voice and ideas. Commissions make me feel like I am spending all my talent and energy on someone else – money is rarely a motivator for me. I am stingy with my gifts and talents – and if I create something for you that means I REALLY like you! I am subjective about art and view the works of others as a narrative and visual emotional response. Some art touches me deeply.
I feel like creative INTJ’s have the unique ability to stand in both worlds and see them with all of these magnificent visual layers. I believe creativity is intelligence having a lot of fun. My art is where my emotions DO leak out far enough to be seen. My art is my soul on canvas. Being an artist has taught INTJ me that mistakes and failures are my university. I learn and get stronger, better. An INTJ artist truly does get to make their own world, and yes, dominate it if they feel up to it.
I have tried for years to find another professional artist who is also an INTJ. So far no luck. I know you’re out there. If you’re reading this, do you find it easier than your fellow non-artist INTJ’s to communicate your thoughts and visions because of your creative flair? Do you help other artists become better in their business? Do you advocate the arts and artist’s rights in a way that is difficult for some artists to clearly communicate to others? Just wondering. Also – I would LOVE to see your work!!
And if you want to know how I really feel about the “art world”, visit my article “ART: A Common Sense Guide to Survival” published on DeviantArt: