Common Traits of Artists

The artist personality: Strengths and challenges Artists Face.

Do artists have their head in the clouds?

Many have said that artists live in their heads. Yes and it’s a world that never gets boring, however to the outsider we may not seem to be paying attention, but artists are very aware (hyper aware in fact) of everything – innuendos, and how things look, taste, sound, feel and smell. Often analyzing or noticing shapes, patterns, colors, expressions and more they have a strong appreciate for aesthetics and heightened senses and intuition.

Artists Traits - What artists believe.

High Expectations

Artist types have strong feelings about ‘what’s right’, personal values and strive to consistently meet the expectations they set for ourselves; often these expectations are high and unattainable which can make artists frustrated or depressed.

Personal Space

Artist types need more personal space than other types. They can often be seen as reserved and difficult to know, however at heart they are very sensitive and loyal to those they let in.

Because they absorb so much of the world around them, they may appear standoffish. But they are not, they are just somewhere else.

The challenge for the artist is to have ‘thinking and creating’ space. When artists don’t get enough personal space they become scattered, unproductive and moody.

Meaning Seekers

Artists tend to take life very seriously. Sure there are carefree and lighthearted days but overall life is serious business. They seek meaning in even the most mundane tasks. If an artist can’t find meaning or inspiration in anything in their life, sometimes this can result in depression.

Artists are like explorers, constantly gathering specific information and shifting it through their value systems, in search for clarification and underlying meaning.

Artists Traits- Critical of Self


The Achille’s heel of the artist is personal criticism. The artists worst enemy is himself. Their strong value systems can lead them to be intensely perfectionist, and cause them to judge themselves with unnecessary harshness. This personal criticism leads to more anxiety, more criticism and it becomes a vicious circle. They don’t give themselves enough credit for what they do well.

The artist type can find more peace and fulfillment if they can come to the understanding and acceptance that not everything they create has to be perfect. To take on the motto “good enough” can be freeing.


Life is not likely to be extremely easy for the artist types of people in the world. Because they can tend to take life seriously and they deal with personal criticism and insecurities. Some artist types struggle with depression, anxiety, addictions and more.

Artists are deep thinkers.


As thinkers and vision seekers with visionary and intuition gifts, artists can solve problems in creative ways. Though they might not be the most vocal one on a work related team, they will be the doer on the team. Most artistic people are highly disciplined and gifted with superior powers of concentration – almost to the point of obsessiveness. Because of this level of concentration they are capable of producing great quantities of high quality work; however they also enjoy frequent periods of recreation and inactivity. To those they care deeply about they are loyal to the end and also generous. They are also very sympathetic and can be idealists on one hand trying to fix the woes of the world. They have a strong desire to please and show their love through actions rather than words.

Artists are interested in contributing to people’s sense of well-being and happiness, and will put a great deal of effort and energy into tasks which they believe in.

Wired differently?

A study has found that artists have structurally different brains compared with non-artists. Participants’ brain scans revealed that artists had increased neural matter in areas relating to fine motor movements and visual imagery. This study* suggests that structural brain differences in relation to expertise have been demonstrated in visual perception, spatial navigation, complex motor skills and musical ability. Bottom line, practice makes perfect and changes the structure of your brain.

Understanding Artists

Out of all the personality types, most artists are not people manipulators and are not the sales type of people and they don’t like superficial things. In their world there is a drive to create and express non-verbally, find daily meaning, have independence and personal space and contribute to the things they believe deeply in.

Artists have different brains compared with non-artists according to this study.


  • Oh, my, this is me to a “T!” (pun intended). Really great post, I will be sharing! I’ll include a link when I advertise my Artists’ Retreat, too–this is great info to encourage people to “get their art on.”

  • How do we help those artist wading in depression when other people think you are lazy and unmotivated which makes you sink even deeper into it..

    • I think this is a difficult place to be. People who have never experienced depression do not understand it. The artist that struggles with depression has to make choices that are helping themselves to be whole. Art, creating… those are activities that are uplifting. Sometimes artists struggle with the need for approval and this can be a challenge as well as the depression.

  • It was interesting when you talked about how most artists are loyal and generous but also have a tendency to be idealists. My husband and I like the idea of hiring an artist to paint a custom mural about our family’s culture in the living room of our new home. Thanks for giving me this info about what I might be able to expect from finding a mural artist to hire for the job!

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