Monday, April 02, 2012

POLL: Artists - Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

I've been thinking recently about introversion, extroversion and artists - and the poll this month asks whether, as an artist, you consider yourself to be an introvert, an extrovert or an ambivert (halfway between)

The reason I've been thinking about this is because I've been reading articles and watching videos by Susan Cain - the author of Quiet. (see Why the world needs introverts and her TED talk).
Our place on this continuum influences our choice of friends and mates, and how we make conversation, resolve differences, and show love. It affects the careers we choose and whether or not we succeed at them. It governs how likely we are to exercise (a habit found in extroverts), commit adultery (extroverts), function well without sleep (introverts), learn from our mistakes (introverts), place big bets in the stock market (extroverts), delay gratification (introverts), be a good leader (depends on the type of leadership called for), and ask "what if" (introverts).
Susan Cain - Why the world needs introverts
It seems to me that some of the characteristics of introverts - an enjoyment of solitude and a preference for working on their own - might be very supportive of artists.  After all artists often need to be able to work - and create - in the absence of others and in the presence of the subject that they are absorbed in.

There again, the characteristics of extroverts - the ability to socialise and thrive in the presence of others - might well support those artists who want to market and sell their art - or maybe teach art to others.

If you're not sure what you are why not try Susan Cain's quick quiz - the Quiet Quiz: Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert? - this helps you to find out whether you tend more towards introversion or extroversion - and you get some feedback at the end of it

Once you've got a view about which you lean, find the poll in the right hand column and tick the option which describes you best
  • very extrovert
  • extrovert
  • ambivert
  • introvert
  • very introvert
Let me know what you think are the pros and cons of being an extrovert or an introvert when it comes to being an artist

(BTW I'm an Introvert who can socialise in small doses!)

I'll be reporting back at the end of the month on the results.

and finally......

The Thinker, Auguste Rodin
The Thinker by Auguste Rodin
Here is Susan Cain's Manifesto as an Introvert who wants to change the perspective of the extroverts
1. There’s a word for “people who are in their heads too much”: thinkers.

2. Our culture rightly admires risk-takers, but we need our “heed-takers” more than ever.

3. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.

4. Texting is popular because in an overly extroverted society, everyone craves asynchronyous, non-F2F communication.

5. We teach kids in group classrooms not because this is the best way to learn but because it’s cost-efficient, and what else would we do with the children while all the grown-ups are at work? If your child prefers to work autonomously and socialize one-on-one, there’s nothing wrong with her; she just happens not to fit the model.

6. The next generation of quiet kids can and should be raised to know their own strength.

7. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend-extrovert. There’s always time to be quiet later.

8. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is the key to finding work you love and work that matters.

9. Everyone shines, given the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight, for others, a lamplit desk.

10. Rule of thumb for networking events: one genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.

11. It’s OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk.

12. “Quiet leadership” is not an oxymoron.

13. The universal longing for heaven is not about immortality so much as the wish for a world in which everyone is always kind.

14. If the task of the first half of life is to put yourself out there, the task of the second half is to make sense of where you’ve been.

15. Love is essential, gregariousness is optional.

16. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Gandhi


  1. Interesting post, thank you. I know I am very introvert and I know this is the reason I don't sell many paintings! I CANNOT put myself out there and sell myself, it is an alien concept. I need an extrovert dopelganger to take care of that!

  2. I took the quiz you recommended and found I was an extrovert, even though I thought I might be an introvert. Very interesting!

  3. I think this is a fascinating subject matter to bring to light and I hope there is more conversation about it. I tend to be introverted and totally agree with your statements about solitude being good for innovation and being totally engaged in the subject matter.

  4. I'm an introvert, and I think this is both a curse and a blessing at the same time, I like being left alone to just fester in a corner, yet at the same time it makes me pretty stubborn, so I need more extroverted friends to pull me out of it.

  5. I am definitely an introvert. So many artists say they are. My question is, then why do we torture ourselves with gallery openings and shows we have to attend, hoping to get a little praise for something we've done? It really does become torture at times, for me - that's how introverted I am! I, too, need an extrovert partner who will do all the things I hate to do (or cannot do) in crowds of people to promote my art.

  6. I think it is very interesting that as a child/young adult I was very much an extrovert. Now I am very much the opposite! Wonder if anyone else has been both? And why does this happen?

  7. I can do 'extrovert' when necessary but am introvert by nature and that was the conclusion of the quiz too. It's a great advantage in life to be a good listener.

  8. My answers told me I was an extrovert but thats just a part of me. I give lectures about my art and enjoy big events if I am in the mood. But I'm also very happy working alone. When I see I have no meetings or events scheduled for the week I'm very happy - because that means a solid week of painting. But the extrovert part of me rarely allows me to have a week with nothing scheduled. I haven't given this too much thought in the past. Now I'm thinking I have a Jekyll & Hyde personality!

  9. ambivert, hands down.
    i'd like to point out that gentleness and authenticity are sprinkled across temperaments, and that plenty of extroverts are not crazy about public speaking.


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