Artistic personality type

Basic Desire/ Pleasure:* creativity
Basic Fear/ Distress: being unable to create

Basic Passions of the Types

The following ten traits and characteristics are typical of the Artistic personality type.

Mood swings. Those of the Artistic temperament tend to experience a greater range of emotion than those of any other type. They are very emotionally reactive.

Artistic inclinations. The Artistic type is the most inclined of all the types to be involved with the fine arts, music, or literature (Keirsey, 204). They take an artistic approach to all aspects of their lives.

Independent work. Like "the majority of poets, novelists, composers, and to a lesser extent, of painters and sculptors," those of the Artistic type "are bound to spend a great deal of their time alone (Storr, ix)."

Relationships secondary. Those of the Artistic temperament "are quite likely to choose relationships which will further their work rather than relationships which are intrinsically rewarding, and their spouses may well find that marital relations take second place (Storr, 107)."

Great productivity. Persons of the Artistic type are highly disciplined, gifted with superior powers of concentration, and capable of producing great quantities of high quality work; they also enjoy frequent periods of recreation and inactivity.

Disinhibition. They are hedonistic and impulsive; "they live Epicurean lives in the here and now, and as gracefully as possible (Keirsey, 204)."

Keen perceptions. The Artistic temperament is especially attuned to color, line, texture, shading - touch, motion, seeing, and hearing in harmony. The senses of Artistic individuals seem more keenly tuned than those of others (Keirsey, 205).

Kindness (Keirsey, 205). Although those of the Artistic type may adopt an aggressive, tough exterior, they are remarkably gentle, kind, and generous.

Extroversion and introversion. The interpersonal conduct of those of the Artistic type alternates between the greatest extremes of sociability and social reticence.

Love of nature. In many individuals of the Artistic type there "may be found an instinctive longing for the natural, the pastoral, the bucolic. They are quite at home in the wilds, and nature seems to welcome them (Keirsey, 206)."

This description owes a debt to several ideas of Cory Caplinger (Lifexplore), especially the names of the first two characteristics.


Keirsey, David, and Marilyn Bates. Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types. 3rd ed. Del Mar: Prometheus Nemesis, 1978.

Storr, Anthony. Solitude: a return to the self. New York: Ballantine, 1988.

Careers and Jobs for Artistic type

Google Answers: selecting the right career for me

This list represents careers and jobs people of the Artistic type tend to enjoy doing.

clerical supervisor
dental assistant
physical therapist
radiology technologist
landscaper designer
crisis hotline operator
teacher: elementary
marine biologist
social worker

Source: U.S. Department of Interior, Career Manager - ISFP.

Noteworthy examples of the Artistic personality type

Many people (and not just those of the Artistic personality type) have cyclothymic traits or behave in a cyclothymic manner. The traits and behaviors of the Artistic personality type are not so inflexible and maladaptive or the cause of such significant subjective distress or functional impairment as to constitute

Cyclothymic personality disorder

The noteworthy examples of the Artistic personality type are examples of a *type*, not of a disorder. It is my opinion that the ideal type which is described above is best be characterized as artistic, and that the Artistic personality type represents the pervasive and enduring pattern of the personalities of the people listed below better than any other type.

Examples of the Artistic personality type are:

Index of noteworthy examples

Arts > Humanities > Literature > Authors > Literary Fiction > Honore de Balzac (1799-1850)

Entertainment > Music > Artists > By Genre > Classical > Composers > Classical Period > Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Recreation > Sports > Football (American) > Leagues > National Football League (NFL) > History > Former Players > Dick Butkus

Entertainment > Movies and Film > Filmmaking > Directing > Directors > Francis Ford Coppola

Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi

Patty Duke

Directory Poets > T.S. Eliot

Arts > Humanities > History > U.S. History > By Time Period > 20th Century > People > Howard Hughes (1905-1976)

Google Search: Kay Redfield Jamison below

Arts > Humanities > Literature > Authors > Literary Fiction > Erica Jong

Recreation > Sports > Football (American) > Leagues > National Football League (NFL) > Coaches > Vince Lombardi

Jay Marvin

Entertainment:Music:Artists:By Genre:Classical:Composers:Classical Period:Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) below

Google Search: Otto Rank below

"Giving style" to one's character--a great and rare art! It is exercised by those who see all the strengths and weaknesses of their own natures and then comprehend them in an artistic plan until everything appears as art and reason and even weakness delights the eye.

Also Sprach Zarathustra.
Copyright © 1998-2003 Dave Kelly