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4 Qualities of Any Artist

It doesn’t matter if you are a photographer, designer, painter or sculptor, you have the 4 qualities listed below.

Intelligence-  Most people learn to hate this word.  It defines so many things about us as people that it is frightening. Some people think it is your IQ.  Others believe it’s the number of professional certifications and degrees you have on your wall.   No matter what your degree, your IQ, or what school you attended, you must have an operating definition of what your job is.  If you’re a designer it’s creating and implementing your design for the client.  A wedding photographer needs to have knowledge of how a wedding is typically organized and use that knowledge to decide what shots to take and so forth.  When your working definition of your job and the definition your boss, client, partner, etc..  have are different, then unhappiness and confusion begins.

But it’s not that simple. – Other intelligences also exist and you’re not good at all of them. Don’t worry, no one is good at all of them, it’s why we have the personalities we do. Your social intelligence has a large effect on your ability to market and create a brand name for yourself.  Your ability to work with models, clients, or even the guy behind the paint counter at the hardware store is dominated by your social and emotional intelligences.  Your ability to work extensive technological devices like DSLR cameras, computers, cell phones, and even your DVR at home is your technological intelligence and so forth.  An idiot savant is an extreme example of this principle at work.

Ambition – What is your ambition level.  What is your goal orientation?  A seeker of goals is not necessarily a maker of them.  A seeker is the person who finds or is given meaningful life influencing goals and then completes them .  A maker is what you are on New Years when you know by February you will have forgotten them.   Do you keep a record of your designs, compositions or photographs to look at later and track how far you have grown in your field?

How you work towards that goal is your ambition.  Can you take criticism?  Do you take a negative experience like rejection and turn it into a positive outcome?  That is your ambition.

Curiosity-  How often do you ask why?  When you heard that a camera’s aperture influences the depth of field in a photograph, did you take it on the authority that someone was telling you, or did you grab your camera and try to figure out how it worked?  Are you able to suspend your belief or disbelief in a topic until you can research it and find your own answers?  That is you curiosity level.

Mindset-  How do you react to failure?  If you have a failure happen in you life or business how do you react?  Let’s say your USB or the camera memory cards fail before you are able to get the images or design work on to your backup computer.  Do you go out to watch the sunrise with tears in your eyes?  Curl up in a ball?  Do you laugh it off?  Or, do you find a dark corner with something to pummel?

Still another aspect of mindset is your willingness to try to go past your natural ability and improve your technique to the next level.

These 4 qualities are essential to your success as a photographer or designer.  They will show you where your weaknesses are and how you can either improve them or respond to them in a positive way.  Can you see these qualities in your own lives and art?

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4 thoughts on “4 Qualities of Any Artist”

  1. To me an artist is someone whose work stands the test of time, challenges the eye and the brain, that excites. An artist is also someone who follows her own path, experiences things intensely, who looks critically and enthusiastically on the things she sees and who takes risks. An artist is someone who through unexpected means touches others and creates a new way to share our common humanity.

    1. Having any work standing the test of time seems to be the most difficult to achieve. How many artists died thinking they were failures? I totally agree with the part about sharing our humanity. Cross-multiculturalism is an important part of living today. Thanks for the reply!

    1. Joseph, Those are great. I think his inclusion of passion as that “demonic compulsion” is a great example. I’ll have to remember to use that line next time ! Thanks for the reply.

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