13 January 2011

finding my extrovert

I spend a lot of time living inside my own head.

I think I get it from my father. I remember him dozing in his recliner, eyes closed, breathing steady and slow. There would be conversation going on around him and out of the blue, he would answer a question or contribute a comment.

I find that I do that a lot. Okay, not the sleeping part but the quiet absorption into my surroundings. I normally focus in on something small and just...listen. Listen to the people around me, the place where I am, the scraping of chairs and clinking of dishes.

Its all got something to say if you listen close enough.

I'm content to be an introvert most of the time. I like it. I like being comfortable with silence and not speaking and my own thoughts.

But things are heading in a direction for me where that kind of behavior simply won't do. So me and my extrovert have been spending a lot more time together. I'm not uncomfortable talking in front of people. For the most part, I'm not easily rattled. But I will say that I've worked hard over my life to develop that level of comfort. A resident advisor at university, powerpoint presentations in front of a room of thirty engineers, teaching classes - my extrovert has had plenty of exercise.

Yet I'm one of those people that has a very strong quiet side. Do you think that's part of being an artist? Do you think its part of being creative? I sometimes wonder if it is.

At any rate, I'm stepping into new territory - me and my extrovert. We're going to have a good time and I so can't wait to tell you about it.


In the meantime, tell me - do you think being an artist makes you more of an introvert or extrovert?


mary said...

not really
i think whatever you are
as in introvert or extrovert comes out alot in our artwork
i know for me it does.
however when making art i become opposite of what i am
i would rather no one talk to me or bother me while making something and retreat into my head for it all

wlstarn said...

I think that those of us who need time in the studio with our materials are most likely introverts. The whole Myers-Briggs thing has an interesting take on it: not extrovert, but extravert, as someone who needs the stimulation of other people for energy, as opposed to those who do not. Less to do with relating to others but more about what is needed to recharge.

Anne said...

...or does being an introvert (or extrovert) make you more of an artist?

Lauren said...

More and more I find myself seeking solitude and alone time. How else can those baby ideas find fruition? This after years of extroversion (ENTJ), and years of being a college professor. Now that I have the opportunity to be home, I find myself mildly annoyed when the phone rings, people pop over, and other interruptions to my day. Who knows what ideas were just compromised? Maybe part of it is getting older, too, being more comfortable in your own skin. I think one of the classic definitions of introvert/extrovert is how do you process your experiences? Do you need to talk them out with someone else, and feel refreshed? Or do you process them inside of yourself? Art happens in your heart and in your soul, and you need to provide those quiet places with the opportunity to speak to you. Lauren

Stephanie said...

Inspiration tends to hit me when I am engaged with the world around me. I need the queit to bring that vision to life, but it is the extrovert in me that inspires my work. For each person it is differnt. I couldn't create what I do with out both sides of my personality.

Deb H said...

I was going to pop off a quick answer; "my artist life has made me much more of an introvert than I was in my engineering life". But I think my moving to a very rural area where any social outlet is a 1 or 2 hour drive (each way) and loss of social spontaneity is just as responsible. But I still NEED the social, face to face interaction to hash out some of those artistic ideas with someone who can do more than bark in response. I think Stephanie's comment hits the closest to home for me too. Lots to think on...

Yarnhog said...

I don't know about the connection between introversion/extroversion and art. I studied the Myers-Briggs thing in grad school, and the foreign service uses it as part of their screening (I'm a classic INTJ). I am definitely a strong introvert, but I've learned to appear to be an extrovert and have developed good people skills. I definitely need time alone to be creative, though; relating to people is exhausting and it's hard to be creative when you're exhausted. But I suppose, like wistarn said, that an extrovert would need time with people to draw the energy necessary for creativity.

Kathi said...

I am both. I too like to be introverted, spending hours alone and liking it, comforted by it...need it.
Creating makes me extroverted...I love to share what I do, discuss what others do...even makes me speak in front of people every month.....which I am NOT comfortable with.
Good luck to you.