Okay, people, time for a reality check here....
I’ve noticed a number of comments posted here and there on this list about art and type preferences, and since a few of these comments are on private lists that I can’t contribute to, I’d like to respond to them here. It really disturbs me that so many people here have brainwashed themselves into believing you have to have a preference for intuition in order to produce fine art. I feel angry at the way these people dismiss “Sensors” as being not capable of produce anything of artistic value. One of the moderators here writes that she thinks Sensors are only capable of pushing things around on paper or canvas aimlessly, as though having a preference for Sensing means having limited brains, no vision for what we want to do with our time, and no beliefs worth promoting. Another person writes in a private forum that some Sensors “allegedly” see themselves as creative and artistic, as if those of us who do believe we have those qualities might be just kidding ourselves. I’m not sure where this idea originated from. Perhaps it’s because Isabel Myers wasn’t very specific or careful when she equated the word “creative” with N. I don’t know. At any rate, because I’ve created fine art myself (though I don’t rely on it for a living), and have spent years both in college-level art classes around plenty of other fine artists, and have spent lots of time around local professional artists in my city, it seems obvious to me that not only are a number of people who prefer Sensing producing high quality fine art all the time, every day, but… you really need to develop both processes in yourself in order to make something of high quality that will have a lot of visual and psychological impact on others.
The act of creating tangible visual art requires you to be sensitive to detail and keenly aware of what your tools can do. If you want to say something that will be visually arresting, thought-provoking, and memorable, you need to learn technique. You also need to explore the limits of the tools you’re working with. People who aren’t interested in learning technique and paying attention to visual form, balance, contrast and details tend to produce amateurish-looking art that doesn’t capture and hold people’s attention, and the visual message gets lost. (From what I’ve noticed, if these people are lucky enough to find an artists’ co-op or gallery wiling to display their art, they tend to write these loooong artists descriptions, but they also tend to be disappointed by the lukewarm reaction they’re getting from visitors.) The thing is, anyone who wants to learn how to use tools effectively can do if they have the willingness to learn and the ability and drive to spend lots of hours tinkering around with the tools. It also seems obvious to me that you need to be introspective in order to produce art that has something of substance to it. This is ALSO something that anyone, regardless of their type preferences, can do if they are willing to take some time out every day to contemplate what they think is worth valuing and saying, and why they believe it has value, and how they can express that directly visually (as with representational art) or through the use of symbolic color or form. Sensing and Intuition work nicely hand in hand for every artist who is serious about creating something of value that will touch people’s minds and hearts. It also seems obvious that the works of art most beloved by people all over the world (the kind people pay good money to see exhibits of in museums) tend to be the sort that combines keen sensory awareness and quality technique with an equally-as-keen introspection and awareness of something worth valuing – something that gives the viewer a visual message worth paying attention to.
Since joining this list in September, I’ve tried my best to NOT get caught up in arguments that smack of type bias, because I hate feeling like I have to defend my preferences against insults on a daily basis. But this particular bias against Sensors and art strikes deeply at the heart of who I am. I can’t imagine NOT being obsessed with creating visual imagery that talks to viewers about what I value. It’s an essential part of who I am, and it always has been. I’m truly baffled that so manny people have been brainwashed (?) into believing that “N” equals creativity, when every day I see people who obviously prefer Sensing thinking up innovative, fresh ideas that work to improve real life situations, as well as those who love to make memorable visual statements about what they believe is worth valuing. It really makes me want to ask those who perpetrate the bias, ”What planet do you live on? Because you and I don’t seem to be living in the same world.”
At any rate, because of this, I’d like propose a new way of looking about art and creativity: Suppose for a second that it has nothing to do with either S or N specifically, and that creativity can simply be defined as the drive and ability to initiate positive change. This drive can be the result of feeling dissatisfied or restless with the status-quo. Or, it can be the result of noticing patterns and connecting ideas together to form a meta-perspective that will solve a problem either here-and-now or in the future. No matter how you define it, it seems to be about noticing a need for change and going about finding ways of implementing that change. This is something that is not related to any one set of type preferences.
It does seem obvious that creative people – the ones who are most comfortable acting on their drive to initiate positive change—tend to be people who are comfortable living outside their comfort ranges. I would guess that they tend to be people who not only have an interest in developing their lesser-preferred cognitive functions, but that they welcome opportunities to learn, period. So it’s no wonder that when we see work by an artist whose technical virtuosity is astounding AND the message behind his or her art very thought-provoking or moving, it’s not going to be easy to correctly type that artist, unless you’re just into what I call “vanity typing “ – which is, convincing yourself that everyone whose life or whose work you admire has preferences just like your own.
I really hope someday to see an end to the constant belittling of the capabilities of those of us who prefer Sensing. It would thrill me to see more people on this list truly understanding that everyone uses both sensing and intuition, and that everyone is capable of pursuing every activity that interests them and that all human beings are capable of, including acting on the basic human drive to initiate positive change, and to create visual works of art.
Thanks for listening. I welcome thoughtful comments. (Insults, not so much...)