The Art of Knowing Yourself

questions In the movie, Pretty Woman, Vivian Ward (played by Julia Roberts) and Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) go to an opera. Edward explains to Vivian that some people who go to an opera for the first time love it. He continues that others don’t love it; they may come to appreciate it, but they will never love it. At the end of the opera, Vivian is crying while Edward sits stoically watching her.

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There’s a great article, by Eriq Gardner over at Psychology Today, about what your choice in art says about you. He describes four 4 personality types:

#1 – Taste hunters
These people are always looking for new art and sharing their discoveries with others. If you visited their home, you’d find an eclectic mix of books, CDs, and DVDs. These people are more likely to become artists themselves.

#2 – Thrill seekers
These people are highly social, connecting with others at concerts, clubs & theaters. They crave sensory excitement, often consuming several media at once. They enjoy bold colors or themes of sex or violence.

#3 – Self-medicators

These people may be somewhat neurotic, evidenced by anxiety and sensitivity. They are highly creative and emotional. So they like art that depicts emotion – romantic movies and books, and music like rap and heavy metal. They use art to regulate their moods and validate their feelings.

#4 – Art as decoration
These conscientious people are dependable, focused, and task-oriented. They enjoy order and rules. So they like art about things they like in real life. They choose art for its aesthetics, often selecting it based on its market value. Conventional art is preferred over modern or abstract. Musicians who are technically accomplished are favored.

Which type are you?

Edward Lewis was definitely the “art as decoration” personality. He went to the opera to be seen by people who viewed as important. He chose the best seat because it made him look important. He consumed art in a very logical manner. He didn’t experience it fully, but he appreciated the craftsmanship that went into making it.

Vivian Ward was very extroverted, enjoying flashy clothes throughout the movie. She felt the opera deeply. This all steers us toward thinking she was a “thrill seeker”. But she was also very emotional, perhaps showing some tendencies of a “self-medicator”.

That’s the thing about these four personality types. Most of us probably fit into more than one. What type or types are you?

Consuming art can reduce your stress

The article also cites a study of office workers – one group looked at art, the other didn’t. It took five hours for the group that didn’t look at art to wind down after work. The group who looked at art achieved the same stress level in forty minutes!

It also helps you understand yourself better. By thinking about the type of art you like, you get to know yourself better.

It’s also a great way to get a conversation going. It helps you connect with others. By knowing what art a person consumes, you come to understand them better.
So take advantage of the upcoming weekend to take in some art!

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