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Do you have an artistic temperament?

At the risk of sounding like a commercial for The Art Institute of Phoenix (where I taught for several years), everyone is creative. It's all a matter of degree. I have known many nice people for whom "close enough for government work" is perfectly fine. They are usually the most fun to be around, though!

But I've also known many people who have a high degree of "artistic temperament". And these people, like me, can be a little strange at times. If you fear that you may be suffering from the symptoms of artistic temperament, you just might be. It can be good news or bad news depending how you channel that energy.

Creative people set the world on fire. They change the lives of the people around them, and many times the for the people who will live in the future. And since they live to a higher standard than most people, than can be very hard on themselves, and the people around them. They often wonder, "am I the only one who cares about this?" Read about the lives of the great masters, like Van Gogh, and you will see a pattern. These people are driven very hard.

So being an artist doesn't necessarily mean that you are standing in front of an easel with a paint brush, dressed in a smock, with a beret and large red scarf. You can be an artist without ever touching a sketchbook. And I see it in people all of the time.

I've been an art teacher since 1996, and no, you can't teach people to be artists, or be creative. But I've yet to meet someone who doesn't have just a spark smoldering. And for people who are already on fire, they are the ones that just need to learn to "reel it in". At the Art Institute I taught a lot of time management, working on assignment, making deadlines. If you combine an artistic temperament with the ability to achieve something that pays real money, you have a good thing. I've been doing it since I was 19, as a graphic designer and cartoon illustrator.

Artistic temperament is everywhere that there is excellence. I saw it in the guy who laid the concrete for my driveway for my house. Although I stayed well away, I spied on him as he worked. And he was good! Once he had a little "hissy fit", walked away to calm down, and came back to it. This was an artist.

And if you really, really, want to know if you have an artistic temperament, you will want to sign your work. My favorite is of an artist who had recently completed a sculpture, only to hear someone attribute it to someone else. He went back to his sculpture later that night and across the sash of Mary, he wrote "Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine, made this".

Now go make a masterpiece!