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I am posting this here because I don't know where else to post it. I don't know where it belongs, really.

Lately, all my interactions have been dogged by the overwhelming sensation that I'm being untrue to myself. I feel as though I'm losing it. See, my problem is this: I strive to please other people. I always have. My mother is a martyr type, and partly, I learned from watching her- but it's not her "fault" I am this way. It's no-one's fault, I think. I feel obliged to be. To sacrifice my own comfort for others' happiness. Which is fine, when they appreciate it; but all too often (and mainly guys do this) they don't, and that hurts. But I still feel compelled to self-sacrifice. To make others happy by doing what they want to do, because if I don't, they won't accept me.

Over time, I have learned how to mimic the behaviour of my peers, in order to "pass" as one of them. The art world is dominated by Sensors. Extroverted Sensors in particular, it seems. This I had no idea about before, but had the pleasure to discover firsthand, because of the one-year art course I'm currently undertaking. It makes sense, though. They really are the best at knowing what looks good; what sizzles, sings and speaks in terms of layout, design and composition. In short, they are extremely visual people. Never before have I met such a group of talented, promising young artists in all my education, and I know I won't have this unique opportunity to be amongst them again. I feel horribly cliche when I write this, but art school has been a place of discovery for me. I've done so many things and learned so much about myself in the process.

One of these things is that I could not study art at uni. I started my 1 year course believing that I would go on to study Graphic Design or Illustration, and essentially, train to become an Illustrator or Graphic Designer. But over the past few months, my experiences with art and its students have left me feeling so alternately ambivalent and empty, that I decided I just couldn't do it. I applied for Film Studies instead; an analytical, essay-based course with an optional module for Creative Writing. My friends all mocked me for it, of course. They couldn't for the life of them, comprehend why anyone would want to "do that to themselves".

And by that, they would be referring to anything involving essay writing, reading and analysis, with no creativity. I wanted to tell them that they were wrong, and that for me, it's wonderful. Film Studies might not be creative in a visual way, but oh- it forms the basis of my own secret heart, my especial native language- the written word. And there's more than one way of being creative. Creativity with ideas, for example; exploring the intangible and abstract. But of course, I couldn't tell them, because they wouldn't understand, or even try to. So I swallowed my words and said nothing, something I've been doing a lot of lately, and therein lies the problem.

I'm going to list my experiences now, because it's far more comprehensive and easier to look at.

Reasons this ENFP couldn't hack the art world:

1. Communication. Or miscommunication, depends which way you want to look at it. I've come across some real problems in my dealings with fellow students (and even teachers). We simply don't see/say things in the same way! Which sounds like an exaggeration, but really, I'm being serious here. Our perspectives are so different, I find myself having to modify literally everything I say, or am thinking about saying, before I say it. And by this, I mean cutting out the metaphors, wordplay, cryptic/complex language, vague Intuitive-speak, Ne 'flight of ideas' speeches (unless there's pictures so they can follow my train of thought). Frankly, it's exhausting. I think it's the thing that makes me feel most soulless and empty, because I am basically editing out 50% of what I want to say/talk about, and acting like that other half, the half that could talk for hours about the meaning of things and the endless possibilities, doesn't exist, at all. The few INtuitives I have encountered who comfortably show that ideas-based, conceptual side of themselves, are marginalized and seen as "weird" or "arrogant" by the status quo.

So I have learned to hide my true nature, as though it were just an unspectacular secret, like having a fetish for something mundane, or an ungainly scar someplace on your body, or confessing to crying at a cheesy movie. And as with all secrets, you always long to confess, tell someone, anyone.. and watch them disengage, switch off. The thing is, there are next to no INtuitives in the art world. I've met so many people since this course began, and haven't had that wonderfully exciting Ne rush with anyone. After so long pretending to be a Sensor, I'm hankering for some good old INtuitive chat. I couldn't enter the art world for this reason; I think it would have a similar concentration of Sensors, if not more. And I would be feeling endlessly empty, surrounded by people but with no-one to "talk" to.

2. Visuals. Artists thrive on the visual (obviously), but with me, there's always been a kind of disconnect, I feel. Like, instead of drinking in the sight of something and simply living in the moment of looking at it, I'm too busy drifting about in some strange nether-region between reality and my mind, analyzing everything and asking "why?"- all the questions I have to stop myself from verbalizing, and coming up with possibilities. I like making art, and I've been told that my work is good, but deep down, I know I'll never be as good as my Sensor friends. It simply doesn't come naturally to me, and I don't feel it in the same way they do. It's not my "first language", or so to speak.

3. Nobody reads or is into books. Whilst I don't have a problem with this, it does leave me wishing that at least one person was, so that we could talk about ideas... I adore reading books, and then talking about the ideas they explore with other people. It's what I love most of all. Coming to art school has been a real shock for me in that sense, because I can't make that connection with people. I think it serves to illustrate the fact that the majority of people here are High Sensors, and we are amazingly different, in more ways than one. Which is good; I'm all for diversity and love meeting and speaking to different people. I just wish they wouldn't be so dismissive of those who like to read (me.)

4. Partying! Boy, these S types sure know how to party. They never stop! I'm a newcomer to the whole clubbing/partying scene- the first houseparty I went to was only a few months ago, but they seem to have been doing it since forever. They want to go out and drink excessively, night after night. This kind of thing takes a lot out of me, and I need my introvert time to recover and reflect on my experiences. Recently, the partying has been becoming increasingly frequent. Every weekend or so, and weekdays too... and I'm speaking as someone who used to never go out. I love how they invite me to their social events, it makes me feel so warm and appreciated. Once again, I really appreciate it. But sometimes I wish I had people with whom I could chill out, and not just drink with. Whenever I'm getting ready to go out, I often find myself pretending "I'm going to my boyfriend's house, and we're going to have a relaxing evening, just the two of us. No loud music, no drinking, just soft lights, warm atmosphere with someone who loves me, a nice movie, and lots of cuddling" but it's always just a fantasy. The reality is loud and intimidating and something I never feel fully comfortable with, unless I'm significantly drunk. Which just makes me feel sad and empty the morning after, because it all meant nothing, it always does. And it's not really my scene, but I spend my time pretending it is.

I could go on, but I think I've highlighted my main points. The problem is not that I dislike my peers, or think they're "inferior" in any way. I just know that we belong to two very different worlds, and I am not one of them. This course has taught me that; it's definitely been a learning process, and not one I regret taking. It's been a journey, at the risk of sounding cliche. And every minute has been worth it, no matter how unpleasant or difficult it seemed at the time.
Now it's time to go home, back to my own country. I've had a marvellous gap year here in the art world. :happy:
 

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Thanks for posting this. While your experience doesn't mirror mine, I can see similar threads of thought!

The art I like to look at and the art I make are completely different things. In a gallery situation, I find that I love things that have that visceral impact or have mind boggling technique. When I approach my own stuff it's about the concept or telling a story, I'm not concerned overmuch with technique (my style is more painterly than ultra-realistic) and it never really engages the audience in a pure, moment captured, emotional way like something like Guernica (my favourite painting) would

guernica_all.jpg

I've found that to communicate I need to have both words and images. It's interesting that you have ruled out illustration as it is where I've carved out a place for myself, children's book writing and illustration in particular, where I can be a storyteller as well as creating art. People I know who are more intuitive have gravitated to the comic book field for similar reasons.

My favourite children's book author and illustrator is Shaun Tan and his career, art and writing is pretty much my ideal within this field.



The differences between the two images for me is that Picasso's painting is the meaning is conveyed through the colours, the symbols and it's a statement rather than a question, where as Shaun Tan's painting for his story book, I look at the scene and wonder what's happening, why he's pointing in that direction, who is the little girl. Whatever themes he is going to explore, it's going to be through the story.

There's nothing wrong with your path now, your friends probably just see the analytical component and wonder why you'd choose to observe art rather than create. I can see why you have chosen it, film is a good marriage between art and the written word, hopefully you won't stop creating if it is what means a lot to you! The creative writing module sounds good!

RE: feeling socially uncomfortable, I think once you start to please yourself and accept yourself you'll find this a lot easier and you'll stop focusing on the differences. It's a good thing they are different, they'll have more to teach you!
 

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Art school is an idea I've vaguely toyed with at various points but never seriously considered. Still, art remains one of the most important things in the world to me. These posts are interesting. Despite never having formally gone to school for it, I can see where those four points came from.

One thing I've noticed really holding back my own art is my inability to remember what things look like and the extreme difficulty I have with manipulating forms in my head. In other words, I can draw detailed but very planar and surreal-looking drawings from my head or dynamic, dimensional, semi-realistic things from life. It drives me nuts, because I'm seemingly incapable of giving concrete form to the hazy images in my head (or at least giving them form in the way I'd like). I've wondered for a while if this has anything to do with N vs S, or if this frustration is just a personal thing.
 

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I suppose art school would be a place dominated more so by the Sensor type. While I enjoy art, I don't seem to quite have that fine appreciation nor talent for creating something tangible. I think everywhere you go, you'll noticed that most places (albeit careers/hobbies that are more intuitive friendly) have a Sensor imbalance. I work in retail; which I suppose is an extension of art. My sensor coworkers have the appreciation for the item; I have the appreciation of helping somebody else look good in their body. Their policy is what is in, my policy is what is the best for the individual. I'm brutally honest and will tell somebody if a trend on a person looks like they are a ham stuffed in a tube sock (though I say so much more gently!). My coworkers will gush and rave if the item is on a person because it is a trend. I think future, they think now. I think 'are you going to regret buying this item in a year when the trend falls?' or 'How long will this piece gather me use?' and yet they don't seem to mind throwing away thousands of dollars a year on clothing I will never see them in again in 6 months time.

I, too, notice their never ending energy. I think it relates to proper stimulation of their senses; having their needs fulfilled gives them energy and fulfillment. I think since we almost have to shut off the Ne in a more artistic environment (as to not offend or bore somebody to death :p) that it is exhausting. I need to go home and think, darnit! The only reason I can thrive at work is because of the customers, not because of what I do specifically.

And the reading thing; oy! You mention you read a book and it's like you just spoke a combination of Mandarin and alien. I wish there were more people to dork about books with!

It is cool though that you enjoyed learning from the experience. I guess at the least you can take that from anything. It's neat to understand the similarities and the differences, isn't it?
 

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lol really? I'm going to start university at parsons new school for design this august and I feel... rather disappointed because I thought there would be more intuitives in the art world.
heh I guess not
 

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It depends on what kind of art you are talking about - I certainly wouldn't discount intuitives from the entire Art World. As far as visual graphic arts, intuitives can learn Se, my Se is quite developed, and my art has been decent from a young age. I also know two INFJs that make just really spot-on, exquisite art. If this is your dream, go for it. I think the expressiveness matters more than the aesthetics. One of my favorite illustrators is Quentin Blake and his work is far from "beautiful". Anyway, it seems like most of your difficulties are coming from the social aspects of being surrounded by sensors who don't understand you or your interests. I'm sure you can find some N's or some more compatible sensors if you look hard enough!
 

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@digitalceremony What an honest and moving post. I don't even know where to begin to reply since it stirs up so much. I was fairly surrounded by SPs growing up and I love them and have learned to adapt myself. But it comes at a price and I understand what you're talking about.

It's funny because you tend to gravitate towards what you know and I found myself living with a house full of SP artists (my mom's a photographer) when I was around 20. I'm artistic and creative, though wouldn't call myself an artist (and can completely relate to the weaknesses that @chimeric spoke of). They were all in art school and I was at regular college. One of the guys though seemed more intuitive. He was married to a woman that I'm fairly certain was ISFP and he worshipped her, but he followed me all over the house talking, talking, talking about his theories etc... while his wife just happily created in the studio. He had alot of disconnect and issues with the other art school students and the classes and the approach. He was honestly NT like and quite good but felt disenfrachised by the experience and ended up quitting. The guy loved his wife dearly and they're still married, but at that time he seemed literally starved for intuitive conversation. And I've been there as well.

I was also a film studies major before I switched to history. I really wish I wouldn't have. I think film incorporates so many of an ENFPs strong points and is collaborative which is a win win since you get to offer your brilliance in certain areas and rely on / learn from others brilliance in their collective areas. And it's project based. And all about meaning if you do it right. I'd go for film school as opposed to film studies though. Or do both. Just don't give up on the creative career.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I suppose art school would be a place dominated more so by the Sensor type. While I enjoy art, I don't seem to quite have that fine appreciation nor talent for creating something tangible. I think everywhere you go, you'll noticed that most places (albeit careers/hobbies that are more intuitive friendly) have a Sensor imbalance. I work in retail; which I suppose is an extension of art. My sensor coworkers have the appreciation for the item; I have the appreciation of helping somebody else look good in their body. Their policy is what is in, my policy is what is the best for the individual. I'm brutally honest and will tell somebody if a trend on a person looks like they are a ham stuffed in a tube sock (though I say so much more gently!). My coworkers will gush and rave if the item is on a person because it is a trend. I think future, they think now. I think 'are you going to regret buying this item in a year when the trend falls?' or 'How long will this piece gather me use?' and yet they don't seem to mind throwing away thousands of dollars a year on clothing I will never see them in again in 6 months time.

I, too, notice their never ending energy. I think it relates to proper stimulation of their senses; having their needs fulfilled gives them energy and fulfillment. I think since we almost have to shut off the Ne in a more artistic environment (as to not offend or bore somebody to death :p) that it is exhausting. I need to go home and think, darnit! The only reason I can thrive at work is because of the customers, not because of what I do specifically.

And the reading thing; oy! You mention you read a book and it's like you just spoke a combination of Mandarin and alien. I wish there were more people to dork about books with!

It is cool though that you enjoyed learning from the experience. I guess at the least you can take that from anything. It's neat to understand the similarities and the differences, isn't it?
I'm so glad that someone understands what I mean. I've had such strange, ambivalent experiences at art school- not all of them unpleasant. I find it so hard to explain to people irl why I couldn't study art at a higher level. They don't seem to understand that in order for me to do so, I would have to feel it with all my being; it would have to be the predominant (and perhaps only) way I expressed myself: visually. I'm very all-or-nothing, about everything really. And especially about what to study. That's not to say I speak for every ENFP or iNtuitive in the art world- just of my own personal experience.

I especially agree with this part of your quote:

I think since we almost have to shut off the Ne in a more artistic environment (as to not offend or bore somebody to death :p) that it is exhausting. I need to go home and think, darnit! The only reason I can thrive at work is because of the customers, not because of what I do specifically.

that's a perfect way to put it. I find myself getting emotionally/psychologically exhausted at the end of the day because key parts of me aren't being stimulated. I also lately feel some sort of weird dynamic where I've spent so long behaving like my friends, being loud and gregarious and pretending I don't secretly go home and write big fat essays to unwind in my spare time, that when I do try to do what I want, it feels weird and foreign :confused: like being a stranger in your own country. I think if it wasn't for my classmates, I definitely couldn't survive working in an Se dominated environment.

and it's such a cool feeling to observe all the differences and know why people behave how they do :cool:
 
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@digitalceremony What an honest and moving post. I don't even know where to begin to reply since it stirs up so much. I was fairly surrounded by SPs growing up and I love them and have learned to adapt myself. But it comes at a price and I understand what you're talking about.

It's funny because you tend to gravitate towards what you know and I found myself living with a house full of SP artists (my mom's a photographer) when I was around 20. I'm artistic and creative, though wouldn't call myself an artist (and can completely relate to the weaknesses that @chimeric spoke of). They were all in art school and I was at regular college. One of the guys though seemed more intuitive. He was married to a woman that I'm fairly certain was ISFP and he worshipped her, but he followed me all over the house talking, talking, talking about his theories etc... while his wife just happily created in the studio. He had alot of disconnect and issues with the other art school students and the classes and the approach. He was honestly NT like and quite good but felt disenfrachised by the experience and ended up quitting. The guy loved his wife dearly and they're still married, but at that time he seemed literally starved for intuitive conversation. And I've been there as well.

I was also a film studies major before I switched to history. I really wish I wouldn't have. I think film incorporates so many of an ENFPs strong points and is collaborative which is a win win since you get to offer your brilliance in certain areas and rely on / learn from others brilliance in their collective areas. And it's project based. And all about meaning if you do it right. I'd go for film school as opposed to film studies though. Or do both. Just don't give up on the creative career.
thank you so much :) it means a lot to know I'm not the only one who has felt this way. I'd describe it as feeling like you're going crazy through everyday denial of your true self, but never being able to be sure, because SPs don't tend to believe in reflection- so you don't get enough time to truly reflect and find out. And before you know it, the next physical experience hits you like a 10-tonne truck, and you're left reeling from the impact.

I'm learning very quickly that I can't continue living like this. I keep thinking of the future, and all the damage the drinking is going to do to my body :sad: and sincerely, it scares me. I find myself secretly wanting to stop all the "going out/clubbing/partying", but the minute there's no partying to do, I feel in desperate need of socializing. The irony is that when I get to the club or party, I just feel bored and empty because there is no-one I can really connect with. It's a very strange dilemma.

The guy you knew sounds very much like a few other suspected NTs I've encountered at art school. One is an INTP, and the other an INTJ. They both respectively inhabit this peripheral region of the college social structure, and don't associate with the other students. The most obvious High Intuitive is the INTP. Not only does he seem to struggle with issues relating to the course and the way it's taught, he also fails to relate to any of his fellow students in any way. He is so suspended in the world of abstract theories and ideas that in crits he just talks about the concepts in great detail... without producing any work to demonstrate these concepts. I thought he came across as not really visual enough to be an "art student" in the full, passionate sense of the word. The work he does is quite brilliant, though. He just doesn't do enough of it for the course he's on. He told me that he was thinking of quitting art, after having been rejected from all of his university choices. He said the interviewers all treated him "like he was insane".

The sensation of being starved for intuitive conversation is both bewildering and oddly subtle. I'd been feeling slightly uncomfortable ever since I started this course, but until now I never really understood why. I think the world of excessive physical experience my Sensor friends have introduced me to has made it very obvious, though. I may be an extrovert like them: I may have highly developed Fe, like them. But that doesn't mean I'm the same kind of extrovert... the differences between iNtuitive Extraverts and Sensing Extroverts is really quite huge. We get our energy from the same source: the outside world, but different components of it.

I think I made the right decision, choosing Film. It was, in fact, miscommunication with my teacher that drove me to it. She refused to read my personal statement (essentially an essay students have to write about themselves for unis to read and offer them interviews if they like it), saying it was too vague. I needed her help, but she clearly wasn't going to give it, based on her own prejudices/laziness. So I chose Film because it was the only other subject I enjoyed. I would definitely pursue the creative side of it through writing, though; I've never been particularly interested in the practical side of filmmaking. I really think Film is one of the ENFP's subjects. I'm quite analytical, and the exploration of ideas is what excites me about it. It has a good mixture of visual and theoretical analysis that suits me much more than either aspects on their own.
 
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I'm so glad that someone understands what I mean. I've had such strange, ambivalent experiences at art school- not all of them unpleasant. I find it so hard to explain to people irl why I couldn't study art at a higher level. They don't seem to understand that in order for me to do so, I would have to feel it with all my being; it would have to be the predominant (and perhaps only) way I expressed myself: visually. I'm very all-or-nothing, about everything really. And especially about what to study. That's not to say I speak for every ENFP or iNtuitive in the art world- just of my own personal experience.

I especially agree with this part of your quote:

I think since we almost have to shut off the Ne in a more artistic environment (as to not offend or bore somebody to death :p) that it is exhausting. I need to go home and think, darnit! The only reason I can thrive at work is because of the customers, not because of what I do specifically.

that's a perfect way to put it. I find myself getting emotionally/psychologically exhausted at the end of the day because key parts of me aren't being stimulated. I also lately feel some sort of weird dynamic where I've spent so long behaving like my friends, being loud and gregarious and pretending I don't secretly go home and write big fat essays to unwind in my spare time, that when I do try to do what I want, it feels weird and foreign :confused: like being a stranger in your own country. I think if it wasn't for my classmates, I definitely couldn't survive working in an Se dominated environment.

and it's such a cool feeling to observe all the differences and know why people behave how they do :cool:
Woah, woah, woah you guys. Hold up a minute.

You don't have to turn off your Ne in an artistic environment. In fact, Ne can be excellent for creating art. Making abstract connections, thinking of what could be, and having things be symbolic of other things is all good for art. You just need to master how to make physical images that convey all that. If you can do that, you're golden.

Modern art is very abstract, for instance. And artists like Salvador Dalí and Alex Grey are incredibly abstract. Their works are bursting with symbolism.
 

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Hmm... this is very interesting. I have had completely different experiences as an art student at a liberal arts school. All of my art professors I've worked closely with have been intuitives... and the other two students, besides me, who were in my thesis program, were both intuitives. There was a load of writing involved with the program...we had to write a term paper on our own work, artist statements, write about other artists, etc. I also have a very wide range of skills as an artist-- I'm a painter, illustrator, graphic designer, and photographer, but I don't feel that "disconnect" that you say you do, really. I'm not a big fan of associating cognitive functions with... talent, necessarily. I think saying Se users are better at art is like saying thinkers are better at math. I think everyone has their own gifts... and I see these as blessings, not really as a result of type. Singers, actors, artists... I don't think any type has an advantage over another.
 

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I wonder if there is a general difference between the art school experience and majoring in arts at a university. I know a couple of INFPs who majored in art, but most of the people I know that went to art school were SPs. That's just my anecdotal experience and it may just come down to the mix of students in any program at one time.

Just to be clear, I think intuitives can make outstanding artists. I also relate to all types in general, but I need to have at least a couple of intuitives in my life to let loose on that aspect of my personality and feel understood.
 
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