Artists. We all know the cliché: beret wearing, cigarette smoking, tortured by inner demons and possibly speaking with a Parisian accent. But does this stereotype really ring true for today’s modern artist? We doubt it.

Positive and negative, we’ve unpacked some of the most clichéd assumptions made about who or what an artist is.

All Artists…

  1. are perfectionists
  2. fear mediocrity
  3. live in a dream world
  4. speak and hear in colour
  5. are moody and emotional
  6. are intense and focussed
  7. only hang out with fellow creatives
  8. have keen eyes for beauty
  9. are endlessly curious
  10. have very strong opinions about the quality of art
  11. are always broke, unless they “sell out”
  12. are “European” (even if not actually from Europe)
  13. have high standards
  14. are self-righteous and uncompromising
  15. are pretentious
  16. are persistent
  17. have decadent lifestyles
  18. are eccentric
  19. have great fashion sense
  20. always carry a sketchbook

And there you have it – the top twenty clichés about artists! How well, if at all, do they define you?

About Paperblanks®: At Paperblanks, we believe that art should have a place in all aspects of life. That’s why we follow the artist’s way in everything we do – creating, crafting and releasing designs we believe have the power to touch people. For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at


  1. Hi there, what a funny article! When the cliché is described, I can see the artist in front of me. I guess we all have an image of what an artist is supposed to be or look like. We are happy people if that artist looks exactly like us. 🙂

    • Hi Rose,

      Thank you! We’re so glad you got a kick out of it. It was certainly fun to imagine the stereotypical artist as we came up with the list. Clichés or not, I’m sure we can all relate to at least a couple of those points…

      The Paperblanks Team

  2. Dang you got me. I thought that I would have nothing in common with these points but honestly 90% are me! I never thought other people would speak and hear colour, for me it’s more about how I remember, I’ll link things with colours like school subjects.

    • Hi CloudHair,

      Thanks for sharing! It’s strange how well these “stereotypes” can actually capture personality traits of real people. And very interesting to learn how you like colours with school subjects and other things you need to memorise. It’s like colour coding in your mind 🙂

      The Paperblanks Team

    • CloudHair: are you sure you don’t have synesthesia? I am an artist and I don’t associate colours with words, ideas or places. My friend, also an artist, has synesthesia and she describes things similar to what you described. Letters have designated colours, scenes in a movie give her certain “tastes” etc. It’s a cross-sensory thing more than an artistic thing.

  3. This list is exactly what i was looking for. Haha, I have had a few encounters with some of these clichés. I feel that as a result of the stereotyping, some young creatives are inclined to adopt or emulate these qualities.

    • Hi Chidy,

      We think you are probably right about that! Maybe by trying to seem like “an artist,” many of us end up subconsciously taking on these personality traits and perpetuate the stereotype!

      The Paperblanks Team

  4. OMG i though i was coming on here to find what other people assume I’m like before they know me just by being told I’m an artist instead i got an exact list of my qualities, does that mean stereotypes are usually correct ?

    • Stereotypes may not be universally correct, but once something becomes so wildly accepted as to become a stereotype there is probably a little kernel of truth in there. Of course, our list is just for fun 🙂 Stereotypes – when blindly assumed to be accurate – can be a dangerous and hurtful way of profiling others.

  5. I am “gifted”.
    – I am broke.
    – I’m not able to keep a regular job.
    – I am weird.
    – I despise common thinking, taste, culture.
    – I’m mentally ill. I mean, I have suffered from panic attacks, severe anxiety with odd symptoms, agoraphobia, depression, suicidal thoughts and all. I mean.
    – Some people have called me a misunderstood genious (wich means they understand my genius, though…)
    – I seem to have an advertion to money and success.
    – I have a moral rigidity that prevents me from being insincere.
    – I gave up my work because I felt my aesthetic research was making me crazy. I felt sucked up from japanese paintings. They were sucking my soul.
    – I am not, at this time, a psychotic. Not that I know of, of course. Definitely I’m not very normal, though.
    – My sensitivity is extreme.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      You definitely sound like an artist to us! We’ve found that, as silly as some of the cliché presented in our list are, there is a commonality between many artists – and that is being more in-tune with one’s emotional state. Sounds like you are quite self-aware about this and hopefully art is a helpful outlet for you!

  6. Most of these stereotypes (I mean really, 98% of them) really fit me. Although, I don’t really think I should bring a sketchbook everywhere I go. By the way thanks for the nice article.


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