Saturday, 30 April 2016


I feel like people often look at some art and go like ”Wow. I don't get this. Must be Ni.” I also feel like it often is ISFP art people confuse for INFJ art. (Also sometimes vice versa.)

I think it's mostly because Ni has this weird reputation of being so difficult to understand. There seems to be a weird notion going around that if something is all-over-the-place-weird it must be Ni. Or that Ni is so subjective that the only person who can understand an INFJ's art is them.

Uh, no. And here's why.

INFJ: Ni: I have a neat idea. Fe: How do I express this in a way people are most likely to understand?
ISFP: Fi: My reality is like this. Se: What are the means that do it the most justice?

INFJs are auxiliary Fe users. The inspiration for their art is in Ni but they express it most of all through Fe. So, what they care about is finding the most effective way to convey their message. They use objective values to appeal to people's feelings in a way the idea gets across.

ISFPs express their Fi values through Se. So they're looking for the most authentic match for their inner experience from the outside, sensing world.

You could almost say ISFPs sculp, or bend the reality to take the shape of their inner world. INFJs just sort of navigate their inner world through the reality.

That's why it's actually more likely that the outer expression of ISFP art is harder to the masses to understand than INFJ art. INFJ art is generally going to look more ”conventional” because they use objective criteria in their expression. ISFPs use whatever means they can in their expression. All that matters is that it comes as close to their actual subjective reality as possible.

I think if there ever was one time I doubted if I'm an INFJ it was when I saw art or listened to music that was supposedly by INFJs. Now I'm pretty sure most of it was by ISFPs. It was very Se-heavy, very impressionistic. As an Fe-aux, Se-inferior, that stuff often seems too all-over-the-place for me, like they're trying to express too much at once without enough cohesion. It's in my nature not to be able to take in that much without a common thread.

Cohesion is a key word for INFJs. It seems to me that most people don't understand this. INFJs are labeled as ”thinking out of the box” way too much and I think the way INFJs think out of the box is widely misunderstood in the first place. People seem to think it's generally ”wild” and ”random” almost like Ne but with an eerie touch or something.

A lot like this:

Now, that's Fi+Se, that's ISFP. (And being a sensor still doesn't mean you don't think out of the box.)

In fact the INFJ ”thinking out of the box” generally looks way more ”modest” in some sense. That's because their expression is so grounded in objective values. When there's something ”unorthodox” about it, it's usually subtle, because it's still reflective of Fe values. It's like a twist in a common trope if you think of fiction.

Here's an example from my gallery:

I picked a simple one to illustrate my point. Here the thing is basically just this: Candles don't usually float and a flame is usually not heart shaped. The theme of this picture was ”love”. Love is often portrayed as a candle, so I wanted to draw a candle that describes love not only by being a candle but by what kind of candle it is. The rest of the interpretation is up to you, the point is how clearly it uses common values to its advantage in the expression.

Also, I drew this after seeing how many people portrayed the theme love (in the 100 theme challenge, which this is part of) as something that makes you lose your mind and sleep, and is just overall chaotic. I wanted to draw it as something that brings light and warmth and makes you see more clearly. My point is: Even when I went against the common opinion I still used common opinions to express my idea of love. This is what you should generally look for in INFJ art.

Another example:

This is probably the most typical kind of picture for me, since it's one of my characters and the picture represents a certain point in her story.

Let's analyze why this is typical INFJ art. It's tied together with a really clear theme: The colour red. You don't even have to be aware that it represents blood, it's a clear enough theme anyway. And here's what it does: It blurs the details in the Moon, the sky, the water and the cape and brings out their similar qualities in a way that makes them blend together to make a background for what is the focus in this picture: the girl, the most clearly outlined element in it. That's typical Ni+Ti. Ni sees the similar patterns and Ti helps to articulate their expression by compromizing details.

Then my Fe ways: I draw big eyes and facial features because that way the expression has the most weight, and that's what I'm most often trying to convey: emotion. Unlike Fi, my focus is not on expressing how it feels, or what it essentially ”is”. I try to express what it looks like and what it does. In short, I draw in a way that favours the clarity of facial expression over actual human anatomy, because the point of my art is to make people understand how the characters are feeling. That's how Fe works for me.

ISFPs are more likely to be experimental in their ways of making art. They're also more likely to challenge what art is, by their own expression. INFJs might totally stand up for an unappreciated art form or something like that, but they're more likely to express their own ideas in a way they think majority can already understand.

I guess I could conclude by saying that the general impression of INFJ art is that it manipulates details to draw attention where it wants it and the general impression of ISFP art is that the principles it works according to are not detectable in the outside world.

At least that's how it seems to me.

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