Well, not all of us I guess, but a lot of us. Ever heard the stories of Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel? Or any other artist for that matter. Many seem to have something about them that makes them hard to get along with. I am no different, and recently I started trying to figure out why that is. I'll share my thoughts though I cannot speak for everyone.
Before I begin, lets forget about artists being introverts. While that is true for many, that is definitely not true for all. I have known plenty of artists who were the very definition of extroverted. Also, I hate using the word introverted because EVERYONE thinks they are an introvert. Just because you are shy sometimes or want your alone time now and then does not mean you are introverted. I have a whole blog post about that which you can find here. So anyways...
First off, as an artist, we think differently. We even think differently from other artists. We are not necessarily more intelligent than anyone, we just see things a different way. What this means is, we often do not see eye to eye with many other people on certain topics. This bleeds over into a lot of things, not just art. We have different work ethics, different political views, and so on. Some people may see this as just trying to be difficult when often we are not trying to be.
Sometimes we don't listen to people. I know that whenever I am on an assignment, paid or not, I do not listen. People will often try to ask me about my photography, my cameras, this and that, and I just cannot focus on them. I am not trying to be rude, but I guess you could say I get into a "zone." Many artists experience this feeling when they are working. It is such a strong feeling that it is really hard to focus on anything except whatever it is they are doing. As with the above idea, this too bleeds over into personal life. Just last week I was covering an event and someone was trying to talk to me about lenses or something. I feel bad now that I have time to think about it, but in the moment I didn't think twice before turning my back and walking away without saying anything. So, a word to the wise, don't stop me for too long when I have my camera out and if you do, don't take it personal if I don't acknowledge what you're saying. I probably didn't even hear it.
There is something that bugs me to no end and I am not sure if it is the same for other people. I feel like it might be specific to photography too. If you ask me to do a job for you, DO NOT have other photographers at the same event. Yes, some events will have multiple photographers, but each is fulfilling a different client's needs. I take real issue with this. Think about it, would you have two chefs cooking the same steak? No. Why? Because it's pointless, and besides, what if one messes up? Well then you have a crappy steak. Same with photography, do not disrespect me by getting a guy with a point and shoot to get in my way.
We tend to be much more in touch with our emotions than other people. I have said this before but a good artist feels more than most. Bad situations are worse for us, good situations better, and memories are more vivid. We use this like a 6th sense to harness and channel our emotions into our art. But being more in touch with our emotions also means that we find it harder to hide our annoyance, anger, happiness, or other emotions than anyone else.
There are many other reasons why we might come off as jerks. These are just some. It boils down to the fact that we can be a bit eccentric when it comes to our art, whatever that may be. That doesn't always translate well into a social environment and can sometimes lead to us coming off as jerks. It takes a certain focus and attitude to pull off some of the things we do. It's not as easy as pushing a button, making a mark on paper, or painting a pretty scene. There is so much more that goes through our heads to create something and that gets in the way of our ability to be socially acceptable. So next time you see someone creating, give them a little space. It's like not touching a dog when they are eating, you may get snapped at.