Weird People Make Better Artists, Research Finds

"Artist's character unconsciously affects the way we view their work," the report reads.

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An interesting study led by psychologist Wijnand van Tilburg of the University of Southampton researched the extent to which can artist's appearance and personality impact the viewer's perception of his art.

Funnily enough, the given extent is quite great. AsĀ Telegraph reports, one of the experiments saw the researchers introducing participants to a fictitious artist called Stefansson, showing them one of his two possible portraits.

The first portrait depicted a fairly ordinary man in his twenties, while the other one featured a man of the same age who "had half-long hair combed over one side of his head" and "had not shaved for several days."

Possibly an expected result, but the crowd preferred the scruffy Stefansson, proving that the rebellious, bohemian vibe still works as an attention grabber among the art crowd. Researchers further indicate that such image proves we are attracted to the "sincerity" of artists.

The study concludes that the prior knowledge of artists' appearance and character simply cannot be ignored while judging their work. As the article points out, it "unconsciously affects the way we view their work."

Were you ever drawn toward musicians by their appearance or personality? Or the other way around - were you ever put off?

99 comments sorted by best / new / date

    What's with the Miley Cyrus picture on the article?
    The hair and stuff actually kind of reminds me more of Katy Perry.
    I thought of Bjork, lol.
    Bull. What defines 'weird', and what defines 'better artists'? who wasted his money on this research?
    Researchers did, for science.
    And if you read the description of the study well, it states that they never looked at their art/work but just the portrait. And that does't tell anything about how skilled one person is.
    More like psuedo-science, stop wasting my tax money. They should get researching how to get to mars and cure cancer and such.
    It's a study on perception not quality of artist vs "weirdness." It's shitty reporting by UG to say that "Weird People Make Better Artists, Research Finds." No. That is not what the research found. The research found that people perceive people who look like an outsider/ alternative lifestyle/ weird/ whatever as being better artists even before viewing their art.
    What defines 'weird' is a norm, and what defines 'better artists' is a norm. And if you take that norm pop music will be considered the best music. Because the norm is based on average public opinion. To categorize subjective topics and take the average of all your research to form a standard is a hugely important way to gain insight in psychology. Does it hold true for everyone? Of course not.
    Well, there's LEGITIMATE weird (Beck) then there's using the weird label to be trendy (Lady Gaga)
    The title has nothing to do with what the study says. It's just about what people attribute to a certain look, without having seen any of the artists work. Nothing in this study suggest you're a better artist if your hair is weird.
    I've always noticed the hate around this site for misleading titles but I didn't care that much. This time it actually bothered me... this title is so messed up. Nice catch.
    "Weird People Make Better Artists, Research Finds" YUP. And they also make murderers, rapists, terrorists, etc
    This explains why people like bands more if they have long hair, tattooos, and--back in the day--dreadlocks. It demonstrates commitment to being an artist because they all either take a long time to grow or are stuck on your for life and make it difficult for you to be accepted outside that world. This commitment communicates sincerity. The only problem I have with this is that I've never subscribed to the idea that art and anything else are mutually exclusive. Someone who is good at art can also be good at science, sports, computer programming, or accounting. Therefore, long hair and tattoos may actually limit your opportunities for performing other things that you may be good at.
    Especially if you are one of those artists who is completely dedicated to their craft but is unwilling to compromise on it (aka sell out as some would say) to make more money. So what ends up happening is that they have to hold another job, such as an accountant, to pay for their musical hobby. They might be the greatest musician of their generation, but if they still have to show up to work the next day they won't look like a wild hippie.
    Welcome to my world. And yours. And probably everyone else's! I can't wait to turn 50 so I can look at what became of everyone in this month's Kerrang.
    If this article has to do anything with Miley Cyrus aka"the beautiful cow" then this research just failed.
    Is anyone truly normal though? I guess it's just more exciting to see things different than what you're used to and you associate that with the appearance of the artist.
    I feel like the title was misleading. Appearance being used to judge your perception of the art was already a well known idea. People always judge books by their covers, but long hair and a bear isnt weird by anyones definition.
    don't forget about Primus! super weird and musical talent never hurts... i guess
    People have always said that I'm weird but but it's more of a weird facade I put on that makes me a little more comfortable in group situations. Plus I admit having some weird quirks but everyone does. I think everyone has the capacity to be weird but they are afraid to be something different from the norm. I also think everyone also has the capacity to be a great artist but again the fear prevents them.
    Weird people (either from nature or nurture) - I'm not seeing it as a negative connotation. It's just that those people see things in a different light than the general population and doing things beyond the conventional. That's why they are able to create a lot of good artistic material and made most people think, "who would have thought?" In that sense, all musical innovators are considered "weird" and that is good!
    How is it considered groundbreaking research that people notice the abnormal more than the norm... this is tarded
    Actually I think weird people's stuff get's noticed more because they're weird. You're more likely to check out the person who's different to the norm than the massive amounts of similar stuff. As to whether they're good or not is a different matter. Although I would say the ratio of weird good art to weird bad art is small.
    That works for artists guys like. For girls, all that matters is how attractive the singer is.