An important thing to be learned from the cross-cultural study of artists, their personalities, their roles, their degree of freedom and their conservatisms and innovations, is the nature of the relationship of the individual to his society and to his culture. When looked at in this perspective, assuming the artist is a romantic rebel becomes as shallow a stereotype as assuming the primitive artist is mindlessly expressing the traditional group consciousness. Motivation, esthetic sensitivity and preoccupation seem everywhere to mark the creative person, and individuality in this sense is important. 'To be accepted to perform the role means a relationship with other persons to fulfill their needs. Art has psychological function for the viewer as well as for the artist, or in another frame of reference, art has social functions that the artist performs if his efforts are to be supported.
Depending to some extent on the degree of freedom allowed by use, by the material, the technique and the demands of cultural norms, the craftsman leaves evidence of his personal style, his personality, on the work. The characteristic ways of meeting technical and artistic problems, which field observers have found to vary with individuals, leave their marks in the formal qualities of the object, even if the artist does not sign it with some favorite motif. In free media such as clay modeling and some kinds of drawing and painting, the artist may also project himself by unconscious bodily movements. These individual qualities, as well as the innovations of interpretation and characteristic recombinations of elements affect the product so that there are personal as well as cultural and regional styles.
Artists: Bascom 1973b; Bunzel 1930; d'Azevedo 1973; Fagg 1969; Gerbrands 1967; Holm 1974.
Theory: Devereux 1961; Jung 1964; Kris 1952; Munsterberger 1951; Peckham 1967.
Function: Bateson and Mead 1942; Schiefflin 1976; Turner 1968; Wallace 1956.