As I observe more artwork and artists in general, a thought comes to mind, the artist as a volatile person or the artist as a thinker.
I have had the good fortune to meet many established artists; they all are happy beings with a celebrative attitude towards their life and society. That having been said, their art is often of a different disposition from their behaviour. Yes their art is reflective and often a comment on society.
When one reads the Greek philosophers, one definitely understands that the artist is a recorder of their times. As Aristotle points out, there is a distinction between art and history. While history just records things as it happens, art has the liberty to depict in the universal character, hence art has an elevated role as compared to history.
Now with the above I think the responsibility on the artist is huge as they, then, according to Aristotle are elevated recorders. Then the question of personal biases would creep in and yet if one studies a period, we tend to see a general emergence and that probably constitutes the psyche of the times, be it in style or subject.
My personal understanding is that my preference is with the artist as a thinker or a philosopher who is almost removed from the subject to be fair to its depiction. I cannot find myself in empathy with an artist as a volatile person yet their art unable to express their state of mind. That seems to be an unresolved being. They need to meditate more on process and expression of their thoughts as an unresolved being, creates art the time period can’t identify with.
A thinker hence cannot find himself replicating his own work or anyone else’s as that has already been done and explored. The need to say it differently challenges the creative mind and hence gets the juices flowing. The constant mingling of thought and process is what gives birth to what we call “ART”. My vote is hence for artist as a thinker, where all the volatile thoughts are being expressed and not just implied in personality.