Does being a fan of Rembrandt mean that you’re a traditional, conservative person? Are Andy Warhol devotees obsessed with pop culture? Can you actually tell much about somebody based on their taste in art?
The answer to all of these questions is: probably, yes. With the help of YouGov, one of the biggest consumer information databases around, we found out what unites Jackson Pollock fans (hint: it’s not what you’d expect) and discovered who actually likes Banksy (young guys who are into clubbing and extreme sports, apparently). While some of the results weren’t so unexpected (Who loves Monet? Probably your grandma) others were a bit surprising.
YouGov works by polling over 200,000 Americans daily, quizzing them on what they like and how they spend their time. All this info gets aggregated into a searchable tool called YouGov Profiles.
When we first came across this, we used it to find out what your favorite camera brand says about you. That got us wondering what kind of info your art preferences might reveal, so we compiled results for a few notable artists. Keep reading to see what your favorite artist might say about you.
The archetypal Dali fan is an opinionated, city-dwelling guy, approaching middle age, who works in a creative industry. He tends to make upwards of $100k. Although Dali lovers tend to swing slightly right on the political scale, he’s no George Bush fan. And he likes Stephen Colbert and The Onion.
This is a man who’s a little bit conservative, but still questions the establishment. He thinks of himself as a patron of the arts, and he has an active interest in science. He doesn’t like to eat meat, unless it’s fish. He has a pet cat.
His music taste favors emotional, universally-beloved bands, like Radiohead, Coldplay, and Nirvana. He keeps up to date with the news via reliable outlets like The New York Times and Rolling Stone. It’s his movie-watching that betrays the Dali fan’s penchant for challenging, surreal artwork: A Clockwork Orange and American Beauty are two of his favorites.
If Frida Kahlo is your favorite artist, chances are you’re a woman under 30 with strong left-leaning political views. The Kahlo fan would still vote for Bernie Sanders if she could.
She works in a creative field, like design, media, or performing arts. Although she prizes her sense of humor, she’s an anxious person, and admits that she can be kind of a know-it-all.
Just like Kahlo, who was known for her bold style, Frida’s fans are into fashion. Despite spending most of her time following the local arts scene at trendy gallery openings and theatre happenings, not all her interests are artsy. The Frida Kahlo fan also likes relaxing at home, watching a soccer game or a Comedy Central show like Broad City.
Maybe because many Kahlo fans are from Texas and New Mexico, she tends to cook Mexican dishes. Or maybe that’s Kahlo’s influence, since the Mexican artist was known to be an enthusiastic cook.
Just like the infamous pop artist himself probably would have done, the typical Andy fan spends a ton of time online: 50+ hours a week, to be specific. Usually male and under 30, Warhol fans are totally plugged in to popular culture, spending at least 26 hours a week on TV as well. Warhol was an avid watcher of television, and created two TV shows during his career, so this is likely nothing less than what he would expect from a fan.
When not checking Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and celeb gossip, the Warhol fan is on the hunt for tickets to see his favorite bands. He loves pop music, of course, and wouldn’t hesitate to drop the cash to see a superstar act like Beyonce or Rihanna.
He thinks of himself as an alternative kind of guy, someone artistic, who’s supportive of LGBTQ+ rights and likes learning about different cultures. When he eats out, he tries to sample diverse cuisines.
Like Jackson Pollock’s work, his fans are not what they initially seem. Often a woman in her late 30s, working in an artistic field, the Pollock fan first appears to be a standard, upper-middle-class art lover. She loves attending concerts and museum shows, has an interest in science, listens to folk (Woody Guthrie), blues (Lead Belly), and artsy pop (Björk).
She rarely watches television, but enjoys spending time at home, cooking a big dinner or maybe baking a cake. She works in performing arts, perhaps managing a theatre or acting—alternatively, she works in a design-related field, creating sets for plays, or creative new buildings. She makes over $100k a year.
The twist? Despite her high income and Tom Waits records, the Jackson Pollock fan is still just a typical all-American girl at heart. She grew up in the Midwest, and she secretly loves Dunkin Donuts. She drives her fuel-efficient Hyundai to the shooting range sometimes, to let off steam. She thinks Family Guy is kind of funny.
The typical Diane Arbus fan is a middle-aged, urban man, who makes a minimum wage salary and is politically left-leaning. He works in a creative field, but maybe his career never really got off the ground. Or maybe he works at a small theatre or gallery, happy to be doing what he likes but not making much cash.
Arbus was famous for documenting people on the fringes of society, and maybe he identities with her photo subjects. He can be a bit self-centred sometimes, seeing himself as a unique, creative individual who’s dissatisfied with where he is sometimes. His love of the arts keeps him positive, though. He goes out of his way to support other creatives, paying to attend art shows and theatre events whenever he can.
Naturally, the Diane Arbus fan is interested in photography. He’s also into tattoos, and he’s while he’s not conventionally religious, he is intrigued by spirituality. He practices yoga in his free time.
If you think of this French Impressionist as your favorite artist, chances are you’re a woman approaching retirement age. Monet fans live on an average sort of income. Although they often vote Republican, they’re actually pretty liberal in their views.
The Monet fan likes Obama, reads Daily KOS, and is politically active. She spends a lot of time online staying up to date via NPR. When it comes to TV, she prefers the BBC or PBS to mainstream networks like Fox.
The typical Monet fan is traditional in her tastes, and she’s also discerning. She shops at Whole Foods, and loves cooking French and Italian dishes. On a typical evening, she’s probably enjoying a homemade quiche and watching Downton Abbey, if she’s not out at a classical concert. The CDs most likely found in the glove compartment of her Subaru are Leonard Cohen, Yo-Yo Ma, and recordings of Gershwin musicals.
The most typical fan of the secretive graffiti artist is a young guy, probably under 30. He’s a thrill seeker who parties maybe a little too much. He’ll admit that he can be lazy at times, and sometimes he thinks too highly of himself. Still, he has a successful career in an artistic industry.
The Banksy fan goes to clubs a lot. When he’s not recovering from a big night out, he’s an enthusiastic person who likes playing soccer with friends, meeting new people, and high-energy sports like hang-gliding, skiing, and surfing.
He’s a politically-minded guy who cares about human rights and staying up to date with current events. Like Banksy, though, he doesn’t always take things too seriously. He’s a big fan of The Onion, and his favorite movies include unconventional documentaries like Bowling for Columbine and An Inconvenient Truth.
People who love this Dutch Golden Age painter tend to be middle-aged men, mostly in the Southern States, with a high income and a right-wing political stance. The Rembrandt man is deeply invested in politics and what’s going on in the world. He may even be a politician, or perhaps he works for a charity.
The Rembrandt fan is someone who thinks carefully about his values. He has a religious background, and visits his place of worship regularly. He cares about supporting local businesses, and he tries to broaden his horizons by sampling food from different cultures.
Culture is important to him. He values the classics, with Vivaldi, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky counting among his favorite composers. He gets his news from The Wall Street Journal and the BBC, and he likes to relax with the latest copy of National Geographic.
The Shepherd Fairey fan is a woman in her mid-30s. She’s very left-leaning, and she works in a creative field. She’s a dog person. Although she thinks of herself as funny and alternative, she knows she can be a bit blunt and isn’t always a people person.
She’s critical of the United States. “American infrastructure has fallen behind Europe in recent years,” she thinks. She doesn’t drive an American car, probably a German make instead, or an affordable Toyota or Honda. When she’s looking for bargains at Trader Joe’s, she tries to buy fair trade products.
The Shepherd Fairey fan might be a bit anti-establishment, but she likes what Michelle Obama’s doing as First Lady (maybe the fact that Shepherd Fairey made that “Hope” Obama poster influenced this a little). She reads The Onion, because, just like Fairey, she likes finding the humor in politics.
Fans of modernist American painter Georgia O'Keefe tend to be quiet, sensitive retirement-age women who love to read. The O'Keefe fan favors female artists when it comes to her music tastes. She likes listening to Billie Holliday, Nina Simone, and Joan Baez, and she’s also a fan of Beyonce. Her favorite films star actresses like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.
The Georgia O'Keefe fan cares about LGBTQ+ rights. She reads Maya Angelou, and magazines like The Atlantic and The New Yorker. She watches a lot of TV, with current events programs like PBS News and John Oliver as some of her favorites. She also enjoys Downton Abbey and Nature.
She’s into winter sports, and loves watching figure skating. Skiing’s her top choice for staying active. She has a pet cat, and she drives a sensible Pontiac.
Odds are, if you cite the French master of conceptual art as your favorite artist, you’re a very left-wing young guy with an income under $50k. Duchamp fans are extremely socially-minded people, interested in politics and education.
Duchamp was all about criticizing the institution of art, and loved poking fun at art he saw as facile or repetitive. Similarly, the Duchamp fan thinks of himself as funny and a free-thinker, but at times this makes him seem like a know-it-all, and he can be disorganized. “I waste time on the internet at work,” he admits.
The Duchamp fan likes music that’s fun but with a serious edge: Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Run-D.M.C. He doesn’t spend much recreational time on the computer or watching TV, but instead uses most of his time off to check out new music or art openings.
All images via YouGov