I am an art director (art lead) and am responsible for directing and adjusting all the artwork that is part of a project.
What is an Art Director?
If you do a search on content, you may find that they don't seem that different, but when you actually work on it, you'll discover how difficult it actually is. For example, a client commented that the overall background atmosphere 'looks a little blurry' and wanted it fixed. If you just look at the words, it seems like it would be an easy fix, but if you were to simply remove the filter, it makes the background look cheap. The actual issue may be a miscommunication of the atmosphere that is sought after. Any fix may affect the characters, background, and effects, so the scope of the fix must be considered and the potential cost. Schedule may also be affected. These must be discussed with section leads and dealt with in a quick manner. It is often a series of small compromises.
With the words 'direction' it sounds like you're implementing your own visual direction, but in reality you're working to implement the client's wishes and collecting section lead opinions and getting consensus on a unified vision for the game. It isn't the fault of the company or the client, but a function of game management and when you can plan and gain acceptance of your vision, it is truly satisfying.
People who have ambition. Artist are often people who have been able to turn what they 'like to do' into work. Whatever you're trying to achieve, remember that the leaders of development are always populated by people who have a desire to improve.
As our company is continually improving its in-house engine, even on the art side of things, there are opportunities to be using cutting-edge technology. Regardless of the project, getting to work with people who are always striving to improve their presentations is highly motivating.
Free. I tried to find a stereotype, but there are just too many types of people here. They have their own way of working and thinking while being receptive to other ideas. If you're passionate about something, then do it! I think it's a company that will allow it.