Posts Tagged ‘art critic’

dali bread hat 2Whatever you’re painting style, no matter how long you’ve been a practicing artist, all kinds of people will say all kinds of things about your art.  You have to learn how to handle harsh words and reviews as part of life.  One of the traps we fall into is our seemingly endless desire to ask people what they think of our paintings, sketches…whatever.  I witnessed an artist friend showing a simple abstract painting to someone.  After viewing the painting for a time, the man said, “I think that’s a really interesting way to portray a fish.” It was a painting of a loaf of bread.

Asking people about your work is like a focus group.  Focus groups, unless they are managed and monitored very carefully, create a need for the panel to say something, even if they don’t know what they’re talking about, which is often the case. When you put people on the spot with the “What do you think? question, some kind of answer is going to spill out onto your canvas.  Why allow an external source define your art?  Art is probably the most subjective topic of all.  There are people who actually buy art that matches their couch, and you want their opinion of your artwork?  Doesn’t make any sense.  Besides, most people will never tell you what they really think about what you’ve painted.  Instead, they will generally say something they believe you want to hear or what will not offend you.  If someone is viewing your art work, let them comment on their own.

Of course you’ll also face those home-made critics who comment on everything under the sun and I’ve yet to see a statue erected to a critic.  Now, that’s not to negate the usefulness of an educated, forthright critic whom you trust and have a relationship with.  That can prove valuable to you.  But even in that situation, you must have a line you don’t cross.  What’s the line?  The line of your own ability to become overly sensitive or worse, become defensive.

Be prepared in advance when people are viewing your work, they may interpret a loaf of bread for a fish.  But you can always let them off the hook.  Stay confident in what you are creating!

A.S. Pirozzoli