Thursday, April 21, 2011

Have Tea with an Artist

We all have our blah moments....... Not only creatively but personally as well. Well, for artists the personal and professional are so intertwined that creative blah generally leads a personal one!! In one of my earlier blog post I have talked about "how to get out of creative funk"...... But as I was dealing with a sense of apathy today I thought one of the best way to renergize myself is through connecting with people who are completely passionate about what they do!! That is, other artists.

Surrounding oneself with passionate people has  direct influence on psyche of another. I have noticed that after spending time with one of those neurotic, " about me" people for sometime my spirit droops and I also start to think in that negative way...... Not to talk about the headache they give!! But when I am surrounded by artists (or anyone who is completely passionate about something) I come out with a sense of excitement!!

Their passion transforms me into a better artist. I can't wait to get up in the morning and head for the easel with that residue excitement! So if you are feeling strangled, find someone who is brimming with excitement about art or life and that infectious feeling will get you bouncing! I think painting groups are a great way of inspiring one selves! I have learned more from my fellow artists than all the professors at the art school! Some artists feel that they are isolated from other artists because of their locations but at this age of social networks that is such a non issue! I have met some of the most passionate people on social netwoks than I could ever have ever imagined!!

Off to the easel for now! Have a creative week, my friends!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Criticism is Easy, Art is Difficult*

Soar, Mixed Media Painting ,6"x6" 2011
"Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing" -Aristotle

It is hard for creative people to be criticized. Most people who are artists have rice-paper thin skins and negativity can erode their confidence to shambles! I for one have a very thin skin when it comes to criticism (even though I am my worst critic)!  But when I am thinking rationally (and not crying or asking people to fuck off) it has occured to me that many criticisms are coming from people that actually want me to improve. Well, some are just jerks!

But, it is a fact that being an artist is being inevitably open to critics! When you are doing something other than being utterly ordinary, people will find faults with you, personally or professionally! And as Bertrand Russel pointed out:

‘Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves!

So, how do we actually navigate this sea of criticism?

Firstly, say nothing!I gotta admit, I very rarely take my own sane advice! I remember, in one of our Art Crit class  another student started to make scathing remarks about my art...... I should have taken a matured approach, but what I did was equally childish! I said equally nasty things about her work! It was immature and made me look petty! After all these years, I wish I was not so childish.

So, I would reccomend that you think about the criticiam and analyze where it came from. Was it made to help you or was it simply a jealous ranting? Or more often than not, some one might be having a bad day and you were caught in the cross fire!

Ooh, I think another way to deal with it is to engage the critic in a dialogue! Ask him why he made the comment that he did? And more importantly maybe also consider if it has any merit! If some one points out that your measurements of a figure is all wrong, than ask her how to improve on it! I mean, if someone is criticizing you than they must have the tools to help you! Do I make sense?

And you know what is the best way to answer a criticism? To be even more amazing! You, being an artist is exceptional anyway!You are a sensitive and a creative person and that makes you a stand out! Why not be even more amazing? Make art that blows your critics away! Make something so extraordinary that your critics will be ashamed that they ever doubted you.

You can never predict "success"! But just believe that being an artist is success in itself. And if your family criticizes you for being poor, just tell them that what you have, most don't! You have the gift of creativity! That should put your critics to place!

* Philippe Destouches