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


  1. Gosh, Ishita. It sounds like someone has been taking pot shots at you. How dare they?! Your work is WONDERFUL! Whether you are working in mixed media or pastel or whatever, your pieces stand out as BEAUTIFUL WORKS OF ART! You are ALWAYS making work that is extraordinary! In the sea of criticism, just keep paddling! :-) ~Joan

  2. Lol!!! No Joan, not at me. For a change!!It is just the way it is when you are an artist! Or an actor, writer or any creative person! I am lucky that I have people like you in my life who are supportive......But every show I don't get in I perceive as a criticism. Or I did, till I decided to change my views. And as for other artists criticizing my work, well they must have clear criticism then!You cannot point your finger to someone if you are not giving them a hand!

  3. do you sell your artwork, its realy good.

  4. Of course I do! And thank you!