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Learn to Talk Like Adults About Your Own Artwork

Some people can’t handle criticism on their artwork on any level, but in this case it wasn’t even a critique, just an explanation of what I was looking at in their art piece, and the person blew up.

I am the founder of a large-member painting group on deviantart. A painting comes through titled “Red Lady” with no hint in the description to what I’m looking at. The piece looked like a woman being mutilated, and it’s not the first piece I’ve seen come through like that (or the worse).

I had even posted in the Founder-only comments that I felt the piece needed a mature tag because of the blood/gore, but added that a SMALL part of me felt maybe this wasn’t a gore piece.

So, I commented to the artist, explaining what i saw in their artwork and asked them if what I saw was correct.Their response was a blow up of me being wrong, they withdrew their piece, and I assume they quit the group. Because…. I insulted them? No, I told the artist what I, the viewer, saw in their piece.

Welcome to being an artist, where your shit is open to the viewer’s interpretation. It’s both a good and bad reflection upon yourself if your audience doesn’t get what you’re trying to convey. Even more so that deviantart allows you to describe more about your piece and you choose not to, simply stating you were following someone else’s painting style.

The part of me as the founder, I could care less that you behaved childishly when approached like an adult.

The part of me that has taken SEVERAL painting classes (both history and hands on learning), being taught by published professors, having been taught how to professionally take and give criticism, all resulting in a 4 year degree of Graphic Design / Studio Art…. this part of me is irritated to shit. I have been trained in painting, my degree tattooed the subject into my being.

I spoke to you as a civilized human, asking to explain if what I saw in your painting was incorrect or not, and you may as well have been a child ripping their crayon drawing off the fridge and retreating to your room.

My teacher saw a painting I did, as an extra to my required pieces for the class, and told me it was garbage and my other pieces were far better. He said he never wanted to see that piece again. He said this about my favorite of all my paintings in that class… and you know what? It took some time, but I see why he said that. But I also didn’t blow up in his face and tell him he was wrong, he wasn’t seeing my piece correctly, blah blah blah. I just looked at the pieces and questioned why he thought that. He knew my potential and knew I could do better, and shockingly he was right. Got an A in that class, too.

Artists who can’t handle a hair of constructive criticism drive me nuts, especially when no matter how you approach them they become defensive. How do you expect to better yourself? I work as a Graphic Designer, constructive criticism happens at work daily. 

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