Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The key to healthy critique

            On Monday I wrote about how every person who is reading this blog has valuable thoughts about the images I present in Friday Critique posts. Now I'm going to discuss how a healthy, useful critique works.
            The key here is good will on the part of both the artist and the commenter. The thing is, the artist needs both feedback that says "I like thus-and-so!" and feedback that says "Thus-and-such maybe isn't working."  Something to remember about critique is that you are commenting on an object, not the person who made the object. Keeping this in mind will help in critique, because you can say you don't like something without saying I am terrible, and I can hear your thoughts without getting personally offended.
            It's ok to say, for example, "You say you think X about this bowl, but when I look at it I don't see that at all. I look at it and see Y." You can say, "You say that your 'intended message' with this sculpture is XYZ. I don't really like that message; I like the sculpture better when I think about it with the message ABC." These things are not telling me that I'm thinking about my work the 'wrong way,' but rather that you are thinking about it differently than I am. That's the point of critique, so that's a good response!
             And if you don't want to comment about what I say about my art at all, it's perfectly fine to only talk about the object rather than what I've stated as my thoughts about it. After all, most people who encounter a piece of art will only encounter the object itself; I can say whatever I want about it, but my words are not the important part, the object is.
            I do not moderate comments here, although I do read them all. I would ask you to keep this space civil; it is the online presence I create to display my work to the world. But I'm sure that all of you who are here reading are doing it because it is enjoyable! Let's keep this space friendly.


  1. I hope this post encourages and stimulates lots of useful feedback.This seems like a clear statement of how you intend to approach critique. Good luck to you.

  2. Thank you. I appreciate your comments, and I look forward to future discussions!