Whether it’s by a comment, an email, or word of mouth that you receive feedback of your art, there is no way during your journey as an artist that you’ll escape the inevitable – criticism.
My earliest memory of receiving ‘criticism’ was in the back of a studio, where the senior editor of a news broadcaster blasted a few “fucks” and “fuckings” at the sight of my horribly done research. I embraced every thing she said even the fuck’s and fucking’s and cemented in my mind never to do lazy work again.
Fast-forward to a year later where a magazine editor and myself reviewed my final draft and have it completely rewritten before my eyes in less than 20 minutes. I kid you not; I spent three weeks of obsessing, researching and rewriting my 600-worded-piece-of-art. I was crushed to see it dwindle and replaced by the words and views of someone else.
Here I am a few more fuck’s, fucking’s, deep sighs and tears later thinking that I have surpassed criticism, and actually believing for a while that I will never face it again. If you understand what it’s like to be a Type A personality you’ll know very well that perfection is one of the top priorities.
When I first ventured into a new creative outlet, photography, it reminded me how it’s like to be the rookie at something. To be the “new girl”. The expectations are low and the attention is high, everyone waiting… for that first oops to happen. Four years into photography I can confidently say that no matter how far you get, better, smarter, wiser, fucking stronger, you’ll always come across criticism.
It occurred to me that criticism doesn’t automatically put you in the wrong. People will have opinions and it won’t always be what you want it to be, after all they’re entitled to having an opinion.
When the controversial movie Django Unchained had been released people took to social media to criticise director Quentin Tarantino. So many people were upset and angry about certain themes of the movie such as the violence. When questioned on how he feels about some of the negative feedback, Taratino expressed optimism that the movie created dialogue. Django Unchained has been ranked as one of the top movies of 2012.
As Kanye says, “…everyone is going to say something, I’d be worried if they said nothing”, criticism to me at least, is an indication that you actually doing something right. If you’re doing something mediocre you’re most likely to hear crickets – nada. As a creative you should be happy when there’s dialogue around the work you do and the art you put out.
Concluding, criticism isn’t as bad as most people believe – it’s really about perspective.