artist | playing with perfume | speculating on studio spaces | commenting with candles

The Ease of Online Criticism

I have burst onto the Sheffield art scene in irresistible fashion and have penetrated collective consciousness the same way a frozen shard of piss is able to penetrate a rotten lump of lettuce. Now that I’m fully immersed in my own practice I am able to destroy the boundaries of what Still Life can be with an informed approach and captivating methodology. And those who say otherwise are just embittered and washed up old relics who are nostalgic for the art of forty years ago because that’s the last time they were relevant.

Of course, this is a crass and grossly exaggerated account of my endeavours – it is grounded in a little truth, but fundamentally unfounded and overblown. It is done for effect; with the view that it will initially engage the reader and allow them to further regard my practice. It’s a tool that I utilise in order to register and sustain the interest of an established audience. Indeed, when I attach a little irreverence to the posts I write, I find my audience is able to grow. Though of course, the more people areย aware of your practice, the more subject you are to criticism.

The use of social networking makes it easier to be seen by an audience - and easy to find those that will not like what you do.

Social networking makes it easier to be seen by an audience – and easier to find those that will dislike your work.

Now, criticism is indeed very useful as it enables the artist to retain the focus of their approach, to develop professionally and to gain an informed critical analysis of their conceptual dealings. However, increasingly what I’ve found when faced with criticism is that the critique in question is irrelevant to your practice, and is in fact a product of the vanity and ego of the critic involved. Usually, self-promotion is the key instigator as to why people feel the need to provide you with critique. All they offer is insight into their own work which bares no relevance to yours.

It is very easy to criticise without actually offering any advice, insight or intelligent thought. This is especially true online, where any old sod is able to bash away at a computer and spill out a dribble of barely comprehensible words.

Anyway, over the last few weeks I’ve been documenting attempts people have made of criticising my practice. You might well be able to relate to my experiences, or at least, made aware of the type of alleged criticisms out there. Here are my findings:

  • A lot of people are bitter.
  • A lot of people are elitist snobs.
  • A lot of people have a firm idea of what ‘art’ should be, and won’t accept new directions.
  • A lot of people will simply look at your work without reading any context or conceptual grounding, yet will offer critique based entirely on face-value.
  • Those critical of your work attempt to reinforce their statements with their own approach to practice, which offers nothing except insight into their own work.
  • Those who disregard the point of your work and begin to ask questions of grandeur and subjectivity do so because, within the realm of subjectivity, they are able to always be right.
  • If you offer one piece of work for criticism, it is instantly regarded as the absolute pinnacle of your practice, and therefore evaluated as such.
  • Someone who’s critical of your approach is so because it challenges the validity of their approach.
  • It’s easy to feign intelligence by asking questions loaded with subjectivity and contradicting any answers given – but it offers nothing other than vanity and ego.
  • If your work is seen to be challenging and innovative, there will be those to feel the need to criticise you in order to defend the stoic, antiquated and irrelevant nature of their established and painfully comfortable approach.
  • There will be those who offer quotations from artists who died 50 years ago as suitable critique. Serving to highlight their disengagement with the present world.

So, if you ever find any of the above points a constant in the criticism you face, it’s probably best to just dismiss it as attention seeking, or to ignore it, or just find it amusing. And for anyone out there who finds themselves partaking in such criticism – it is time to resign yourselves to obscurity: And what I’m secretly hoping for is for those people to have only read the first paragraph of this post, before bombarding me with a crass, unfounded and overblown analysis of my endeavours.

10 responses

  1. LOL…. so true, so funny… so sad…. great post ๐Ÿ˜‰

    July 9, 2013 at 3:59 pm

  2. Rick Yasko

    Don’t be so quick to dismiss your detractors. You are just beginning your career and, as it seems with most young voices, you are railing against traditions. Though different, your work is not totally unique. Search out your influences… Josef Beuys and Eva Hesse would be a good starting point. Building on precedents is a more fertile way of broadening your voice.
    If you feel that comments are being made without justification, demand that specifics be cited, as is your right. Published comments can always be challenged.

    July 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    • Yes, though the criticism I’m referring to is the kind you find on social networking sites and the blind judgements of those with no real knowledge of what you are trying to achieve. There’s a lot of it about, and I know that it upsets and detracts people, so the purpose of this blog was to expose them and laugh in their faces, frankly ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for your advice, I’m a big fan of young Joseph Beuys and love his approach to printmaking. I am only vaguely familiar with Hesse. Might have to do a bit more research ๐Ÿ™‚

      July 13, 2013 at 8:20 pm

  3. Enjoyed reading all of that, but my favourite phrase has to be ‘frozen shard of piss’ lol and why wouldn’t it be? Ha

    July 14, 2013 at 11:13 am

  4. Rick

    Heysus Christus…. you actually are responding to comments posted on social networking sites? Really, why even bother? Try your best to have your work seen and commented on by legitimate sources and disregard most of what you read online. If you have a personal contact with a responder, or if you are asking for legitimate critique from a trusted source, that may be different…. but beware of those faceless harpies whose comments are filled with ill will and snarky cliches. Make online associations with those whose work and words you can appreciate and occasionally solicit their advice. Generally I look at a commenter’s profile (Linkedin) before joining the discussions.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:20 am

    • To be honest, the reason why I comment on social networking sites is primarily because it’s funny. It’s amazing how people get wound up just because my approach doesn’t run parellel ot theirs.

      July 16, 2013 at 8:24 am

  5. john geiser

    My approach is similar to yours and I too have a good time with social network sites , Like the one in the above comment , Really , checking linledin is not a good way to find anything about a person you can rely on. Actually they use you and your contact list in a very deceptive manor , Oh f that ,
    Similar in that I will not bend or break my stance about my art , doing so is effectively removing originality . I wont vomit any links here but you have my name and email that you can use I am on the 1st page of my name in an image search along with examples of my work . I used social networking not money for that. I would not be honest saying I don’t care about recognition , I want it. still there are many people but I am only interested in discussing my art with a small portion of them.
    Finally parallel lines become perspective, as an artist you know it as an illusion and they as matter of fact.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    • Thank you for your comment, John. I find myself agreeing with a lot of what you said. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I think that as long as you have faith and confidence in your own methods and agendas then it doesn’t really matter what other say. It is fun seeing how inexplicably wound up people get though!

      July 23, 2013 at 7:58 am

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