|My view of Art Critics|
A few months ago, Greeting Card Universe announced a ‘raising of the bar’ that would entail the reviewers trawling through all the 500,000 cards on the website, weeding out those that were considered to fall short of their ‘marketability’ standards.
Hard as this was for some of us to swallow, they were well within their rights to do this.
The administration expressed their awareness that this would cause upset among the artists and sure enough, a great wailing and gnashing of teeth soon followed.
But quite quickly this was followed by other artists’ voices, attempting to pacify those who were panicking, assuring them that this new move was in fact for our benefit, that it would help us to ‘improve’ and that the new, higher standard expected of us would bring us more sales. So the protests subsided – for a while!
Once the ‘cull’ got underway, however, more angry and upset artists posted their woes on the forum. Again, others tried to assuage their anger with the same old story – it’s good for us, it’s the only way we will learn to create good designs, we should all be approaching this new move positively – ‘take your medicine and be grateful’.
But what these oh so positive people failed to understand is that we are not all alike, as people or as artists. What may encourage some, will discourage others, possibly terminally!
For instance, I’ve just been asked to remove the ‘trash can’ from this photo -
|Spot the Trash Can!|
The truth is that I tend to be a ‘broad brush’, ‘general effect’ type of person in many aspects of life. I don’t pay a lot of attention to detail and I was probably so enthralled by the overall impression of the snow in our local park that I didn’t even notice the litter bin. So, on this occasion, far from being upset, I was actually quite glad of this ‘critique’.
But there are others, some of them still ‘embryonic’ artists, certainly younger and less confident than I am, artists who are constantly plagued by the voice of their Inner Critic, probably already burdened by perfectionism. And for them , the prospect of an Outer as well as an Inner Critic is disastrous. Some of the outpourings on the forum and closure of ‘stores’ demonstrate that for some it’s intolerable.
“Perfectionism cuts the nerve of effort” Amy Harris.
And it can be the enemy of creativity too, according to this well researched article from the ‘Artists Who Thrive’ website.
Clearly we don’t all learn from the criticism of others and being asked to raise one’s standards to a rather loosely defined standard of ‘professionalism’ and ‘marketability’, definitely is not helpful to all.
On the other hand we do want to sell our art.
So maybe the solution for anyone in this situation is to keep reminding themselves that while one person may reject your work, there is likely to be someone else who will absolutely love it! 'One man's meat is another man's poison.' Maybe the market you are in is not the right one for you? Perhaps spending time finding other outlets for your work will be better use of your time and effort than trying to produce work that will please the wrong market?
But whatever you do, don’t stop creating!
Doodle, explore a different medium, try any - or all - of these 6 Tips for getting past ‘Creative Block’ –
Create without judgement, simply for the joy of creating, treat your creating time as play time, with the curiosity of a child and no particular goal in mind.
And here’s a special tip for any greeting card designer who is ‘stuck’. When you’ve used the 6 Tips above to turn down the volume of that destructive Inner Critic, create cards for your friends and relative, those you can be sure will appreciate your work.
By the time you’ve done all that, you’ll probably be ready to face those Outer Critics with a far more relaxed attitude and pick and choose whether their criticism is helpful or not!
Do you respond best to 'carrot' or 'stick'?