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Criticizing Art: Creativity Over Cruelty

Updated: Mar 13


In this blog post, I wanted to discuss and explore why criticizing artwork in a negative and hurtful manner is not only pointless, but counterproductive to fostering a nurturing and supportive artistic community.



Art is a subjective and deeply personal expression, reflecting the diverse perspectives and emotions of its creators. While constructive criticism can contribute to an artist's growth, the act of criticizing others' artwork solely for the purpose of belittling or demeaning reveals more about the critic's cruel tendencies than any genuine concern for artistic improvement.


I am often the one reading comments on controversial post on social media and just sitting in shock. It can be malicious. I am just stunned at what people are willing to say on the internet.


Subjectivity in Art:

Art is subjective by nature, and what resonates with one person may not with another. The diversity in artistic styles and preferences is what makes the creative world vibrant and dynamic. Criticizing art from a perspective that assumes a single, objective standard undermines the very essence of artistic expression. How can anyone decide how you are supposed to feel about an artwork, a color, a subject matter, or design. It is that artist's own expression.


Constructive Criticism:

Constructive criticism, aimed at providing helpful feedback and encouraging growth, can be a powerful tool for artists. However, there is a fine line between constructive criticism and outright cruelty. Pointing out flaws or areas for improvement should be done with sensitivity and respect, fostering an environment where artists feel motivated to enhance their skills rather than being demoralized. I have seen some absolutely demoralizing comments only made because the are defending their artwork, or vise versa, tearing someone's artwork to shreds. There is a limit to these actions on both ends, & I think it has been crossed, all too often.


In the age of digital uploading, the art community has not been spared from the shadows of online cruelty. Recently a painting video is going viral on instagram because of the obscene amount of hate comments, and hate responses to defend the poor girl. Simply a young girl who found herself subjected to cyberbullying after sharing her deeply personal oil painting—a self-portrait capturing the joyous moment of her wedding. Her experience serves as a poignant reminder of the need for empathy and kindness in the online art realm.


The Impact on Mental Health:

Artists invest their time, emotions, and creativity into their work, making it a deeply personal endeavor. Harsh and derogatory comments can have a severe impact on an artist's mental health, leading to self-doubt, anxiety, and a decline in creativity. It can truly kill their artistic spirit. Encouragement and support, on the other hand, contribute positively to an artist's well-being and productivity. Being on the correct end of positive criticism is key. But where do the boundaries lie?


A new artist with a passion for oil painting, she poured her heart and soul into a piece that depicted her and her husband in a wedding scene. The painting showcased intricate details, vibrant colors, and a palpable sense of happiness, but the proportions were a bit off, and the skill of painting was lacking because she is a new artist. For her, it was not just a piece of art; it was a celebration of self-love and she was receiving so much online HATE for it just because she shared it... It all turned into an ordeal of self-doubt and emotional distress.


Encouraging a Supportive Community:

Rather than engaging in negative criticism, let's focus on building a supportive and encouraging artistic community. Celebrating the diversity in styles and techniques creates an environment where artists feel safe to experiment, take risks, and grow without the fear of harsh judgment. I love experimenting with different kinds of art. It is a true aspect to being an artist, to want to create new things, to want to try new techniques, and mediums. but this truly means you will not be an expert at first, and instead of trying to tell that person to "give up, that looks horrible" they need to say things like "keep going, it will get better"... A culture of kindness and understanding promotes a more enriching creative experience for everyone involved. Exactly what we all need, support, not harsh comments and cruel critiques.


Reflection:

Art is an extension of the artist's thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Criticizing someone's artwork in a cruel manner reflects poorly on the critic, and also speaks volumes about their inability to appreciate the diversity that makes up the word. The world, and the world of art is so vibrant and diverse, why deny it?. Embracing different perspectives and learning from one another ultimately contributes to a richer self. By criticizing someone's artwork you are only criticizing your own character, and setting yourself up for poor acceptance of things you can not changes.


My Conclusion:

In the realm of art, fostering a culture of kindness and understanding is paramount. Criticism, when delivered constructively, can be a catalyst for growth and improvement. However, outright cruelty only serves to diminish the spirit of creativity and discourage artists from sharing their unique visions with the world. I am a prime example of an artist who has been scared to show work for years, for fear of negativity, or hate. In a cruel world like today, I don't know if I'll ever feel confident or comfortable sharing my artwork with the public. Anywho, all I can do is hope it gets better, maybe people will start to care about others more, and think before they talk or type purely to tear someone or their artwork down.


Here is a reminder that behind every piece of art is an artist with feelings, dreams, and vulnerabilities. The online art community should be a space for encouragement, inspiration, and constructive criticism. Cyberbullying not only stifles creativity but also inflicts real emotional harm on individuals who dare to share their authentic selves through art.


Let us celebrate the absolute beauty in diversity, encourage one another, and build a community where creativity thrives in a supportive atmosphere. Thanks for reading.

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