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Everyone's A Critic

My studio is located in a building that is open to the public and our studio doors are open at all times to graciously welcome the masses into our personal spaces. I also show my work on the walls of a very popular restaurant that I work at. These are the places I have direct contact with those viewing my work. I have found that in following the path of my heart working as an artist, that my work is not always "understandable" to others or viewed the way I wish it to be. The response can go something like this: "I don't get it."

I recently worked on a new collection of paintings for a show at a new gallery. I was most pleased with two paintings in particular, both of which were not chosen by the gallery director for the show. It was hard not to feel upset by this "rejection" but I decided to take one of the paintings to the restaurant I work at and hang it there. Within an hour of hanging it, a customer came to me to tell me that it was his most favorite piece I have ever displayed, and then inquired about the price. This kind of thing happens all the time in the art world. The problem we face is that it is so difficult for artists to separate ourselves from our art because of the deep emotional connection we have to our work. The drive of an artist is to do work that is an expression of our view of the world and every piece contains a bit of our soul. (I'm always in search of peace...) Learning to handle criticism, whether solicited or not, is a part of every artist's life. I can't say you get used to it, but perhaps you begin to handle it more gracefully over time and try to remember that a response, negative or positive, is so much better than no response at all! It means you have done your job as an artist!

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