The Punishing Truth of Art Critique

Haters are always there for you

Haters are always there for you

You’d hang a painting on the wall, and 30 people in a room would make comments on the painting. You couldn’t say anything while the other students were offering critique.

“I hate it.”

“It reminds me of my mom…”

“I don’t get it.”

“You could have worked on it harder.”

Ask anyone who has been through an art major or art school and they’ll probably talk for miles about the drama of critique. Usually, artists hate critique sessions. It drives deep seeds of unhappiness into artists, and it’s hard to say if it works as an educational model, but I will say that it’s an honest experience.

Critique is painful, but it is the most true-to-life moment of art school.

Once your art is done and out in the world, you can’t possibly defend every piece of criticism lodged against the work. It’s done, and you have to stand behind it, or be convinced to abandon it.

If 1000 people see the art and 200 people think it’s terrible, it’s impossible to argue and defend against 200 individual people.

You have to let it be.

A lot of people hated the paintings I made in school but I showed them anyways.

A lot of people hated the paintings I made in school but I showed them anyways.

The peace of critique is that there will always be people out there who don’t like what you do. Haters are like McDonalds - always there for you and always the same service, state after state, country after country. The sooner we accept this and move past it, probably the better.

Once when I was young, my family and I went to a swimming pool park in Florida and I made a sand sculpture of a turtle. An even younger girl, probably three years old, walked up to the turtle, looked it over for a few seconds, and ran her foot through it. I remember feeling sad for a second, and then realizing “It’s sand, it would all have washed away anyways” and “she’s a three year old, what do you expect?” and then feeling the liberation of letting it all go.

Most art disappears or gets destroyed. A lot of people hate art. A lot of people don’t get it. Do it anyways.

Related blogs:

What Makes a Helpful Art Critique