Wednesday, September 23, 2009

World Renowned Critic!

Do you know who that is? That is the world-renowned critic, who in kindergarten class glued those colorful paper chains together better than anybody else! You should be flattered and honored that your work was graced with their review! After all, their critiques have littered the air for years upon years, running everyone over they deem is in desperate need of their insightful commentary! Whoo-hoo! You lucky person!

Now, go and call all your friends to announce that FINALLY you have seen the light and can go on to do things the ‘right’ way, which, of course, is the critics’ way. And don’t forget, read all their reviews in ‘The Nightly Gazette’ which can be found in restrooms everywhere. You can find it on that little scroll of paper you wipe your butt with, then flush it out with the rest of the crap.

Why is it so much easier to believe the bad stuff then the good? So often, I hear artists report insulting comments and disrespectful handling of their work by viewers. There is a lot to be said for good manners. The poisonous darts that spew from their mouths target you and begins to infiltrate your system. Do they truly know what they are doing? I don’t think so. They are blind to how their actions affect others or don’t care. When they leave, they are not going to be thinking about you. So, why should you waste your time thinking about them? They are ignorant or just plain jerks.

Or, you might have inadvertently, ‘walked into something’. No matter what you do to remove the mess, it sticks to you. You try to shake it off. That doesn’t work. You try dragging your foot sideways back and forth about a few feet in each direction. No good. You scrape the bottom of your shoe against the side of the curb; but, it’s still there! Okay, desperate times call for desperate measures. Now you’re searching all over the place for a stick to free yourself from this disgust. However, out of all times, you can’t seem to find any! Or, if you do find one, it breaks from the force of clearing everything out from in between the cracks. And, there’s still some left behind! ARRGGHHH! The madness of it all!

Instead of turning yourself into a 3-ring circus, decide now how you will handle it. Many years ago, while attending an art studio in SoHo, NY, I observed a gallery owner who, excellently, managed an insulting customer. This customer happened to also be an artist but was not showing anywhere. He was crudely degrading another artist’s work. The owner overhead this; and, instead of allowing him to continue, he gingerly walked over and asked if he could be of service. Of course, the customer declined. Then, the owner motioned toward the painting at hand and commented on the expertise of the artist’s skill. The customer was fast to ‘enlighten’ the gallery owner about what he perceived was wrong with it and share, in a condescending manner, what he ‘thought’ he knew so well. As each derogatory comment was made, the owner, very calmly, counterpointed his attacks with a brief, educational statement. By doing this, he made everyone aware that he was very well informed about what he was talking about and that the customer was, in fact, not. The customer became quiet and eventually left the gallery.

Or, you might choose to ignore them, altogether. Act very happy, as if you never heard them. That alone can drive people nuts. Happiness is the best revenge. They don’t get why you’re so happy when they are doing everything possible to make your life miserable. Yes, their attitude stinks worse then rotten fish and the smelliest cheese put together. However, this is not your burden to bear. You can only control how you respond to the situation.  You are responsible for your thoughts and actions; and, they are responsible for theirs.  Most often then not, they will not change until they are good and ready, which may be never. Not everyone is spiritually or emotionally mature.  But, that doesn't mean you have to suffer because of them.  That choice is yours.

In any case, guard yourselves against The Walking Toxins of the World. When this happens to you, which at some point, it will, if it hasn’t already, know how you will handle it and move on. A lot of times, we can be caught off guard, which makes us vulnerable to these attacks. Knowing what you will do will prepare you on how to proceed when that time comes. Do not allow your thoughts to linger or dwell on it. Don’t continuously replay it over and over and over again in your head or repeat the story to whomever will listen again and again because these actions only reinforce the negative mindset they were trying to plant in you to begin with. Then, those thoughts will begin to take root stronger. Remember, practice makes perfect. Keep repeating something over and over again, it gets stronger and stronger. Get rid of it. Let it go. Release it.

When all is said and done, it’s better to file it here:

Yes, people, file it in the garbage where it belongs. So, the next time you see your garbage men, thank them because they’re the ones who end of removing all the trash that stinks up your life and can bring pests to your home that can cause unthinkable damage.

And go buy yourself a funky new pair of shoes, while you’re at it!

Remember, you can't necessarily help feeling slighted; but, you can choose to do something about it. You don't have to carry that feeling around with you all day.



Great write. You should submit it to an art magazine

Mrs. Art Doll Maker said...

Wow, thank you so much! Since it was already posted on my blog, I didn't think a mag would be interested. Usually, when I get an idea, I want to get it out there right away!

Thank you also for leaving a comment. I always appreciate the feedback from my visitors.

JKW said...

Wow, Walking Toxins of the World. . . I definitely will remember that one. . . remember on the WAD one of the teachers told us that some of the dolls in the competition didn't measure up? We sort of jumped her on that one.. .. you are so right on with this post. After taking classes from other doll people, they encourage only. Thank you I believe this may help others see how the world may not think like we do and to not accept down-spouts. Blessings, Janet

Mrs. Art Doll Maker said...

I forgot about that! You had me rolling after I recalled what transpired. I do remember everyone jumping at that one and was actually very proud that people took a stand and spoke up about what bothered them.

Thank you for visiting again.

inez said...

This is very well said. The only thing I might add is: the same sentiments are true of judges. So getting turned down for a juried show is not an indication of your art's worth. It merely indicates that it was the judges "dish of tea" so to speak. It shouldn't keep one from trying.

Mrs. Art Doll Maker said...

Very true, Inez. I recall a doll maker who entered his work into one of the exclusive doll organizations, only to feel torn apart by the judges. Although he vowed never to return to that particular one again, he went on to find other forums where his work was well received. He further indicated that, at the time, he was under the impression the only way his work would get recognized was if he was a part of this group, which wasn't the case.

The venue he was referring to deals more with traditional looking dolls, not edgy, different, unusual-looking, and innovative ones, which his was.

Thank you for commenting!

DianneSahakian Dolls, Minidolls, Crafts said...

I feel if you ask for an honest criticsm and someone gives it to you on ways to improve your work its great. Now if someone is at a show just trying to bash up your work is entirely different. You could always say show me a doll that you make like this that looks better than what I do.I know what someone doesn't like of anyone's work someone else will.

Mrs. Art Doll Maker said...

Hi Dianne, I would love to see what doll they would bring back! That would certainly turn the tables. Wouldn’t it?

There have been people I’ve been appalled at for roughly handling someone's work and even throwing it down on the table it came from. Very disrespectful.

Also, I find it inconsiderate for someone to just offer any type of criticism, constructive included, when it wasn’t asked for, unless it is in an open forum where it is automatically welcomed or expected, like a club, classroom, or even a blog. It’s like stripping your bathing suit off at a beach when you not at a nude beach. “Excuse me?! No, you just didn’t!”

Thank you for stopping by and posting a comment! I love to hear everyone's insights. It builds on the blog post and on what we each have to offer.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Well said! We all suffer from thin skins sometimes and need to develop ways to defuse our feelings of hurt and worthlessness when our work is criticized in a insensitive way. Thanks for saying it so well!

Mrs. Art Doll Maker said...

What a great name...Magpie's Mumblings.

Thank you for your comments and for visiting my blog!

Amy Crawley said...

I love that phrase "Walking Toxins of the World." Early in my art career, I remember feelings of hurt and worthlessness if someone didn't like my art. I grew up wanting to please people, so any form of rejection was hurtful.

Over the years, I've learned to develop a thicker skin, but, more importantly, to accept that a)my work does not appeal to everyone, b)that someone's negative comments are not directed at me personally, and c)a great response to someone is "Well, its not for everyone." On that there is usually mutual agreement!

As artists, we are exposing part of our deepest, inner self when we create and to receive criticism can be devastating. Some critique better than others. Some just like to spew their apparent "knowledge" (like your gallery/customer example.) Kudos to that gallery owner for how s/he handled the situation.

As artists we need to have a supportive community that can help us weather the walking toxins. And always remember, it isn't about you!

P.S: Liked this post so much I'm going to share it on Twitter!

Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

What an enjoyable post about toxic critics. I know that I tend to be thin-skinned when it comes to my creative projects. I giggled when reading this ... what great clip-art to illustrate it too.

Mrs. Art Doll Maker said...

Thank you for stopping by, Tami, and leaving a comment! I'm glad it made you laugh. I always like to get a giggle or two out of someone when I can. : )

Mrs. Art Doll Maker said...

Thanks, Amy, for that! How wonderful!

Your comments were beautifully stated.

I like that suggestion about saying, "Well, its not for everyone." Someone else in one of my clubs also suggested to say, "Is that so?" and fan themsevlf with something as you're saying it!

A negative or crude comment is a direction reflection about the person making it and where their heart is. It's not about the person they are commenting on. What's in the heart will be spoken out of the mouth and will show to everyone what type of individual they are.

Connie said...


Mrs. Art Doll Maker said...

Thank you for stopping by, Connie! I always appreciate my visitors!

Sunny in CA said...

Wow! Great post on Critic! Ran into these a lot! Thank you!

Mrs. Art Doll Maker said...

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, Sunny!