How to Handle Criticism of Your Art


“When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine.”

― Pablo Picasso

Creating canvas art opens your world to others. Your work reflects how you feel, what moves you, what inspires you, what experiences you hold dear or not, and more. It’s opening up yourself to the world, and you should be prepared what the world will give back to you.

In the art world, people will say all kinds of things about your work. Some are great, some not so. Especially now that everything’s online, some anonymous person could just give negative criticism to your masterpieces and it can be annoying. These criticisms may even dampen your spirits in continuing your art. But, it shouldn’t be so.

Here are some ideas on how to handle your critics:

1. Don’t react right away. If someone criticizes your artwork, your automatic response would be to attack back. You get angry, defensive, or disturbed when you get criticism and you’ll have the urge to reply instantly. Don’t. Take a few (or more) deep breaths  and read again the comment (if the criticism is done online), or cool down first before saying your reply in person.

2. Ask some questions first. Questions like, Who is this critic? Do you know them? Are they qualified to judge your work? Are they potential buyers? Are they esteemed members of the art community? Or, are they just blabbermouths? See who are criticizing your art and get a little perspective on how they came about the criticism. Even if your critic is not qualified to judge your work, you  still have to consider what they say. If one of your goals is to get wider exposure, then selecting just a few “qualified” critics will not help you reach that goal.

3. Remember that criticism is not always about you. Keeping this in mind will help you become level-headed whenever someone criticizes your art. There are feedbacks which may even help you become better at your craft, so don’t get defensive right away. You can just think that your critic is having a bad day that’s why he overreacted in his comment to your art.

4. Think about the bigger picture. Don’t snap back every single time someone contradicts your work. Get something positive from this negative. Listen to these criticisms and over time, you will figure out a general response of the public to your art. You will see similarities on how people take your art and you’ll learn how to present yourself and your art to everyone’s advantage.

5. The real question to ask is what YOU think about your art. At the end of the day, it’s your work so the criticism worth listening to is yours. What really count are your determination, creativity, and commitment to your art.

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