I have burst onto the Sheffield art scene in irresistible fashion and have penetrated collective consciousness the same way a frozen shard of piss is able to penetrate a rotten lump of lettuce. Now that I’m fully immersed in my own practice I am able to destroy the boundaries of what Still Life can be with an informed approach and captivating methodology. And those who say otherwise are just embittered and washed up old relics who are nostalgic for the art of forty years ago because that’s the last time they were relevant.
Of course, this is a crass and grossly exaggerated account of my endeavours – it is grounded in a little truth, but fundamentally unfounded and overblown. It is done for effect; with the view that it will initially engage the reader and allow them to further regard my practice. It’s a tool that I utilise in order to register and sustain the interest of an established audience. Indeed, when I attach a little irreverence to the posts I write, I find my audience is able to grow. Though of course, the more people are aware of your practice, the more subject you are to criticism.
Social networking makes it easier to be seen by an audience – and easier to find those that will dislike your work.
Now, criticism is indeed very useful as it enables the artist to retain the focus of their approach, to develop professionally and to gain an informed critical analysis of their conceptual dealings. However, increasingly what I’ve found when faced with criticism is that the critique in question is irrelevant to your practice, and is in fact a product of the vanity and ego of the critic involved. Usually, self-promotion is the key instigator as to why people feel the need to provide you with critique. All they offer is insight into their own work which bares no relevance to yours.
It is very easy to criticise without actually offering any advice, insight or intelligent thought. This is especially true online, where any old sod is able to bash away at a computer and spill out a dribble of barely comprehensible words.
Anyway, over the last few weeks I’ve been documenting attempts people have made of criticising my practice. You might well be able to relate to my experiences, or at least, made aware of the type of alleged criticisms out there. Here are my findings:
A lot of people are bitter.
A lot of people are elitist snobs.
A lot of people have a firm idea of what ‘art’ should be, and won’t accept new directions.
A lot of people will simply look at your work without reading any context or conceptual grounding, yet will offer critique based entirely on face-value.
Those critical of your work attempt to reinforce their statements with their own approach to practice, which offers nothing except insight into their own work.
Those who disregard the point of your work and begin to ask questions of grandeur and subjectivity do so because, within the realm of subjectivity, they are able to always be right.
If you offer one piece of work for criticism, it is instantly regarded as the absolute pinnacle of your practice, and therefore evaluated as such.
Someone who’s critical of your approach is so because it challenges the validity of their approach.
It’s easy to feign intelligence by asking questions loaded with subjectivity and contradicting any answers given – but it offers nothing other than vanity and ego.
If your work is seen to be challenging and innovative, there will be those to feel the need to criticise you in order to defend the stoic, antiquated and irrelevant nature of their established and painfully comfortable approach.
There will be those who offer quotations from artists who died 50 years ago as suitable critique. Serving to highlight their disengagement with the present world.
So, if you ever find any of the above points a constant in the criticism you face, it’s probably best to just dismiss it as attention seeking, or to ignore it, or just find it amusing. And for anyone out there who finds themselves partaking in such criticism – it is time to resign yourselves to obscurity: And what I’m secretly hoping for is for those people to have only read the first paragraph of this post, before bombarding me with a crass, unfounded and overblown analysis of my endeavours.