Self-portrait on paper by Therese Livonne

How to Handle Criticism About Your Art as an Up-And-Coming Artist

Aliyah Lashley January 04 2023

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Have you received some criticism about your art that just shattered you? That made you look at yourself and say, “Where did I go wrong?” Here are a few tips to help you deal with criticism from the art community.

The fact that you received criticism only means that someone shared their opinion about your original art. That’s not the end of the world; it’s something to celebrate since your work is getting seen.

It’s always hard receiving criticism, especially if you’re a budding artist. You’ve devoted so much time and effort to creating beautiful artwork. To see it misunderstood or discarded on Instagram or TikTok is heartbreaking. But what if it doesn’t have to be? By taking the time to read the comments, you might find that you actually agree with some points that were made. If you use that criticism to improve, it will help push you forward personally and professionally. Here are some points I’ve put together that can help you if you’re dealing with negative criticism.

Constructive or Destructive?

Remember, constructive criticism is supposed to offer suggestions for improvement. You should see it as an opportunity to get helpful feedback. Don’t try to defend yourself or make excuses. Try and process the input before you do anything else.

If you don’t like what was said, don’t respond in anger because it looks unprofessional and doesn’t help you learn anything. Listen and pay attention to what the person has to say so you won’t have any misunderstandings. If it still confuses you, ask the person involved whether they can elaborate on the statement. If the criticism you received is unexpected, you may need more time to think about what it means. Even when criticism appears to be negative, there might be some truth to it.

If the criticism is said to mainly hurt, anger or undermine you, that is destructive criticism. Do not pay attention to it. If it’s too much for you, just take the time to process it. If it hurts you, do an activity that helps calm you down. If it’s still not helpful, then leave and walk away.

Don’t take it personally

Regardless of how educated you are in art, there's always room to learn more. Think about constructive criticism as a learning experience and a means to find where you can improve. While you may see your work as an extension of yourself, please remember that criticisms about your original artwork don't reflect who you are as an artist and a person; constructive criticism is typically about your work, not your personality.

Be kind to yourself

Don’t beat yourself up. You didn’t do anything wrong. If you criticize yourself, you will begin to believe that you are not capable of doing great things. Instead of focusing on the negative, widen your perspective and look for the positive; giving yourself praise makes it easier to make changes and focus on your art in the future.

Reach out

Speaking to people in the art community can add perspective to online criticism. Whether it’s artists at Bidgala, artists on social media, students from an art class, or just anybody who has shared a similar experience as you, asking a peer for their opinion or finding a person to vent about critics can improve how you receive feedback.

There you have it. I hope these tips were helpful. Don’t get discouraged, keep on creating!

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