Deflect Negative Criticism

Whenever negativity about my art comes my way, I disarm it with this five-point combination of mental moves. I remind myself that:

  • It’s a lot easier to judge than to actually enter the arena and compete. Always give yourself credit for suiting up and showing up. It takes a lot of guts—a quality that’s much more rare than opinions.
  • The critic may be unaware of who you are, where you are and where you’re going. He or she may be commenting on a fixed point, reducing it to a tiny blip on his or her radar screen of particular prejudices.
  • Art isn’t immune to the fickle, shifting currents of fashion. Consider van Gogh: He sold only one painting while he was alive and is now considered an artistic genius.
  • Everyone has an opinion about art, but few people have a qualified opinion about art. Your opinion is what matters most.
  • Ultimately you produce art because life is richer for it. Any wealth or acclaim that comes with it is great, but it may not come. Either way, it could have nothing to do with the quality of your work.

Jane Jones shows her work in galleries and museums nationwide and her work has won awards in numerous national competitions. She has taught art and art history at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colorado, for 12 years.

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