I truly believe that good art should cause some sort of reaction in the viewer, whether that reaction is positive or negative. I think many artists today get caught up in the 'I must please people' with my art mentality in order to feel that their work is worthy or deserved. Running an online social artist community, I see it over and over, people are scared of critique and criticism and individual exposure, to a degree. Why is that? Ok, I get that some artists aren't confident, unsure of their work or their style, but they can't live under a rock forever if they ever expect to get somewhere. I've seen some good artists who have been around for a long time buckling under the smallest amount of criticism they receive and I just don't understand that. Why are so many artists in today's society so concerned with what everyone else thinks about their work? It is frustrating to me and I sometimes just want to scream and say WAKE UP...you want to get yourself out there...yet you don't want to face the criticism! I'm sorry but you can't have your cake and eat too.
How can you expect to grow and evolve as an artist if you stick to doing the same 'safe' art all the time. I see lots of people posting images of the same thing over and over just changing the colours around...Don't you get sick of people telling you "Oh that's wonderful, nice, beautiful, etc?" I mean is that a critique? NO! Does that help you as an artist? NO! All it does is stroke your ego and make you feel all warm and fuzzy...FOR ABOUT 2 SECONDS. So if you are happy to stay in that repetitive loop then good on YOU!
Now let me tell you that there is a clear line between a critique and just being damn nasty. There are people out there who want to see you fail, who want to criticize you no matter how 'talented' you are! You must realize that the more successful and popular you become, there will always be someone out there who wants to discredit and bring you crashing down. So you better realize that and prepare yourself if you're trying to get famous or at least known.
To help further illustrate the idea of taking risks and making art which isn't safe, you only need look to my 'Power of White' Series (still a WIP.) When I created this series I wasn't concerned with how people would react. I knew I had created something worthy when the middle painting 'Forest White' was exhibited for the first time in a group show. I came back a few days later and I spoke to an art lecturer/artist who had been discussing my painting with his fellow colleagues. He proceeded to tell me that they were all so intrigued by the painting and the use of white, but he told me that he didn't think it worked! I mean how is that for being critiqued? Someone directly telling you to your face your painting doesn't work, LOL. I looked at him and said" Why doesn't it work?" He said "Too much white?" To which I laughed out loud inside. "That is the point," I said. "The white pulls focus to the strip of colour and texture in the centre. Using white makes you examine the textures and colours of the centre strip yet allowing space for your eye to 'relax' after looking at so much intense texture/colour." I then went on to say, "I believe it works for a couple of other reasons, (1) It got a group of academics talking, and (2) Have you seen anything like it?"
I did have the cocky attitude to say "some people just aren't ready for it," just like people were not ready for Van Gogh (not that I am saying I am anything in comparison, but you get my drift.) Sometimes people need time to 'open their eyes' and get exposed to the art for a period of time.Example: I had one online friend tell me over and over that he didn't like the painting, but the more he saw it and looked at it, the more he got it and eventually he liked it a lot. Completely changed his mind.
For me this series happened because I took a risk, I stepped outside my comfort zone. I knew I could either create something fantastic or something I would eventually paint over. I still believe these abstracts are the best works I have ever created and if I died tomorrow I would go happy. But I still own all three paintings even after several purchase requests and I intend to continue this series and exhibit them, hopefully in a worthy gallery at some point in my career.
So what I am trying to say is that some of you really need to get over this 'Am I worthy' mentality. You are worthy, your art is worthy if you believe in yourself. So take what people say with a grain of salt, at the end of the day if you love it then what does it matter what someone else thinks truly? Best advice, IGNORE THEM, works for me!