Why You Should Be Open To Constructive Criticism Of Your Art
For anybody involved in the arts, our work is our baby. But we’re not always ready nor willing to hear feedback from others about our work, particularly if its in some way negative. We have to stop kidding ourselves: we’re not scared about what will happen to our project, but how it will affect us personally. Criticism is inevitable, but it is important we learn to embrace it, in order to develop and improve as artists.
Here is why:
It makes your product stronger
You have to accept the facts: you are your own business. Whether it’s singing, writing, designing, acting, or any area of the arts, the only way to make a living out of what you love is to sell it. But how will you ever be a successful “merchant” if you don’t know what the public wants?
It’s not about giving in to demand – this will most likely harm your creative originality – but it’s more to do with understanding your target audience and taking everything into consideration. Is it uncomfortable? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.
If you already had a target audience in mind, but your product isn’t doing as well in that demographic, it’s worth stepping back and realising that unless you want to change your consumer altogether, you will need to adapt your product, and the best way to do this is to listen to their likes/dislikes.
Look at current trends, ask strangers to “evaluate” your work, and most importantly, don’t take it personally. Art is subjective, and you can’t please everybody.
It gives you a new perspective
It’s easy to think that your way is the best way, but this is only because it’s the only way you’ve come up with. But two heads think better than one, and you never know what great things can come from listening to others’ opinions.
You might understand the intricacies of your work, but might not express them in a way for others to understand it too. Showing your work to others is terrifying, but it’s the best way to better your art. The input of others, especially if its people you trust will give an honest opinion (and not what they think you want to hear), will drastically change your work for the better.
Maybe they will have ideas you hadn’t thought about before, or maybe they will pitch things that will inspire you, helping to go back and ameliorate your work, making the final product one that you know will reach not only people who might think exactly like you, but different minds. And that’s what you’re trying to aim for: a larger market, and also, a more rounded piece of work.
If it’s useful, listen to it.
Because they may be right.
There is a difference between a critique and a criticism, and it boils down to the value of opinion. A critique points out what you did wrong, but a (positive) criticism tells you how to fix it. There’s no value in a person commenting on your work unless they suggest how to make it better, or unless they give specifics as to why they didn’t like it.
Some people get a kick from bringing others down, and they are those who are not worth listening to. If, on the other hand, somebody tells you what they don’t like about your work, but suggest ways to improve, it’s worth your time: they care enough to make your product the best it can be.
They are not there to demotivate you or bring you down, but the opposite: they believe that what you are doing has potential, and want to help you achieve it. You don’t have to listen to their suggestions; at the end of the day it all boils down to what you want. If you are not 100% proud and confident of your work, it will show, and this might discourage you from doing it again, but it is important that you are open to new ideas.
“Remember, haters gonna hate, but even they sometimes hate for reasons worth considering.”
Inspiring Interns is a recruitment agency specialising in all the internships and graduate jobs London has to offer. Xiomara Meyer is a drama and creative writing graduate with an interest in psychology and the slightly bizarre. Samples of her prose can be found here