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WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY LATEST PAINTING?

It’s something that younger artists tend to do.

Older artists know better. More on that in a moment.

You look on social media and there it is … an artist has posted a photo of their latest creation and sure enough, beneath the photo it reads …

“What do you think of my latest painting?”

Okay, let’s break this down.

First off, anyone with half-a-brain knows that whatever you post on social media exists for consideration, criticism, consumption and sometimes, crucifixion. It’s a dangerous game.

And yet somehow, after posting something so personal and meaningful to us, we’re expecting the often cruel world of the public domain to welcome us with a standing ovation. Yes, you know it’s true. Be honest. We want to hear them shout out …

“OH MY GOD! YOU’RE A GENIUS!” “THE NEW PICASSO!” “BRAVO! BRAVO!”

It’s the stuff that fantasies are made of. Can you imagine what the world would look like if we were punished for fantasizing? We would’ve had Armageddon centuries ago.

Anyway, I’m writing this because it happened just the other day. This young artist posted a nice photo of his work and yes, he actually asked this question …

“What do you think of my latest painting?”

Look … at this point, it doesn’t even matter whether the work is genius or horrid. This young artist had just opened himself up to either great praise or something akin to murder by social media.

When you ask someone what they think about your work, you’re trying to get insight from another point of view. This is perfectly acceptable and human. It’s part of the creative process. It’s totally understandable. You did all of this work and now you want the payoff … the sense of satisfaction that comes with knowing that your work wasn’t only seen, but appreciated.

However, it’s also a cry for acceptance. You know this is true.

When you ask someone what they think of your work, can’t you just see the little boy or girl in you asking your parents what they think about your new crayola drawing?

It’s sweet and innocent. Your parents or guardians hopefully encouraged your efforts no matter how horrid the work may or may not have been. That’s what decent people do.

But that’s not what the world does.

I’ve seen many things on social media that get thousands of likes, but haven’t we also seen things that are pure duds?  I mean, they stink to high heaven.

This is really all about the people who leave comments. I mean, doesn’t it take more energy to leave a negative comment as compared to a positive one?  Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t want to put negative energy out into cyberspace. It feels unnatural and weird.

But I digress.

It’s one thing to create art and present it in an exhibition, but it’s quite another to create it, post it and then ask people what they think about it. Most older creative types don’t usually ask people what they think about their work because they simply don’t require that kind of validation anymore.

This is how I feel about my writing. By the time people are commenting – negatively or positively – about something I’ve written, I’ve LONG moved on to other things. You’re reading this now, but I can assure you that I’ve written numerous other things by the time you’re reading this.

As you mature and evolve, what other people think about your work matters less and less. Of course, you want people to appreciate the work, but it’s no longer a life or death matter for you. You spoke your truth and you’ve moved on. You've grown your very own interior source of self esteem.

By the way, speaking your truth and moving on doesn’t mean you have to be snarky or defiantly independent. Actually, it’s just the opposite. It means that you’ve come to terms with your role as a vessel.

At this point in life, the work is all about inspiration and the humility necessary to keep that inspiration flowing through you. This is what really creates the work.

The work will stand regardless of what anyone thinks. It is what it is. Like it or not.

“What do you think of my latest painting?”

What I think is … you’re still wearing Pampers, but take heart. You’ll grow out of ‘em.

We all do.

 

 

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