Artists critiquing artists

As an artist, or writer, specifically, I’ve been critiqued. I’ve been critiqued when I ask for it, but more often, when I don’t ask for it. (Which isn’t to say, don’t give unsolicited critique, just keep doing you, but try not to critique unfinished work unless asked.)

Creating anything, whether it be a painting, a book, song, dance performance, anything, is always a difficult undertaking. It’s fraught with questioning self-confidence, attempts at giving up, and the imposing question of ‘will it be good enough?’ There are someone people who seem to be able to create art and never feel the negative effects of showing it to people, but I highly suspect these people are hiding something.

When a piece of work is finally finished, and shown to the world, the inevitable comments demeaning the work start almost immediately. It’s strange, because these comments tend to come from people who don’t create. They aren’t writers, they aren’t singers, or dancers, actors, musicians, etc. They haven’t made themselves vulnerable, showing the entire world what only existed inside their head. It’s one thing to be insulted, and I think we’ve all been insulted at some point or another, but it’s another thing to have something you create be insulted. Hell, look at parents. Try insulting their kid in front of the parent, see how smashingly that goes.

So it’s often confusing, or downright perplexing, when an artist demeans another artist’s works.

You are one of them! You know how it feels to create something. You know the amount of pressure you’re under when making something The amount of times you change, edit, and alter something so more people will like it, or fewer people will be offended. What are you doing, insulting other artists?

This happened to me the other day. I had a few questions about the particulars of advertising my book (keywords, audience, etc.), and instead I get a comments about the cover or the synopsis.

On one hand, they are technically about advertising. Fine. Technically correct is the best kind of correct, and all that. But I find it fascinating when the comments are closer to “Worst cover I’ve seen,” than “I like XYZ, but your cover throws me a little bit. Have you considered taking another look at it?”

Critiquing should be constructive. The good with the bad. Reinforcing what decisions you thought were good, and highlighting the ones you found questionable.

I understand there’s a culture of “The worst thing you can tell someone is ‘good job’ because they’ll never work for anything greater,” but I find that to be a bit of a cop out. I think the people who take that ‘good job’ and keep pushing are worthy artists. This isn’t to say there’s nothing helpful about the vindictive energy you get when someone rips apart the beautiful thing you created, I just think you should become an artist if you want to. Not to prove someone else wrong. Because then you define your entire life by someone else’s, and forget to live for yourself.

Since when did “Immigrant” mean “Illegal Immigrant?”

A few days ago I re-posted a painting someone did that had the words “A Nation of Immigrants” to my professional Instagram page. It’s technically correct, and not very offensive. (As a brief aside, I try to avoid anything that goes out of it’s way to offend people. Easier to make enemies, but better to make friends.)

Someone with the last name “Garcia” commented “You are illegally here. Why do you keep asking for stuff. You act so entitled.”

Allow me to break this down for a quick second.

First, she has no idea who I am. My personal and professional accounts aren’t linked. So she is assuming I’m an immigrant, and since she said “illegally here” she assumes I’m an illegal immigrant.

Second, she asks/states “Why do you keep asking for stuff.” I would like to point out the picture asks for nothing, and since this was recently after Trump’s announcement to end DACA, the only thing people were asking for was to not be dragged from their homes and sent to a country they never knew.

And of course, third, I act entitled.

So let’s find out what “entitled” means.

Entitled: believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

I’m not so sure, Garcia. Let’s break it down with your assumption that I am an illegal immigrant.

Would I think I’m inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment? Or maybe, just maybe, enough movies, tv shows, songs and books make America seem like the greatest place on Earth. The amount of propaganda, of stories from uncles and aunts who had gone to America and returned with wealth, just the vast amount of information and misinformation that floods out of this country everyday. That’s why people come here. They don’t inherently think they deserve to be American, we make them think they do.

But I am American. And I’m not some entitled idiot running around talking about how America is the greatest country on Earth.

Honestly, it’s a bit shit sometimes. We elect back asswards leaders, we seem to have a collective death wish, often times the saner, smarter voices are drowned out by bloated, fear-spouting, poor excuses for journalists on TV.

I was born here, I’m a fifth-generation American. I got so god damned lucky. White, male and American? Are you serious? This is the fucking jackpot, the one that people either awkwardly avoid or criminalize. I had no choice on how I look, or where I was born.

But since I became American by luck, why shouldn’t I try and help those who want to put in the hard work?

In a world of anonymity and online personas, we would happily take the time out of our day to accuse someone of begging and entitlement, in order to degrade them. What does this say about our America?

My post was mostly an attempt to spread someone’s work, and promote the idea of love and acceptance. Someone felt the need to speak against that.

If you stand against love and acceptance, I don’t have to wonder if I’m fighting for the right side.