I’ve gone a little off piste over the last couple of days and become obsessed by methods and the various different views of how to give and receive criticism.
Fired up by reading an article from the University Of Colorado Boulder called Evaluating Art: The Principles of Critique I’ve started to put together my own principles of critique as a guide on how I should generate, provide and receive criticism.
Sally’s Principles of Critique
1. Acknowledge the work, always remember that, whatever the result, the maker has invested their time and energy into their creation and at some point has probably had to battle their own creative blocks and invested a fair amount of faith and hope in an imaged outcome.
2. Develop The Abundance Mentality from Stephen R Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; there is limitless amounts of success and creativity to go round.
3. Recognise yourself; are you over overconfident; can you separate your own sense of accomplishment and feelings from the work, or do your insecurities dominate you and do you attempt to influence the reviewer by offering the work with a list of excuses and apologies for its shortcomings?
4. Adopt the right mindset; let go of your own desire to prove yourself, or to sound cool and accomplished. Step back from your personal views on the type of work and the person who make it and look at the work in an unbiased and clinical way.
5. Act with maturity as defined by Hrand Saxenian in his Maturity Continuum.
The ability to express one’s own feelings and convictions balanced with consideration for the thoughts and feelings of others
6. Remember it is virtually impossible to develop, improve and grow artistically without critical evaluation. It’s a necessary part of the process and resistance will only hinder your progress.
7. Look, look and look again. Squint, stand back, turn and look from different directions, see the work through fresh eyes.
8. Research and develop a process for breaking down what you are seeing into its constituent parts following the principles of Reductionism.
9. Present your feedback in a concise and considerate way.
10 . Learn how to sift and review your feedback and decide what you want to act on, anything else you can file away (you might want to return to it later). Remember feedback, even your own is advice not an instruction and if it’s ‘useless’ you can easily recognise it from this Julia Cameron’s quote from The Artist’s Way
8. React to what you’ve got; hopefully if the critique has been done effectively you’ll be making improvements and feeling the synergy of collaboration and if not then maybe there’s still something to be learnt from your reaction, but never, ever stop. As Julia Cameron says ‘ creativity is the only cure for criticism’.
It’s funny that this blog has been one of the hardest I have ever written, it has taken me ages and I’m currently berating myself for how little I have produced for a whole day of hard work, is that ironic or what!