Become an Artist >> Browse Articles >> Artistic Identity >> Critiques & Criticisms


How to Deal with Negative Criticism

How to Deal with Negative Criticism

Amy Wilson | ArtBistro

They May Be Petty or Plain Mean

What about the worst-case scenario, that the person looking at your work became petty or just plain mean in their criticism? This sort of thing only happens very rarely – but the truth is, it does happen. If it does, you have to acknowledge that there is something else going on in the critique that may or may not have anything to do with your work. This sort of opinion really isn’t going to be helpful to you and, as hard as it is, you’re just going to have to let it go. Acknowledge that at the very least, you have learned a valuable lesson – not to spend your time trying to chase after that person anymore. As hard as it might be, you have to simply lick your wounds and get right back to work.

Send Thank Yous When They’re Due

If the visit went any way other than the very last scenario, it can be helpful to send a thank you note to the person who visited your studio. Doing so gives you some closure to the experience and allows you to take the high road and be a professional. Remember that even though they didn’t especially like what you were up to, they did make time to come by and see you. Keep the door open as much as you possibly can.

Reach Out to a Friend

Lastly, talk to a peer you respect about the situation. Share with them what happened and ask for their honest opinion. Don’t be embarrassed to reach out to others about this – remember, this sort of experience happens to everyone sooner or later. But get some feedback and see if the critique you received has some merit, or if it’s the kind of information you should simply disregard. Getting an outside opinion from someone you trust can be crucial to understanding what happened.

Above all, remember that the road before you as an artist is very, very long and a negative critique is only one of the many experiences you will face. Take it as a learning experience and not a setback. Take a deep breath, let it go, and then get back to making the work that you know in your heart you have to make.

Find the right campus or online art or design program for you!