What Do They Know?

westside road 36, photograph

“I cannot convince myself that a painting is good unless it is popular. If the public dislikes one of my Post covers, I can’t help disliking it myself.”

Norman Rockwell

How immune are you from the opinions of your audience? Do you find yourself being influenced by their favorites? Can you feel completely comfortable with something no one else likes?

I must admit that I experience a certain deflation about a piece that I think is a winner that meets with no interest at all from others. At best it makes me questions my judgement, at worst it makes me relegate it to the reject pile. A rare few I keep in my favorites folder, but I’ve stopped sharing them – they’re just for me.

I don’t think one should blithely say that the opinions of others should be ignored – it’s the rare artist who makes their art only for themselves. On the other hand, too much importance attached to these opinions can result in rudderless artmaking.

For me the secret is to pay attention to the opinion of those whose opinion I respect or whose criticism comes with more to ponder than just a thumbs up or down. Something that starts out as a personal favorite, when examined from this perspective, can turn out to be a stepping stone to something better. Some pieces are keepers, some are there to point the way…

Advertisements