Sunday, April 17, 2016

Constructive Criticism

Armand Cabrera

 I was involved in a discussion about constructive criticism online. The original post made the point that unless you can accomplish the thing you are criticizing it’s not constructive criticism and is basically a useless form of sharing an uninformed opinion.

I actually agree with this idea and I have long been a proponent of artists working problems out on their own first. When that fails, I recommend finding a professional with greater skill to give you constructive advice on how to improve.

I know in today’s world this attitude may seem elitist but it actually is the fastest path to success. Some people are better at things than other people. If you can’t do the math, you can’t constructively critique Einstein’s theory of relativity. Too often people decide their uninformed opinions are valid and helpful, when they’re not. Those people in your profession that share similar traits with your own work and creative vision are the ones you want to talk to when you get stuck. Group critiques like group hugs are pretty useless. Other than making everyone feel important, they offer little help towards improving your work.

Asking for advice should always be thoughtful and targeted. Isolate problems first before asking for help. If the advice strays make sure to ask how it ties into your request. It’s very easy to get sidetracked even when someone knows what they are talking about and get too much feedback to effectively digest.

Art should be individual. Too many opinions and ideas from disparate sources will not improve most people’s abilities; just weaken them as their work becomes a hodgepodge of conflicting opinions. In my opinion diligence and hard work, combined with personal interpretations of information and discoveries have better outcomes for creativity in the long run.