Constructive criticism vs. Banana peel on a ski-slope

This post is dedicated to someone who unconsciously throw in a barrel of fuel in my "fire of passion" for blogging about things that happen to me, especially when it comes to art and composition.

Today a comment that had an impact on me like a Banana peel on a ski-slope - it does not bump you out of the chair, but you think:"what the heck does this come from!"

The reason for this entry is the below quote from Oscar Wilde:
“The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.”

And in order to educate the critic, this blog post should help any emerging artist, or people who will skip this step and become a critic with shortcut.


The piece which caused the following comment:
"criminal zombie rock people who have consumed 40 ounces of miller are on the prowl for  violin playing, thong wearing fawns... in the future of america (as miller tips us off) people have evolved into extravagant versions of humanity. 

If this is surrealist work in a modern era, it is not relevant. Your symbols will remain yours (aside from the angsty college freshman who love rendered sex symbols). 

flat... even composition... gestures aren't pushed... taken to a full render suggests you missed the point entirely...."

First off, if you are going to critique an artists work or a piece of artwork, make sure you follow these simple rules to be taken serious and cause an effect:

  • Never just create a profile just for the purpose of doing critique,
    show who you are, and if you have professional background to do so
  • If you critique do yourself the favor and only critique in a field you are expert in or at least have a fundamental understanding of the theoretical approaches, never get personal
  • If you are targeting on rules or fundamental basics, be sure to link to references or sources that underline your critique in a constructive or educative manner
  • Always understand that a critique is a reflection of ones self, treat others like you want others to treat you
  • Write more than 200 words if you want to be taken seriously, and if you can/ or will not show who you are
I´m not going to have anyone flaming this Person just for this nonsense ramblings, instead I´d point out for myself what is good critique and what´s bad:

What seriously uncovers this Person as blissfully ignorant, is that he obviously put the piece into a wrong category and even asked for being uncovered as such with that sentence:
"f this is surrealist work in a modern era, it is not relevant"
Its not  surrealist work, its a fantasy -genre art and a modern interpretation of the "Pied piper of Hamelin".
"flat... even composition... gestures aren't pushed "
The composition of this one was an "out-of-the-box" experiment, that i used to invent also in other personal artworks like "the box of pandora", or "the disquisition" not reinventing the wheel here, but in a manner of "learn the rules and break them properly".

The idea of developing such a complex compositing is to create a flow that leads the viewer into the piece; starting with the fawn, tease over to the "Wanted" posters in a tie over the violin through the number "40" to the Golem brothers, who then throw the lead back on to the legs of the fawn. At this point, the pied piper must come to mind to the more educated viewer.
"taken to a full render suggests you missed the point entirely"
Really, and for whom does this count?

Like I twittered earlier about this today, because this is so rad: "Odd how the words seem to shape the appearance of a comment under the work, but content and meaning is completely absent"
I couldn´t help but laugh out loud with a tear, because of the bizarre pointlessness of this post!

This is how constructive critique should look like:

If this comment need to be put into words for a constructive critique that should help the artist to learn and grow in a positive way, this could be how at least I would appreciate it:

"Its obvious that the classic version and imagery of the pied piper did not appeal to the youth of today, this rendition is a bold approach to bring the essence through into today´s world that is full of over-photoshopped-beauties shining from billboards suggesting consumers to buy.


Fantasy causes viewer and readers all over the world either in literature or imagery to abscond from reality, this worlds where elves, fawns and golem are mythical creatures that are at least equally common than humans, such an evening scene of a modern fairytale could nearly take place, or at least imagined by the viewer because of the realistic rendering.


As a nitpick I would only describe the flat feeling which is omnipresent because of the wall that takes up around 2/3 of the piece.
Even if this is an approach to the rule of thirds, the empty space between the golem could either filled with an interesting subject, or could have more depth.


Another, but more personal impression would be that the gestures are a little expression -or emotionless, but this could also be intended. Comparing the look and expression with your "body of work" its obvious that there is a coherence and love for "out-of-the-box" and experimental approaches to compositions, it might be a question of taste, but there are sure people who like this modern-fantasy-sci-fi-postpunk-experimental mixture of genres."

This at least would be a critique I´d value, even when the writer has no profile or backup of knowledge, It shows respect and a deeper understanding of things.

Always treat others like you want to be, isn´t that too much demanded?
Is there hope?
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Oliver aka Fantasio is a creative blogger who likes to share his insights about art, marketing and social media. Follow Fantasio on twitter or facebook

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