Saturday, 8 March 2014

Creativity & Criticism

     Creativity is ultimately personal. When being creative, you are making something unique and new. You may have taken inspiration from other sources, but the end product is uniquely your own. However, this end product is subjective. Be it a song, a painting, a poem, an outfit or even just an idea, there is no guarantee that people will like it. Everyone’s opinion is different, and what appeals to one may not to another.

     People are perfectly entitled to have these opinions. No one should be coerced into pretending to like or dislike something, when that’s not true. There’s also a very difficult, but important distinction to make between what creations people like, and what is good. Sometimes you have to admit to the talent behind a work, even if you don’t like it overall.

     What we should remember though, is that behind every artwork or creation there is a person. A human being, like you or I, with real emotions. Creativity is a personal matter, and to put your own creation, in whatever medium, out into the world for others to see takes a certain degree of courage. It is placing oneself in a vulnerable position, choosing to open themselves up to the world in this way – some going deeper in their personal expression than others of course. People have to expect criticism of their creations though, both good and bad. But what both critic and artist should remember is to keep criticism impersonal. This sounds contradictory, given the personal nature of creativity. However, criticism should be constructive, not merely slanderous, and restrict itself to that particular piece of work, not making reference to the person behind it. We can discuss the ways in which the artist’s life and attitude may have influenced the work – as long as we refrain from making negative remarks about said person and their life. However, that person should also remember not take criticism of their work too personally and allow it to dishearten them.

     I think it’s important to remember the bravery it takes to share your creations, as nowadays it’s all too easy to use the internet to post unnecessarily cruel comments, forgetting that there’s a person reading them at the other end.  The internet gives us anonymity, which is a powerful thing and should not be misused. It’s perfectly alright to dislike someone’s work, as long as you do so respectfully.

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