Never Apologize for Your Art (Part 2)
Never apologize for your art. In Part 1, I spoke about artists creating works that might be controversial, thus bringing the artist under criticism, ridicule, etc. Under the umbrella of freedom of speech, artists should be able to create what they want in the same way that people can post what they want via social media, blogs, podcasts, or YouTube videos. As long as you create your works knowing that you might come under fire and are prepared for the backlash, create away. You’re allowed to express yourself. This post however, will cover those that are beginners or amateur artists. I’ve been in public online forums where new artists are shamed and ridiculed for their lack of artistic skill. That’s just not cool.
My point of view is that art is free for everyone. Whether you choose it as a career or a hobby, anyone can do it and they should be able to without being criticized for the level of competency. We are all of us a work in progress. If you are a brand new artist, take heart. I’ll be blunt and say it like it is. Some people are just assholes. I’d be willing to bet that most critics don’t have any artistic skill either. And what I would say to those that do, is this…remember where you came from. Nobody started out as an expert artist, or an expert anything, for that matter. And the best, most talented artists I know are humble to a fault.
A lot of people hold back from even trying their hand at whatever art form piques their interest. I’ve heard countless times, “I wish I could draw or paint.” But they won’t even try to take a class because they just know they’ll be ridiculed. I can’t blame them, because I’ve seen it happen.
The Sad Truth
Unfortunately, most of the world’s population is conditioned this way. Think about it. As very young children, we all pick up crayons and crudely scrawl colorful pictures with mommy and daddy’s heads way too big and with stick arms and legs jutting out from the head. It’s all part of the developmental process. But I’ve never seen a child at that age embarrassed to show their work off to others. In fact, their work oftentimes goes right up on the refrigerator for all to see.
It’s not until the child reaches school age, maybe first or second grade, that peer pressure kicks in. Kids begin forming opinions and saying what they think about their classmates’ artwork. One cruel word makes that child shut down. Across the globe at around the same age, you’ll see kids gradually stop drawing and being creative for fear of being ridiculed. And sadly, that carries over into their adult lives.
But here’s the thing…
Drawing is a learned skill. True, some of us were born with a natural ability. But drawing can be learned and that means anyone can learn to do it. If painting is what lights your fire, that fine too, but it all starts with drawing. Think of painting as another layer of drawing that goes on way at the end. You gotta put your underwear on before your clothes, right? Think of drawing skill as the framework for everything else (painting, graphic design, etc.).
So, if you’re just starting out as an artist (or are thinking about it)…go for it! Don’t listen to what anyone has to say. Just do your thing. If drawing makes you happy…do it! If you like immersing yourself up to your elbows in paint…well, have at it! And, you don’t have to make your projects public. They can be strictly for your own satisfaction. Who says you have to post on social media? But if you do, ignore the haters! And that includes yourself. We are always the hardest on ourselves. But seriously…forget the critics and have fun.
Every time you create, you’re learning. If you’re too shy to go to a class, watch art videos. There are free online classes on YouTube. There are really great paid online classes too. You can learn from the privacy of your own home. I will say this for having an actual classroom environment, however…it’s great having the input of the teacher there to guide you as you work. But maybe you can build up to that.
And you know what? If you don’t care about the lessons and just do it for fun…then why shouldn’t you? Go ahead and immerse yourself in the often messy world of art. Get in up to your elbows in charcoal, paints, pastels, or even ballpoint pen, or whatever else catches your eye. Go, do it and have fun.
And don’t apologize!