When criticizing any creative work, whether it be visual art, music, film, dance, performance. You should be firm, critical and constructive. Be honest, but don’t tear the person apart for their work. Suggest where they need to improve and highlight the positives.
Now I’m not saying that you need to baby them, be very honest about what you truely think, but so brutal that you bring the person to tears and completely turn them off creating work. Ensure that whatever your criticism is, make sure you help them to improve, grow, strengthen. Rather than break them down and leave them in a crumbled heap.
An artists mind never stops, and at times this can lead to the inevitable period of insomnia that occurs most nights. Tonight I was unable to get to sleep, so I decided to do some reading. I managed to plow through a couple of length articles in a recent issue of Art Forum (which has proved to be quite a good journal). I read two articles in particular that got me thinking. One was on the artist James Turrell, who works with large earth and architectural works working with light as his medium, on vastly different scales. The other article that I read was on a lesser known artist; Les Levine, a contemporary of Andy Warhol, his work is hard to pin down. He seemed to use the guises of minimalist, conceptual artist and post-minimalist as he needed to. His work is multi-disciplinary, involving elaborate multimedia installations of closed circuit television and light and sound to larger outdoor works. I am not here to delve too deeply into each artists biography or their practice for a matter of fact. This bit of writing is more about my own creative thought process. I used to think that artists like these were hacks, “bullshit artists”. But it hasn’t been until recent times that I have begun to take an interest in the conceptual part of their practice, that is to say the thoughts and ideas that they come up with before creating a work. People don’t fully appreciate the amount of planning these artists would go through just to organize one outdoor work, or even something more contained. It is this interest in these artists work that generates thought for my own practice, even though our practices vary quite dramatically, the processes of thought and concept are almost the one and the same. I think that I am just generally amazed that I managed to find artists like these interesting, and furthermore; it leading to my own practice being enriched.
So take note, read widely, don’t just read about painting if you’re a painter, or just about sculpture etc, read more, watch documentaries, interviews etc. Gain knowledge, even if you’re not an artist, just more of an art enthusiast, a collector of art etc. Anyways, I hope that this ramble made some sort of sense to whoever may be reading this, below I have linked some potential avenues of research on the aforementioned artists.