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Old 06-10-2014, 01:23 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2013
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I read the B&N #180 article, and clicked on the example link that you included Steven, only to find myself in a thread that I had not intended to visit, again. ACK!!

The particular example, aside, that you selected to underscore the point that you sought to make, you are quite right about how one's use (or lack thereof) of spelling and punctuation, when communicating via online mediums, craft an impression.

My own first-hand experience over the years in posting online, stretching back to the days of computer bulletin board systems (BBS), is that even if you try to exercise care with spelling and punctuation, the online environment will often inflict its own share of spelling and punctuation errors. I'm not sure if it's due to particular software, or to lag, or to certain software being resource hogs, but at times, the software, itself, won't keep up with what individuals post, thereby resulting in spelling and punctuation errors on top of and in addition to whatever errors that individuals may otherwise make on their own.

With regard to criticism of art, not being an artist, it is out of necessity that I must resort to words, if I am to participate in any online discussions about art that a given artist posts.

If an artist posts their artwork online, then it becomes fair game for others to comment on, regardless of whether the artist likes what they have to say or not. Freedom of expression doesn't apply to art alone, but to the written word, as well.

Nothing, of course, actually compels an artist to respond to criticism about their artistic handiwork. If they do decide to respond, though, then not just their art is at issue, anymore. The downside comes when others begin to judge a given artist, not by their art, but by their antics.

Why artists feel more comfortable responding to criticism of their artwork with words, rather than with more art, is beyond me. But, if and when they take it upon themselves to enter the world of the written word, all of their artistic skill and talent and power won't save them, when they wield words ineptly, ineffectively, or in a manner that ends up proving to be counter-productive to their own best interests, as artists.

If they can't deal with simple criticism of their artwork that they have chosen to put on public display, then what makes them feel that they are necessarily well-suited to engaging their critics at length in open debate?

Speaking only for myself, I encounter many different artists and just as many pieces of art that catch my eye. Most of the artwork that I encounter, I don't bother to comment on, at all. Thus, there usually tends to be something about a given piece that interests me enough, for me to comment on, at all, be it criticism or praise that ensues in the aftermath of an artist getting my attention through the posting of their art. Even then, though, a lot of art that does catch my eye, I remain silent on.

When I praise artists, they never seem to have a problem with me using words to praise them. Rather, it tends to be when I focus criticism upon their artwork that a relative handful become unnecessarily defensive about it. Artists invest time and energy and effort into crafting their art. But, artists hold no monopoly upon their time and energy and effort having value. It takes time and energy and effort for people to craft their respective criticisms of respective art pieces, also.

I can't speak for others, of course, only for myself, but I pause long enough to articulate an opinion about art because I find viewing art to be an enjoyable past time. Because I have no artistic talent of my own, circumstances and fate conspire to ensure that, in order to view art, I am dependent upon the artists of this world sharing their artistic creations with others - of which I am but a single individual out of many in the same boat.

I don't view and comment on art, because I crave a debate on the subject. If artists can't handle and cope with mere criticism of their artwork, the question begs to be asked, then, whether they can cope with a debate on the very same artwork that has already come in for criticism?

Debate, while a useful tool in its own right, tends to be time-consuming, and it tends to subject a given piece of art to criticism that is in-depth and at length. The more time invested in any given debate, the less time that remains available for browsing other pieces of art.

Ultimately, just like any artist, I only have so much time in a day to devote to viewing art and engaging in discussions about art. I much prefer to spend that allotted amount of time viewing art, but on those occasions where I do submit some commentary on a given piece, I harbor no desire to waste my time trying to explain a given criticism to someone who demonstrates no real willingness to listen. At that point, a disconnect exists, and I prefer to just resume viewing the art of others. It just tends to be a wiser investment of the time that I have.

If an artist doesn't want the public at large to comment on their artwork, then they might want to consider refraining from posting it for all the world to see. Once posted, it becomes fair game, no matter how much or how little that they like the comments and criticisms that naturally ensue from opinionated individuals.

From my perspective, the God that imbues individuals with artistic gifts is the very same God that created human beings as opinionated creatures.

When artists take it upon themselves to engage in a contest of words, rather than a contest of art, they might want to consider whether they are at advantage or disadvantage in such instances.

Art takes many forms. It is not limited to just and only the realm of imagery crafted by those who deem themselves artists in a literal visual sense. Artists enjoy no immunity from criticism of the masses. They enjoy no such luxury. Their artwork will be compared to the artwork of others, and likewise, it will be subjected to the comments and the criticisms of a very diverse range of human beings. In posting their artwork, they subject it to the marketplace of ideas. We live in an oft-disputatious society. Accordingly, people do not always agree. It is freedom of expression, and not freedom from criticism, that is protected.

Artists already possess the means whereby to preclude others from criticizing their artwork. All that they have to do is to keep it secluded away from the eyes of others. When they choose to go out of their way and put it on public display, along with that decision comes the possibility and the prospect that the public will have something to say - and they may well not like what the public says about what it is that they have produced and shared.

There's a saying that you shouldn't bring a knife to a gunfight. The biggest gun that any artist has in a discussion about their art is their art, itself. Discarding it, in favor of a resort to words, may not always serve the artist well. In all likelihood, it will depend upon the individual artist and the individual circumstances in question.

If an artist - any artist - can't deal effectively with criticism of their artwork, then they have a long, hard slog ahead of them, no matter who they are.

If a given artist doesn't want me to comment on their artwork, then the easiest and swiftest way to accomplish such is by simply asking me to refrain from doing so. After all, there are countless other artists out there who are always on the prowl for input and feedback on what they are producing. It is a simple enough matter to invest my time and energy and effort, where providing commentary is concerned, in others.
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