Dealing with Criticism: A Fertile Imagination is a Boon to an Artist

Cass said: “A fertile imagination is a boon to artists. Especially in surrealism where, at least right now, there seems to be more collectors than painters, a very good thing. With all the best artists are handed about being artists — ‘you’ll never make a living at that,’ etc. — I tend to think of artists in general as being free thinkers. This is a narrow preconception on my part I guess, expecting too much of others… but I can help but find it particularly offensive that this occurred at an art school.”

“But small-minded people belittle what they don’t understand. It’s a fear response out of immaturity — an unpleasant combination of their ignorance and their fear of their own ignorance. I’ve found this perception has made it a little easier for me to be thicker-skinned and not take such behavior so personally. Even if they mean it as a personal attack (and they often do), it’s only because they’ve been reminded that they feel inadequate.”

“Smile and respond gently but firmly: address it as an uninformed critique, ignoring the personal attack entirely, and offer something along the lines of ‘I just have a vivid imagination. Surrealism isn’t for everyone, but I like it and there’s a good market for it.’ If they continue with disparaging remarks, suggest they Google ‘surrealist painter’ to find out more, and turn back to your work as if the conversation is over.”





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