Meeting Criticism

If you’ve read more then a few of my blogs you’ll notice I keep a consistent eye towards connection. I would be remiss if I didn’t explore the other half of that because, sometimes in art and in life, it’s a swing and a miss.

When I’ve started almost anything creative it didn’t come with a built in fan base to make me feel like I was killing it. I mean, honestly, I kind of sucked at most things at first. I can remember some of my first drawings and my mother, ever the cheer leader, would look at the drawing all lit up and exclaim, “Oh Rosa, that’s so wonderful!” Long pause as I beamed, then she followed with, “what is it?” – and the truth was known. It may have taken the shine off of what was accomplished but it never stopped me from enjoying the process.

Through the years I’ve met my fare share of critics, especially in my field of graphic design. I found myself witnessing many a weary artist breakdown during critiques. Often what one person thinks is constructive, the other can find offensive. Communication is tricky.

My most challenging miss has been with a close personal relationship. That one sent me into deep confusion. To one day find yourself speaking two different languages and hearing two different things is flabbergasting. Especially if it devolves into blaming and shaming.

Here’s the thing, not everybody has to “get us” or even like us. Sometimes we just don’t jive with one another. In the art world, in the design world, in the relationship world there are so many choices out there. There is no sense is forcing what just doesn’t work and changing ourselves to appease others is cheating everyone out of a true connection.

This painting is an illustration of my meandering, liquid navigation though those tricky waters of relating.

In art and relationship there is such vulnerability and to be rejected on what you are about is painful. The best way I’ve found to work with that pain is to face it, tell it hello, give it a side-hug and invite it to sit down. Eventually, I look up and I look for all those around me that do enjoy what I have to give. Even if they just connect to a piece of what I’m saying, that is enough.

I’ve found the reason I keep my eyes toward connection is that it helps me stay resilient during the times that I feel under attack. I realize yes, sometimes I’m not well received, sometimes I’m even loathed. Those times are so few in comparison to all the love and acceptance I can find on a daily basis. Eventually the rawness and hurt I’ve felt from the mean spirited words of a confused critic melt away and get put in the category of “their opinion” …not mine.



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