I was taught, and have also learned through experience, that it is very important to take both compliments and criticism if you want to improve upon your skills as well as your business (should you have one).
Now compliments are always nice to receive. They bolster our confidence, they let us know that we're doing something that is pleasing to someone else out there other than ourselves. They're the fuzzy-feel-good stuff that keeps us going. Easy to accept, easy to build upon.
Criticism is equally as important. It's the yin to the yang and should not overpower our focus, but nor should we ignore it. Criticism let's us know that there are people out there that don't like what we're doing for some reason, and we may not agree with their point of view! But if you step back for a second, and just try to look at it through their eyes, and even just try to make the changes that the critic would like to see, you might discover a better way to do your art or business. Even if ultimately you decide not to follow the critic's advice, you have opened your mind to new possibilities and your creativity will grow
Now criticism generally comes in two forms. Constructive and ignorant. Constructive criticism generally comes from a person who has some knowledge about what he or she is judging, and can give you a personal opinion without insulting you. This type of criticism is easier to take and turn into something helpful. Now ignorant criticism usually comes from a person who knows little to nothing about what they are judging (and from what I've noticed, most don't care to educate themselves on it either). But they do have opinions, and they are entitled to those, and in fact their opinions may coincide with those of others who don't speak up. This is important. I know its very hard to take advice from someone who insults you and knows little about what you do. But let's try to remember that these people are saying something that could help us, it's just disguised in a wrapper of immature emotion. If we take off the ugly wrapper, there's a nugget inside to be learned from.
If someone says to you "Your art is so boring, you're just trying to be like *insert name of more popular artist here* except not as good." It would be so easy to just go off on them wouldn't it? It was a mean comment, and likely hurtful to you. But starting an argument with them only escalates and never solves the situation, AND it puts you in a bad light. My best advice for the actual person behind the comment, would be to politely ignore them. But for the comment itself, let's unwrap it: They said your art is boring, similar in style to someone else's, and that it isn't good. If we look at this in a positive way, we can see that they might be saying your art could use work in the individuality department. Perhaps you might want to try and discover who you are, and how you express yourself in your art. What are you trying to say with your art? Why? Don't worry about style. Style is what comes naturally when you express what you want to say, in a way that is most comfortable to you. They said your art was similar to someone else's. Perhaps you might be seeking out the "popular" form of art at the time to gain attention? It's not necessarily bad to jump on the band-wagon, but try to do it in your own original way. Try to be different by being totally yourself. And they told you your work wasn't good. Well, everyone can improve themselves over the years No worries there, just keep practicing and experimenting and improve yourself one tiny step at a time, one little day at a time.
Now whichever you get on a daily basis, compliment or criticism, you ultimately get to pick and choose what you agree and disagree with, and how it will affect your art. And it's okay to disagree with someone, and stick to the original way you do things if you feel that is best for your art You shouldn't be wishy washy in your ways, but at the same time you shouldn't be rigid either. Seek for a balance where you know who you are, where your goals should take you but let your mind stay open as to which path might get you there.
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