TAMING THE SHADES OF CRITICISM

January 01, 2017


Pic source: Google

                            The sheer idea of criticism runs a chill across the spine. There are few who keep an open door to criticism. Ofcourse the bitter taste of the words demeaning your work are not a treat of gluttony and you are destined to run on to the sick bed of melancholy after the stings of criticism have stung you hard. Who likes to be hit by a hammer in the face after a laborious and exhausting attempt at creating something, specifically in the field of art? Where on one side it comes as real obvious to repel the comments of the critics, on the other side there is a hidden medicine in the bitter words of criticism that we tend to ignore and label people as haters. Considering Art of any form which can range unfathomably from painting to writing to dancing to singing to origami to anything and everything, I am bound to lease out the conspicuous importance of criticism in the making of a legend or a maestro.
           Basically, in personal opinion, I strongly believe that an artist has three phases of development at large. The first phase is, of course, the “phase of discovery”, where the future artist has just discovered his art and found a newborn passion. At this stage, he is similar to a diamond hidden inside a coal. Pure pitch dark coal seeming ugly and unromantic to the eyes of the talented. If the cruel swords-of-criticism be brought out here and lashed upon brutally onto this coal, it is going to roll back into the mine and stay there obscure, undiscovered and denied of the little chance of harvesting confidence. This is the phase where the critic or the person the artist looks up to for a review, must be Hippocratic. He must blanket his errors and try to instill confidence by motivation. Allow the artist to believe that there can be a diamond inside him. It is highly possible that there would be no diamond at all and it becomes analogous to “Schrodinger’s Cat scenario of What if I critique too harsh and the artist in him dies and what if I allow him to jump off the cliff of creativity but not tell him that he does not have the wings”. Here we must employ “Selective criticism” and be as lenient as possible. We, along with him, must take a leap of faith. Initial praise will keep him moving.
        When the coal slowly moves to the second stage where a bit of the diamond’s skin shows off, the critic can employ enough harsh criticism to burst few of his bubbles. As an artist, one is bound to believe that every piece he creates is a masterpiece and endorses strong emotions and pride with each one of them. In the second stage, when the crude crystal is showing off, bring the artist out of the “fairyland of all things great” and acquaint him with the reality and talent around. Give him a reality check and show his standards with regard to the work available in the field. But there is fine point one must remember. Although the artist has invested enough confidence in his work, he still does not have an invincible faith in his work and he still can roll back into the mine. So the critic must ensure that on one side where he acquaints him with the reality, on the other side he must keep him motivated and tell him what it took for the maestros to get where they got. This is the second phase.
     When all you have is a crystal in the crude form and no piece of coal is canopying the crude diamond, bring out your “Samurai swords of criticism” and shape him and polish him to the best. Then and only then can a Pretending-Artist become an “Artist” in the true sense. The need of criticism in bringing the best of anybody is undeniably quintessential but the phases of criticism must work parallel to the phases of the artist’s development. Where hypocrisy can be employed in the initial stages, it is important that one holds on to giving brutally honest review later on. Honest criticism will lay the foundation of excellence and it is something that an artist stays indebted for life.
        
P.S. I am really grateful to each one of you who helped me through the phases and have stayed honest and loyal to my craft. Whatever I am capable of today in terms of writing, I humbly credit it to the constructive criticism that I received. Thank you and I hope you guys will keep along for many years to come.  

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