In choosing to become an artist, or if art has chosen you, and you decide to create and put on show your work, then you are at some stage going to have to deal with critics. In my early days I was most intimidated by these people because to my mind they knew a lot about art, were overly intelligent and moved within the circles of the art world.
But as I matured and so did my art I began to see these people as less than what I had previously thought. Especially when I would attend competitions and gallery shows and listen to what they had to say. Until at last it dawned on me that these people knew everything about art and nothing about art. To prove my point to myself, and having the knowledge of a person who has spent all of his life painting and drawing, I would approach a critic and ask him or her to explain how an artist had achieved a certain result in a painting when I knew full well how it was done and why.
The critic would launch into a long speech of esoteric nonsense that talked about the feeling and meaning of the painting and nothing about how it was achieved sidestepping my question entirely. So critics and criticism started to become less important to me and for valued criticism I would turn to other artists who actually knew a thing or two about painting.
So my respect for critics, dealers and curators dwindled until it became clear that they were more focused on themselves and their social standing than they were on art. Because which of them would suffer for art the way an artist does who would gladly spend his last dollar on paint than on bread.
This became so evident the day I witnessed a national art competition in which the judge, who was a celebrated curator, awarded the $10 000 prize to an artist who had told her simply to gather up all the cardboard and wrapping that had come in from other artworks and to throw it into the air. This was to be their entry because they weren't coming over from Germany to attend.
Now I ask you was the critic more interested in the art or in herself? When she was interviewed on the TV together with a disgruntled artist who had entered a painting she promptly disregarded him and put him down in front of the nation and it finally cemented my belief that these folks offer art nothing.
Firstly to be a finalist in a national art competition your work has to be selected from a total pool of entries that may number in the hundreds. Therefore your work has to have some merit and since the judge(s) is the person that makes this selection.
You cannot then turn around and discredit an artwork you yourself have chosen to be a finalist. Secondly the judge was physically and emotionally involved in the winning entry of tossing cardboard and plastic wrapping into the air, is there not a conflict of interest here?
So if you are starting out do not place over importance on the words of these people who know everything about art and nothing about art. If you find yourself being subjugated by their demeanor simply ask a question like "When should I use Cerulean Blue in a sky?" or "How do I go about making a skin tone in a low key environment?" They won't be able to answer it.