Thursday, November 18, 2021

Somebody dishonest wants praise and somebody incapable wants to help

"Thank God your parents aren’t the only audience in the world. Go out and get professional option, ask friends and strangers. One of the things I found about very creative and talented people, people around them tend not to appreciated their talents until strangers do. Don’t get discourage, just try other people" 

This is a direct, unedited, quote that I pulled from an internet forum while trying to figure out a certain phenomena that's been bugging me for quite a while now. It's the strange habit that we succumb to when presented with our loved ones' artistic ideas or creations, especially when the works are in their infancy. We obliviously say something so insensitive and hurtful that the artist will vow to never ask our opinion again. 

I've been trying to unpack the reasons why we do this and I think that it's simply the result of a miscommunication. The advice I like to give young artists who are unveiling their creative ideas to their family for the first time is to realise that, apart from some special circumstances, their family are not qualified to give them criticism . We should ask ourselves why we are showing it to them in the first place; do we want some help with improving it? Or our we really just looking for praise. I think it's the second one. We can't deny that we have an inherent need to impress each other. The other day for example, I was picking blackberries and all the while I was thinking about how impressed everyone will be when they see the amount I've collected!

So if we're not ready for somebody to pick holes in what we've done then why are we showing it off? Maybe because we feel we are revealing our babies in a safe space. That's the major mistake we make because our loved one also knows this, and they'll instinctively become harsher with their criticism, as if to prepare us for the brutal and severe realty of the outside world. Here's the problem, especially for the timid young artist just beginning to find themselves, most ideas, though promising, are likely to fall apart with some rigid scrutiny, and need to be considered for many, many hours before becoming palatable for it's audience, and harsh criticism at this early stage can just evaporate the concept right there and then.  

If your art is any way challenging then you're most likely to experience push back from your family. They can become embarrassed by the very thought of association. I have experienced this because of my coarse sense of humour.  If we were all to adhere to polite society's standards and use good manners when we create then the world would be a very boring place. But I still get anxious when telling my loved ones about my latest projects and have to keep reminding myself that if they are embarrassed, or disgusted even, then I'm probably on the right track!


My mother is the epitome of compassion, and yet, one day, she told me that while telling her sister about my short film; she recommended that she not pay particular attention to the storyline and instead to the cinematography. She said this to me thinking that I wouldn't take offence. This is the same short film that won me an award for Best Writing!  And I'm not without guilt myself; whenever my brother, a musician, played me a song that he was working on I immediately felt the need to tell him what I thought was missing rather than what was good about it. And though I was keenly aware of this habit, I'd be fighting with myself internally to suppress my negative criticism and remain positive so much so that I'd likely just say nothing at all and then I'd witness his pure disappointment at my reaction. 

We seem to be on the fringe of a new era; one where a lot of people will find themselves with a lot more time on their hands, and if they want to avoid the madhouse, they'll need to start exploring their own individual artistic expression. This might help us loose any stigma associated with being an arty farty shmartist, but first we'll need get past this dilemma, and, I think it will take a great deal of honesty on both sides. Maybe just start with a simple question: "Are you looking for feedback or praise?"


I feel like my world is narrowing. Moments of reflection and inspiration are becoming few and far between. Engaging with nature doesn't ...