Date: 2014-07-29 08:19 am (UTC)
inevitableentresol: a Victorian gentleman with the body of a carrot (Default)
About that cultural divide: I've come across it as well. I went to a UK art college and reactions as you describe (always from Americans) are part of why I don't share my art online any more. I found it bizarre and oppressive to be told that I wasn't allowed to say anything bad about my own art - not even other people's art, but my own. Of course my own art isn't perfect! I was trained to be self-critical about this, so that I could improve. But other people took it really, really personally if I said anything that insinuated that my work wasn't perfect in every respect.

I was accused of trying to get sympathy, of being fake, oh a whole load of really aggressive comments. And this was just something I did for a hobby. I can't imagine how impossible it would be to work in that environment.

One of my online friends, who no longer lives in the US and so has the benefit of perspective, kindly explained that from their point of view, in fact I was insulting them by pointing out flaws in my own work. If others liked my work and I pointed out it wasn't perfect, I was insulting their taste. The logic this hinges on is that it's only possible to enjoy completely perfect artwork - a thing which has never existed, and never will. But there's a kind of mindset that rejects the idea of any kind of failure or lack of perfection in things they like.

Another person I talked to, more recently, explained how at school they were all taught never to say anything critical about themselves, ever, on the basis that "other people will do that for you". This person strongly believed this was the right approach, so you might be able to tell, we couldn't really get on, artistically speaking. But it does explain a lot. If that's the way the American education system is set up, no wonder this is such a problem. What it results in is a nation of people who, even if they don't get actively defensive at encountering self-criticism, will still find it disturbing and wrong.

Sorry for the rambling but this is a sore subject for me. I do believe in being positive, but to reject even the idea of self-criticism is just crazy and makes me worry how a nation can function if that's their philosophy. It's fine when things are going well, but it's not a good recipe for getting through repeated failure, which is a vital part of creation.

Keep well.
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