Critics, Reviews and Progression

As a part of the creative industry it goes without saying that at some point you will be subjected to criticism and reviews, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on the source. Part of progressing as an artist is learning how and when to accept criticism and to take reviews with a grain of salt.

To give a review, a writer will simply state the facts of the art without detail, aimed predominantly at consumers. Another kind of review is when a critic provides a critique. For this they need to have sound knowledge and experience in the field and to show why things worked or didn't work, displaying an in depth thought process in their analysis. This is helpful because it involves a process of critical thinking and gets your brain thinking in new ways, thus when it comes to creating art you can start to implement new ideas.

The history of criticism and critics dates back to the first century and has evolved over time to become a common way of expressing ones calculated interpretation of a piece of art. It’s hard to have an outside perspective of your art when you become so attached and engrossed in the production, that’s where good friends with a good fresh outlook on your work come into play. This is summed up nicely by  Lawrence Alloway in 1984, who said that criticism is about a “spontaneous response and fast judgment to the presence of new work” (Christy, 2015).

It’s also stated that critics with no connection at all to the artist can sometimes offer the best perspective on artists creations. In the year 1746 a French art critic, La Font de Saint-Etienne, once said “ It is only in the mouths of those firm and equitable men who comprise the Public, who have no links whatsoever with the artists…that can find the language of truth” (Christy, 2015).

Criticism has already affected me and will continue to affect me throughout my career. Learning to take this on board is crucial in developing my skills further. Identifying constructive criticism and non productive reviews is a key requirement to ensure one does not get caught up in trying to please everyone as listening to everyone can be destructive. Being selective of who is giving the criticism or review is just as important as being able to accept criticism constructively.

Whether being interviewed by a journalist or reviewed for a magazine, being aware of how you portray yourself to the public is vital to control how people will perceive you and/or your art. Artists need to keep in mind that not everyone will see your art and like it the way you do, learning to deal with this is key to progressing as an individual.

People automatically analyse things without knowing the detail behind them, pulling apart something quickly in their mind and instantly deciding what they do and don’t like. This is what critics do in greater detail. The concept of thinking like a critic can be beneficial to my own work and others too, taking your thoughts to the next level of analysis by deconstructing the art is liberating and encouraging when you start to comprehend how creations are made. It’s like peering into the artists mind and seeing how they approach a project or coming to a conclusion about why they did something the way they did.

I have learnt that progressing in the industry will not happen overnight and I will need to put my work out there to be judged. I already realise the potential for growth from having my work viewed by many different people.

Publicity can come in many forms but one thing artists rely heavily upon is getting reviews from journalists or critics. It’s an ongoing process of putting yourself out there to be judged, in hope that it will fly on the radars of powerful industry professionals.


Mendelsohn, Daniel. (2012, August 28). A Critic’s Manifesto. Retrieved from


Dena, Christy. (2015, February 23). Week 4: Critics, Reviewers & your art. Retrieved from