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Postby Hybridcity » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:09 pm

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Subject title: Critique Vs. Opinion

Today at lunch a buddy and I got in a friendly argument about art. I over heard her saying "I couldn't go to an art college, I'd punch anyone that critiqued my work". Now, she isn't much of an artist and was just making a statement. I asked a question about what's so wrong with critiques? and she answered with "because all critiques are just an opinion."

I then further tried to explain not all critiques are opinions with using the example: if someone drew a leg and it was done wrong - and obviously done anatomically/proportionally wrong - then stating the anatomy/proportions were drawn incorrectly and explaining how to fix it is not an opinion. It was done wrong, and that's that. She then told me that the leg would've been done correctly to that person and therefor the critique would've been just an opinion. I then told her the reason the leg would look correct to the person was because there artistic eye is incapable of processing the problems. I explained that a critique attacking another person's style is indeed an opinionated "critique" but when the fundamentals are involved they are not opinionated.

She then proceeded to tell me the fundamentals are opinions too, and that art is only about expressing yourself and doing what looks correct to you.

Not sure why but this kind of heated me. We had a good laugh afterward, making a couple jokes and what not. I just felt like ranting. Not sure if I could've made a stronger point if I explained it better? or that I'm possibly wrong on my end.
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Postby Audiazif » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:19 pm

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Hybridcity wrote:Not sure if I could've made a stronger point if I explained it better?


You could of applied the same augment to another field that is more "respected" in your friend's eyes. For example maybe music. When someone sings a song wrong (e.g. sing the wrong note or not on beat), it can be obvious to most people. Or maybe try a field that has no room to be subjective, like math. Is it your opinion if you tell someone they are wrong when they say 2 + 2 = 5?
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Postby Ambiguity » Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:18 am

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I think you're actually both right, it really depends on what standards your holding your art up to. For instance the French impressionists weren't trying to capture exactly what light on form looks like, but more so what it "felt" like to them. At the time, though, this was looked down upon because it didn't adhere to the academic standard of the era(the name "the impressionists" was actually a mock name given to them by people who hated their work). So with your leg analogy, it'd be factual to say it's incorrect to real life proportions and anatomy, however, if one were to purposefully draw a leg differently, then it's still "correct" in that the goal was achieved.

Saying "art is only about expressing yourself and doing what looks correct to you" is in fact just another opinion though, and the "only" part of it shows a general lack of knowledge about art thru the ages. Art didn't really become exclusively about that until the expressionist era(think Van Gogh), and even then it was and still is limited to the individuals who accept that as their standard.

Also, I don't really think it's correct to call the fundamentals fact or opinion when they are simply subjects of study. You can only form opinions about whether or not they are needed, which again goes back to your specific goals.

 

Postby Hybridcity » Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:29 am

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Ambiguity wrote:I think you're actually both right, it really depends on what standards your holding your art up to. For instance the French impressionists weren't trying to capture exactly what light on form looks like, but more so what it "felt" like to them. At the time, though, this was looked down upon because it didn't adhere to the academic standard of the era(the name "the impressionists" was actually a mock name given to them by people who hated their work). So with your leg analogy, it'd be factual to say it's incorrect to real life proportions and anatomy, however, if one were to purposefully draw a leg differently, then it's still "correct" in that the goal was achieved.

Saying "art is only about expressing yourself and doing what looks correct to you" is in fact just another opinion though, and the "only" part of it shows a general lack of knowledge about art thru the ages. Art didn't really become exclusively about that until the expressionist era(think Van Gogh), and even then it was and still is limited to the individuals who accept that as their standard.

Also, I don't really think it's correct to call the fundamentals fact or opinion when they are simply subjects of study. You can only form opinions about whether or not they are needed, which again goes back to your specific goals.


Mm this makes a lot of sense, thank you! I didn't believe she was completely wrong and it seemed she kind of understood what I was trying to get at, but she's a real stubborn cookie so I'm not 100% sure.
But thanks! This is pretty informative.
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Postby N.K. » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:28 am

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When giving critique you'll need to let go of your own opinion or preference, that's how I see it. But it also has to do with what the artists' intentions are with a certain piece.
For example, if someone would draw a building where the perspective is way off, said artist could receive critique about how to properly make use of a horizon and vanishing points (make use of facts to help someone improve).
But, if an artist is going for a more surrealistic piece were the perspective is intentionally off, it's more of a 'taste' like thing.

I for example am not very keen on anime art, and I know the anatomy can be exaggerated in some pieces. But if someone with an anime style would ask me for critique I would shove my personal preference aside, and would try to give critique that's actually helpful (it's something I've seen a lot btw, that artists receive very harsh feedback because their drawing style isn't appealing to the other).

She then told me that the leg would've been done correctly to that person and therefor the critique would've been just an opinion.

Well, there are rules and facts to anatomy. When drawing a leg with two knees, yeah, that would be incorrect because it's a fact that each leg only has one knee. But who knows, there might be someone who's intentionally drawing legs with two knees and still makes a charming image with it. You'll never fully understand an artists decisions :) And that's were it imo comes down to opinions, taste, and personal preference.

 

Postby Mandilor » Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:43 am

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I find it curious that she can dismiss critiques because they are opinions. Not all critiques are opinions; as others have pointed out if one is trying to learn a rule or fundamental it would not be a critiques "opinion" to criticize the flawed application of that rule. The reason being that everyone is working within the boundaries of that rule. But as can be observed we artists frequently disregard certain rules or guideline or techniques (whatever you want to call them) for the sake of other opposing rules or just your "artistic vision" as it were. So when giving or receiving a critique it is worth it to ask the question are we both working under the same set of rules, aka are we on the same page as to the goal/standard of the piece. So if we are on the same page the critique is objective and not an opinion, although it is capable of being objectively wrong too which is a whole different thing. But if we are not on the same page then the critique is subjective and thus an "opinion" although the opinion isn't the critique itself but rather the opinion is that the critique should be directly applied to the piece in question.

All that said let me propose a different way of thinking about all of it altogether. Critiques are perspectives. They are another, different from yourself, point of view of something. A different set of eyeballs. By listening and taking in a critique you obtain a new perspective. You can now see something you couldn't see before. It might seem on the surface that this doesn't help you with your goal of expressing yourself (for arguments sake lets say that's the goal in this case). But I propose that actual that's exactly what it does. The reason being that, surprisingly, we don't know ourselves as well as we think. (If you haven't picked it up yet, I'm going to get a bit philosophical, sorry.) An example and analogy I'd like to use goes like this: Have you ever been asked it you like "insert food you've never tried". Assuming you don't dismiss the idea of eating something you've never had before you'd consider the question and not knowing anything about said food, come to the conclusion that you do not know if you like it or not. Interesting right? You don't know something about yourself. Why not? You've never explored that part of yourself before. You've never encounter this new food before. So how do you find out the answer to this soul riveting question? Simple, you try it and find out.

And now lets look past the plate of food to all the other things we haven't encountered before which I suspect are limitless but lets keep close to home, namely art and art critiques. What is the advantage to listening and applying a critique that is an opinion? doing so will give us a new perspective and new way of approaching something. But is it way of doing something that we like? Maybe, maybe not. How do we find out? Simple, try it. Don't like it? That's fine you'll discard it without a second thought. Or maybe you find out that actually you really like it and you start doing things and enjoy things that you didn't even know existed before.

Here is a practical example of what I'm talking about. For me I used to discard the idea of using pen to draw. I found pencil much better. I liked the fact you could erase with pencil, couldn't do that with pen. But after years of rejecting the idea I for what ever reason tried it out. And to my surprise I found I actually kind of like it. I could fill up a page faster. I could draw in a way that was less clean and thus more liberating because I wasn't caught up making things look perfect. I found out that I like some pens and not others, many I dislike felt-tip as you can't make big swooping lines. But I like ball point pens but only ones that have a certain tip that let you make fast lines. And I found out that I like drawing in a fast speedy gestural way something I may have never have found out if I didn't take some else's idea and try drawing with pens. So now that I know that about myself I can express that. And that's just one thing. I've relatively recently found out I like to paint in a more painterly style. Didn't know that that before.

So I think critiques are never bad to listen to and punching someone who is offering to give us the gift of a new perceptive and potentially giving us a new way of understanding and expressing ourselves in the face seems quite rude, not to mention ungrateful and a little self-righteous. But I think the bigger tragedy is not that you've hurt their feelings and ostracize them but that you're missing out on your favorite way of making art and you don't even know it.

Hope someone finds this useful, even if they disagree with it :D So for the length, high five if you read it all!

TLTR: it's worth it to listen to critiques even if you disagree with them.

 

Postby Gryephon » Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:19 am

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Well it depends on what critic group you're submitting to. For example the "critique this" section reads

"Critique This" wrote: "Submit your artwork for critiques here, or give someone else some helpful criticism or advice on their artwork. Please keep things civil.


So criticism here is more themed towards "helpful advice". So it's slightly different then mere opinion, it's about one artist trying to help out another artist.

Sure we're certainly not honest down here, at least not to Simon Cowell level, and you know being helpful and honest in criticism is kinda impossible to maintain, honesty probably wouldn't be a good idea if you're wanting to keep such a big forum together. But hey, I think she can get some good help down here even though we're more advice oriented. =\
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