Art critique

SCAD Counseling Gives Art Critic Survival Tips – The Connector


Written by Emme Raus, contributor

Work of foundations on 4C.
Photo by Jo Arellanes.

The guidance and support services for SCAD students organized a workshop entitled “How to benefit from an art criticism” on October 10 at 2 pm in the European room.

The workshop was led by Elise Choe, intern for SCAD Student Aid and Support Services and Georgia State University graduate student working on a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Living drawings exhibited on 4C.  Photo by Jo Arellanes.
Living drawings exhibited on 4C.
Photo by Jo Arellanes.

Art criticism, whether for your foundations, your general education or your large classes, offers the opportunity to give and receive feedback on a job. This is accomplished by discussing new possibilities, getting feedback from peers and professors, learning to talk about work, and determining if your work is presented the way you want it to be.

The workshop had five main points to help SCAD students manage their own critiques but also to be better participants in the reviews of their peers.

Get ready.
Knowing what to expect before launching a review helps avoid surprises and reduces stress levels. One suggestion was to get feedback from a trusted friend in advance and be aware of your own feelings towards your art, i.e., does it have personal value to you or is it just about another school project?

Additionally, Choe advised being honest about your strengths and weaknesses, such as submitting a painting project when you’re not a painting student, as well as considering who you want your feedback from – a friend, a peer. , a teacher – and take the initiative to ask. Finally, getting good rest the night before and eating good meals keeps you mentally and emotionally charged.

Offer insightful reviews.
Instead of tripping over words and beating around the bush, describe exactly what you see and refrain from personal opinions such as, “I see you painted a picture about frogs. I don’t like frogs, so I don’t like it. Also analyze the piece, using elements and principles from the classroom to think about the art form. How you interpret what the artist is trying to express and what prompted them to express it is also important.

Finally, rate the success of the artwork if the artist was successful in what they set out to do. For example, if a work tries to convey a spring scene through dark shades of red and black, it is likely that this choice detracts from the theme desired by the artist.

Give constructive feedback.
One way to highlight sections of the work is to use open ended statements and observations such as, “I noticed-” “I’m wondering about-” and “Can you tell us more about-“

Additionally, it is imperative that you stay focused on the artwork itself and not on the person who created it. As artists, it can be difficult to separate our work and ourselves. We must keep in mind that a comment or a particular note on a work of art is not a personal attack.

Choe recommended a method of counseling and supporting SCAD students called the “sandwich technique” in which the reviewer mentions a good attribute followed by a suggestion and ends with a strength of the work of art.

Handle reviews in a positive way.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect review where there is unanimous positive agreement on your piece. However, remember your perspective on your own work and understand that others will have different perspectives. Look for the grain of truth in the criticism and stay grounded and open to new ideas, non-emotional and defensive. Don’t be afraid to discuss your choices in the creation and presentation of your piece.

Another practice endorsed by the guidance and support services of SCAD students is to imagine a figurative anchor that gives you strength. This is an important person, saying, song, or image with personal meaning that reminds you of your goals. Choe even suggested carrying a small wearable item to represent your anchor on you at all times as a reminder.

Review the notes after the review.
Think about the most useful comments and apply them to your work in the future. Have a classmate take notes for you during the review so that you can later review what you missed during the discussion. Overall, remember to treat positive and negative comments the same.

For more information and consultations, SCAD Student Advisory and Support Services provides individual, group and creative counseling at no cost to all SCAD students.

Contact them by email at [email protected] or by calling 404-253-3204.


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