“I write from my soul. This is the reason that critics don’t hurt me, because it is me. If it was not me, if I was pretending to be someone else, then this could unbalance my world, but I know who I am.” Paulo Coelho
Who decides whether art is good or bad? Is it based on our personal preferences or do we defer to the opinion of an expert? In our world, we construct benchmarks to measure such features as performance, usability, reliability which allows a novice to base decisions on the analysis of others who have expertise in an area of inquiry. This is a valuable tool. It saves time and allows the beginner to develop an understanding of the subject-matter.
But when it comes to art, do the same principles apply? Are we influenced by popular opinion? Do we trust our judgment to evaluate creative endeavours?
Personal preferences and value systems do impact on the way we appreciate and recognize beauty and symmetry. Will our individual ideas hold us back from recognizing true genius, much like those who would not accept Impressionism when it was first developed in Paris in the 1860’s? Maybe that is our underlying concern – that we will miss something important. This was my thought when I researched the definition of an art critic. An art critic is simply a person whose work is to analyse and interpret works of art within the context of aesthetics, a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty and taste.
Within this framework, the prospect of diverse opinions are virtually endless, which opens the dialogue to all who take pleasure in viewing works of art. When we enter the conversation, when we consider our sentiments relevant, we are adding depth and breadth to the creative force that drives humanity’s need to find beauty and joy.
“I don’t listen to what art critics say. I don’t know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is.” Jean-Michel Basquiat