As a Creative Director, I often see exhibitions, plays and other artistic happenings. Often, I get to talk to the person who is responsible for the project or who has created it entirely. It is always wonderful to discover great art and congratulate the person who made it. Sometimes, I contact artists without them asking me and tell them how much I enjoyed their work. At other times, on the other hand, the works you get to see are not very good. In fact, at times they are rather cringeworthy.
This is quite normal to happen, as the top of the works are a top for a reason, if that makes sense.
The thing you need to do when you are asked an opinion about something you didn’t necessarily like is find a nice way to express your feelings. Sometimes I fall in the trap of saying “it’s great” or something to that extent when squeezed with the door, but I try not to make a habit out of it.
My general position is that anyone who has artistic aspirations should pursue them. In doing that, however, they should see the tip of their nose and keep it humble. This is why I always congratulate people when they get something artistic done – I respect their desire, intent and process. However, sometimes things are just not really good. In these cases, you must find a way to help, to explain how you feel in a way that is not mean. In other words, “say what you mean, but don’t say it mean.” Sometimes, getting critiqued is not bad, it’s the best thing that can happen to you. This way, you can learn how your work comes across and correct it. As a creative person, it’s always important to keep developing your craft. Sometimes, you can’t evaluate the level of your work. I have noticed this with many photographers. It has happened to me to find myself in too in the position where you are so attached to your pictures or they represent so much to you, that you can’t really tell if they are truly good or if you only perceive them as such because they belong to you.
Now, what to do when something is downright offensive? Well, that’s another story. When something is truly crossing the line (and not in a good way), it’s time to go; but the bottom line is that we really shouldn’t avoid hierarchies in art. Yes, art is subjective and relative and what ever you may call it, but relying only on relativism is a road that takes you to bad places.