The Gauntlet...

...has been thrown down. And I feel compelled to pick it up.

A college moderator came to the ceramics class today, puffed up with her own self-importance. In the manner of the head of a government quango she extolled the virtues of the course over which she presides. She cut a figure not disimilar to Dolores Umbridge in physique and disposition. Sickly sweet unnervingly familiar.

"Oh yes she said your work is wonderful way in advance of this level two class. But not quite up to the standard of a level three, (almost equivalent to an A level!)".

There were palpable intakes of breath from fellow students around me. This comment came not long after my ceramics tutor of 18 years experience was humbling me with arguments in favour of exhibiting and getting commissions for my work.

Anyone who knows me would realise that I am my own worse critic and feel humble to the point of embarrassment when my work is praised. But this was like receiving a stiletto to the heart.

I am done with appraisals and seeking validation. Let the public be the judge jury and excecutioner. Theirs are the opinions that count.


PG said…
Goodness, I am angry! Patronising, smug idiot. I can't be as gracious as you Chris and am reminded of times when I was misguided or similarly sweetly insulted during my 6 years of art training. Funnily enough, one of those was by a potter too...she obviously had her favourites, disliked me on the spot (the feeling was mutual, self satisfied person that she was) and after that I didn't really sculpt in any way until I picked up a felting needle two years ago. And the rest, as they say is history. I am a natural sculptor and didn't know it. People like that have no place in artistic education, no matter what their apparent qualifications - art and design are the worst of all for attracting creative types who turn to teaching because they either don't have the charisma or talent to hack it as a full time artist or because they are too scared to try to survive on the pittance it usually earns. A small amount do it because they are really talented AND really want to pass something good on to another generation, but this misguided ass is not one of them. The world is full of stupid opinionated, self satisfied egoists who plough through the world trampling over other people - they should be ignored, and you should trust your own instinct (take it from me, it's the best way).
Chris.P said…
Thankyou so much for your reply Gretel.

I think this particular person struck a chord in me because I have had to suffer a great deal of negativity from people in Education. I have also received alot of encouragement too but for some reason the bad stuff seems to stick.

My father dealt me the biggest blow when I was in my first year of primary school. I showed him my first ever piece of glazed sculpture and he told me it was rubbish!

I've really got the fire in my belly now:¬)
MackTheKnife said…
Stoke that fire regularly, Chris! That woman is an idiot, as are most people who tell others that their work is substandard. You are a talented artist in several media. Find what your passion is and pursue that without concern for the critics. You do excellent work.

Cathy said…
What a vile, awful old bat!

Chris, the sharp intakes of breath IN RESPONSE to her comments tell you much more about the quality of your work than the comments themselves!

Yep - let your ceramics tutor, the people who will be buying and commissioning your work, and the people who've been working alongside you be your judge.

That's if you really need a judge!
Chris.P said…
Thanks Mack:¬) as always your encouragement is appreciated. I guess that because Art in one form or another is my only form of income, the stakes seem to be higher; this makes me more sensitive to negative comments.

Hi Cathy, I hope when I get a bigger body of work behind me that I can let that do the talking for me. But at the moment I feel a bit of a fledgling. Thanks for dropping by and making your nice comment:¬)
Gordon Fraser said…
Merry Chrimbo Chrispy and family!

Hope the New Year is a prosperous one!

Take care mate!

Goth abd the Gothettes