How to ask for Art feedback

December 13, 2017
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The term art critique makes many an artist cringe. The problem, however, isn’t art critique. It’s our understanding of it. A lot of artists, whatever they are creating, they get doubts: will that please my audience? Do I use the right colors, the right words, the right materials, the right angle…? Will they understand my message? But one solution can bring you many answers: audience feedback.

There’s this moment in an artwork when you realize you need feedback and it’s not exactly a moment of feeling stuck. You know when you stare at a word so long it loses meaning? You can’t tell if it’s spelled right, or even a word anymore? Well when you get into the flow and feel super focused on your art, you can sometimes get that fuzzy feeling, too. Sometimes, you need some external feedback, which will really help the work. Of course, then the question becomes, who do I ask for help?

I met this artist in Paris, who every time every time he felt stuck or had doubts about his work, he organized a showroom. During this time he invites people – friends, artists, anybody wants to see his work – to collect feedbacks. But he told me that you have to take care of some comment, and know how to improve your work with:

Choose Your Person Carefully

“The most well-meaning people can be ever so destructive to an artist. So you must choose who you ask for feedback from carefully, without failing to take into account all the comments collected.

The first question to ask yourself is: do you want the experiential input of a viewer or the formal feedback from a practising artist? Yes, an artist could provide both, but I believe they also always see things from a technical perspective, so yes, sometimes a non-artist is the person to turn to for advice. For the sake of today’s discussion let’s keep these two groups separate.”

He explained me :

Experiential feedback means someone gets to give you emotional input about their experience with your art. Do you want someone to share the story they read in your art? Or do you want to know how the work makes them feel? What do they see? These kinds of questions are experiential and are great questions to ask non-artists about your work.

Formal feedback refers to the choices being made in the artwork, which means how an artist uses the elements and principles of art to create their work. Do you want someone to help with compositional choices or technical decisions like the application of value? Then you should seek another artist for their perspective.

“It’s really interesting to speak about my work with this people comes from full of the different environment. They give you a lot of new angle, idea … but it’s difficult to deal with all these ideas”

When we verbally receive comments from different horizons, it is difficult for several days to analyze and use them, or even to remember. It’s why he use Brew Survey to collect and save all his feedbacks. With two or three tablets in his Showroom, he asks to his guests to answer several questions.

Be Specific

It’s better to ask directed questions, because ideas about art, in general, can be very divergent. When you can be more specific about the kind of feedback you need more people are also willing to help.

Example: This feels unfinished. Do you have ideas to resolve it?

Example: I feel vulnerable and am really hating on this piece right now. Can you tell me what’s working for it?

Sometimes you aren’t sure what feedback you need. That’s okay, too. You can share it and say you are open to any feedback. Realize this opens the door to all kinds of feedback, good and bad, so please emotionally prepare for the answers you will receive. When you are new to asking for feedback or feel vulnerable about a work, I highly encourage you to be specific about the feedback you seek.

Example: What emotions does this piece bring out in you?

Example: Do you have input on my color choices?

I’ve observed in both scenarios people can be generic in their responses when the observer feel uncomfortable or is unsure about what the artist wants from them. This is most likely when the art is shared without asking for specific feedback or response.

“Remember the people offering you support want to “do it right” too. The more direction you offer, the more it wins, win for everyone.”

After these few days of gathering information, Brew Survey exports your results into a CSV file that will make your life easier while analysing your responses. Brew Survey also enables you to see useful graphs, percentages and trend analysis of your surveys. And then you can continue to work on your project with a new vision of it.

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