How I Handle Criticism

I’d like to say I handle criticism really well. Even before I went to art school I tended to take any comment about my art with a grain of salt. I didn’t take any other topics the same way thought.

If it had to do with art, I could take a backhanded comment. It didn’t happen much to me, but there would be some comment that hurt, especially from professors. Professors are worse than students—they’ve learned the ropes and are thick skinned.

You don’t always have to take someone’s suggestion. Which is a relief, cause there are many comments however it’s good to consider a suggestion before you rule it out. Sometimes you don’t know if it’ll work until you try it. I personally can’t visualize something well in my head, despite being an artist.

Criticism also isn’t always a bad thing. Not only could you miss something that’s not working because you’re so close to it, but it helps mature you. I’ve found I’m better equipped to deal with arguments or hateful comments because I’ve practiced with constructive criticism. I can laugh at people who shout at me sometimes, because they’re acting so ridiculous, raving about nothing.

It can still hurt though. Depression has ruined my ability to cry properly when it hurts, so I sit in a gloomy haze or start to be irritable. However, it’s worthwhile to say that I recover better from a hateful comment now.

My Biography and Artist Statement

I’ve been struggling with my biography for a looooong time. In college we were required to write it on our student websites for a grade. I ended up with a generic one:

“Rebecca Gowdy was born in suburban Winchester, Virginia in the summer of 1989. Her family has always joked that she came out of the womb drawing and has been doing anything art related since childhood. It wasn’t until high school that her love of “making things pretty” turned into a pursuit of a design career. In 2013 she will receive her Bachelor of Fine Art concentrating in Graphic Design at Shepherd University. Rebecca specializes in illustration, but her strengths also lie in typography layout and identity design. Rebecca hopes to go into the comic book business, writing and illustrating graphic novels, but can see herself doing most anything. Ideally, she wants to bring design to the more rural areas of the Shenandoah Valley. “ But then I realized it wasn’t me. I tried to fix it, but ended up still not liking it. I even used a dumbed down version for a professional summary:

“A creative and motivated graphic designer and photographer in offering strong attention to detail and the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously. Works independently and has experience in supervising team projects. Strengths include utilizing graphic design software to create recognizable and trusted brands with event marketing in mind.”

However, something I still am happy about is writing a mission statement from my community college days.

*“I am a daughter. I am a student. I am a trusted friend. My life reflects my passion. My passions comes from my actions. My actions define who I am. I am created by God. I am the created, yet I create. I will follow in the footsteps of the Artist’s Artist. I will be open to new ideas. I will always see the world with wonder. I will always create.

I may walk a dangerous road, but I will not fear the future. I will never stop learning. I will always remember to listen before I speak. I will always see life as precious; it is not my job to judge a life. I will treat myself with purity and grace. I will treat other with what I treat myself.

I am a creator. I am a storyteller. I am a comic book artist. I am a photographer. I am a painter. I am a designer. I am a sketcher. I am a fantasy writer. I hold whole worlds in my head. I see the world as inspiration. I see the world as my canvas. I am a visionary.

If my vision no longer suits me I will transform it. If my vision no longer suits someone else I will fight for it. My skills are not static. An artist is not stagnant. An artist fails, and learns, and succeeds. If I fail I will try again. There is always more than a second chance.

An artist brings dreams to life. I will bring dreams to life.” *

Art School

Remarkably I would not recommend art school to aspiring artists. It may be from my personal experiences but art school is the quickest way to kill real inspiration. As much as I loved learning about the “rules” of art and design, there are lasting issues that still stunt my growth.

Now everyone is different, and there are probably people who would be well suited for an art school. From what I’ve seen, the ones to get out unscathed are few and far between. I thought it took very little to injure my determination but it turned out that my depression really stunted my art career.

Depression hits more college age students today than before, and it’s growing. I fear that will not change much, unless there is a major revamp of university life.

But I will say this to my rising seniors: if you want to go to art school, don’t let people stop you. Art as a career is truly a noble path, and I wouldn’t change my own decision for anything. If you have the drive to get into the field, do it my whatever path you choose!