This week’s art is a set of pages from my big, fat journal. I take this oversized book with me to my art group meetings every second and fourth Friday, regardless of what the week’s project is supposed to be. I sit in the corner and do my thing while everyone else learns about transfers, or whatever. It’s two hours every two weeks when I can just sit and chat and doodle, and not feel that I have to make something with a purpose.
As I was working on these pages, the friend sitting to my right whispered, “I can hear you sighing”, and I realized that all the tension was draining right out of me while I worked. I may not be making great moments in art with this journal, but I am keeping myself mentally healthy. Bonus: sometimes, I make something pretty.
Sometimes, I post new work directly to my Facebook page when I’m finished. Not my personal page, where only people who know me in real life can see what I post, and it’s mostly not art things, but political, or vegan, or silly, or about my dog—the other page, where about 1,200 people I don’t know at all follow me, and it’s all arty things. And where all those people who don’t know me can comment about my work.
Now, as you’d expect, people mostly either don’t comment, or leave a few words of praise or support. That’s great, when something I’ve done elicits some positive words, but it’s not required. I’m good with throwing my work out there, and not hearing anything. Facebook lets you click the little thumbs-up Like button, and lots of people just use that. Also not required, but kinda great, because it lets people say “thanks for posting” or “good job” without writing anything. I often click that little button when I see other artists I follow posting new work. I don’t feel they’re after my feedback—but I want them to know I saw their work, and I’m happy they posted it.
Sadly, not everyone understands that work being posted on someone’s art page is not there for a New York Times art review. I am forever waking up to find “I don’t really like this” or “this isn’t really my thing” comments left on my page.
I delete them. And here’s why:
My art page is not about you. Or your opinion. It’s not your place to review my work on my page, even if you do work for the New York Times, which you probably don’t. If you like what I post, great—click the Like button, or leave a comment, or just smile and go get yourself another cup of coffee. If you don’t like it, move along to the next post, and keep the negative comments to yourself.
Because my page is not all about you. Really. It’s not.
(Does this sound somehow familiar? Several years ago, when I stripped the comment function out of LisaVollrath.com, I wrote an article about this very thing—how some people feel that every web site, including mine, is all about them. I was forever posting things here, both written and visual, and receiving comments like “that’s stupid” or “you suck” or “I don’t like this”. And while I’m all for people expressing themselves, I don’t feel I should spend time and energy maintaining pages to facilitate spreading negative thoughts—and I certainly have no interest in hearing that kind of stuff about my work, on my site. So, no comments are allowed on this web site, anywhere, positive or negative. I’m just putting stuff up, because it’s my work, and this site is, after all, called LisaVollrath.com.)
So. If you’re on Facebook, and you follow artists who post work, but don’t specifically ask for your feedback, here’s my recommendation, based loosely on the old adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”:
If you like it, leave a comment that says so. Or click the Like button.
If you appreciate the post, or the effort, or just want to show your support, click the Like button.
If you don’t like the work posted today, say nothing on that person’s page, because it’s not all about you. Move on to the next post.
That’s my two cents.