"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." - Elbert Hubbard
The toughest part about being an artist is criticism, it cuts deftly and with precision.
Every piece of art you make, is a fragment of your soul sent out to the world, an unguarded truth, embarking on a sojourn in the unfiltered opinions of others.
The trick to dealing with unfavourable opinion, is of course "thicker skin," we all know this, but within this resolution, lays my greatest challenge as an artist.
You see, my skin isn't thick, its porous, emotions flow in and out with ease. I feel as an artist this is a must. It's our duty to take in the world, absorb it, decode and decipher it, then put brush to canvas, pen to paper and make sense of it, catalogue our findings.
My skin, my heart, my mind, must be permeable, emotions, realities, thoughts and opinions must flow. No checkpoints, no barriers, no borders, a freedom of movement and information.
As I create more work and send it out to the world for consumption, I hope the barrage of criticism both good and bad will only grow, surely the greatest insult of all is ambivalence?
I will have to achieve this "thick skin," but use it selectively, learn when to pull up the drawbridge as the horsemen of conjecture gallop thunderously towards my castle of imagery and words.
I have no doubt some will breach, running ramshackle in my mind with terse opinions and unshackled disregard. When they leave, I will have to restore order, bring comfort to my thoughts and solace to my imagination.
A realignment of courage, for tomorrow brings with it a new day, fresh ideas and untrodden paths, begging to be explored.
I will, I shall, I must. This will be my softly spoken cry, as I put one foot in front of the other, journeying towards my next act of courage, my next great song.
I can hear the Horsemen now, steel horseshoes clattering the ground of my self belief, "no matter," I tell myself, let them come.
My skin thickens as we speak.