Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hate email. . .

Without going into much detail, over the weekend, I received a "hate email" from an irate artist in response to a comment that I made regarding her art that I posted on an online art critique forum from six years ago. . .

That's right - Six. Years. Ago.

It took quite a bit of brainstorming at 6 AM to remember just what this person was referring to, but I found it. It was from an online visual art collective that I joined many years ago. While I was once quite active in the group, it's been quite some time since I've engaged in anything there over the last few years other than a quick and occasional check in. But her name was vaguely familiar, and with a few clicks in the search engine, I located her and the now, at least when it comes to the web, ancient post.

Amazingly, it really wasn't even a critique of her work as much as it was an admonishment. This artist took it upon herself to post an image of her work (which really was quite terrible) and then proceeded to give it a 10 rating (the highest) as well as a glorious comment about the work. She finished off the review by signing another person's name.

Uh huh.

I won't give her name or the name of the site - but I will say that her "painting" was intended to be a portrait of Cleopatra apparently engaged in some sort of "walk like an Egyptian" dance. She had also glued fake jewels and some gold lame material to the image as if it were a dress of some sort. Snickering aside, the work was truly wretched and looked like something that a 2nd grade student would bring home in exchange for sweet motherly praise and a cookie.

At the time, 6 years ago mind you, I was very involved with this artists' portal and took the critiques rather seriously as many of the artists used them as educational tools. Seeing that an artist felt the need to post it and then give it the highest rating available, at the time, really got my goat so to speak.
The work, which had been posted for quite some time prior to her self-critique, had received no comment at all from anyone. In my opinion, that was quite possibly due to the fact that no one could find anything positive to say about it in the forum.

So, the artist, clearly desperate for some attention or praise for her work, freakishly posted some for herself.

My response to that was

"Please correct me if I am wrong, but did you just give YOURSELF a 10 rating on this and sign it with some other name?

I'm not saying that is the case (though it does appear to be),however, if it is, it is not only quite dishonorable, it flies in the face of everything that this Critic's Corner is about.

Please convince us that this is not the case or admit the error in judgment and save your honor as an artist."

Was I too harsh? Perhaps, but if so, tough. If an artist really wants to create work and display it in public, do so, but have the balls to deal with the consequences or get out of the studio. Also, if an artist is so desperate to have someone acknowledge their work as substantial to the point that they fabricate their own spectacular praise, well, then - perhaps they should drop the brush and pick up a microphone en route to the next American Idol auditions where lack of talent seems to be glorified in an "emperor's-new-clothesesque" orgy of self adoration on a continuous basis.

To be fair, the artist did ask me in the email if I were a moron not to see that what she was posting was a quote from a collector praising her work (regardless of the fact that she placed no quotations around the quote or even suggested in the post that she was posting someone else's review).

I still stand by my original observation that she did something stupid and was caught with her hand in the painterly cookie jar so to speak. Oddly enough, she could have easliy cleared up the issue with an explanitory response post at least with a "I'm sorry, I misunderstood the process here" slant to it - but she didn't.

Rather, she waited 6 years to send me a 4 paragraph hate email in the middle of the night.

I can only assume that she must have freed herself from her restraints, chewed through the walls of her padded cell, and made it to the office computer in the middle of the night to do so. . .

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