COMPARING & DESPAIRING / by Jack Mawdesley

From the very beginning, right at the point where the light of day passed through our eyes, we were being presented with perspective, being informed and influenced by everything that stood in sight. Everything was learning, our brains began harvesting everything from our senses that it needed to develop, and surely, we became the creative individuals that are sat here today and presented with this piece of text.

Comparing and Despairing, it often occurs when we regard our artwork with the artwork of others, in particular, those who are further along with their careers than ourselves and perhaps more artistically developed or successful. As artists, we are naturally tuned to criticise ourselves rather than to praise, frankly put, that is part of how we develop. BUT! Not without the knowledge of how to do so effectively.  

It is a natural process for creative individuals to seek out inspiration from other creatives, of all calibre. It is a vital act of what informs the progression of our work and aids the discovery of oneself artistically; whether that's reading a book, browsing a magazine, scrolling a web page or attending an exhibition, a seminar or any gear of visual delivery for that matter.

The effective way to respond when viewing the work of others is to critique. By doing so we take on what we need to need to develop, and when appropriate, give what we believe we can from perspective.

Similarly to the process of critiquing, there is a real act of discipline that should be initiated when regarding the work of others, in order to avoid the act of self-disparagement. Personally, one would argue in these instances (if not all) that we should never regard our work directly with the work of others. The work of others is there for us to admire, appreciate and to critique, not to regard with our own, this is where a creative individual will often find them themselves comparing and despairing their work, and can be a deeply hampering affair.

To compare and despair our artwork directly with the artwork of perhaps a more seasoned and achieved other, is not only completely irrelevant to yourself as a developing artist, but undoubtedly a die-cast way to open-fire on ones own work in a reckless manner.

It is wonderful to get totally wrapped up in the admiration of someone's work, to celebrate, to talk about and commend, but in the world we live in today, where there is more work out there than ever, and with the power of the digital media putting it all directly into the palms of our hands, it can be far too easy for us to discourage ourselves by the acclaimed prestige of others if we do not know how to review and respond healthily. 

The creative field of the Arts is a subjective one. No matter what Art, it is open to the masses, where there is no real right or wrong, just the artist...