Yes, I’m An Art Critic

Yes, I’m an art critic. You probably are one too!

What makes me an art critic? What makes YOU an art critic?

Maybe…it’s an eye for a great design or a beautiful painting, or that perfect pillow or card. Maybe it’s that unerring ability to pick out the perfect necktie or shirt or pair of shoes. You like some designs and not others. Maybe you love abstract designs or floral, or coastal and shabby chic, or farmhouse style. Maybe your style embraces lots of bling or understated elegance.

What makes me an art critic is simple: I want to improve my own artwork, so I seek inspiration from examples of artwork that I like where the composition is excellent and the colors all work together in harmony–or at least with no eye-searing clashing. I can, however, handle a little dissonance… I like a wide range of art and artistic styles. I’ve fallen in love with abstract patterns, with impressionist florals, even with stark modern lines.

funny moody flowers sketch on gray

This quirky design was created for the Moody Flowers challenge, but the other one worked better…

Moody Violas on charcoal gray

I entered this design in the upcoming Moody Flowers challenge. I’m sure you can see why!

But along the way, I’ve also said “No, I don’t like this. It isn’t what I’m looking for,” at least a few million times. You’d be surprised at the wealth of images and concepts I’ve rejected as “not what I’m looking for.”

Voting on Spoonflower is all about being an art critic.

This all came into focus for me today in a big way when I went to vote on yet another challenge at Spoonflower: the Bohemian Paradise challenge. I really enjoyed participating in the challenge as an artist. It was fun and I got a lot of mileage out of it in terms of creative inspiration.

I’ve discovered that I can not only vote for a design, I can also love it and add it to a folder for later purchase and use. I’ve voted for and shared my love for a lot of designs since I started participating in the challenges. Just today, I voted for several hundred of my favorite designs–so many great artists entered and shared their spectacular work. From what other participants in the challenges have said, I’ve gotten the impression that I tend to vote for more designs than most voters do.

But I don’t vote for everything and other artists don’t either. Well, why should we?

I’m more likely to vote for a design if:

  • The artwork fits the challenge parameters

Ex: Bohemian Paradise. I had a bit of a struggle figuring out for myself what Bohemian Paradise is, but I worked at it, and I expect the artists whose work I vote for will work at fitting their artwork to the parameters of the challenge too.

Bohemian–well, that’s more of a hippy-themed or ’70s loud design–like that eye-searing floral bathroom wallpaper that could wake you wide up in the middle of the night every single time you had to use the bathroom. I could also see someone doing a riff on Sherlock Holmes’ Scandal in Bohemia, and running with it for this too, but–no one did.

Paradise–well, that can be floral or botanical, and incorporate tropical animals and birds.

If it didn’t have those elements or strongly evoke those styles in some way, I didn’t vote for it.

  • The design makes sense and has cohesion and continuity. It can’t be sloppy.

Ex: I like designs that are large with no repeats. I also like straight or block repeats, half-brick and half-drop designs, but the design has to repeat seamlessly, or I won’t vote for it.

  • I don’t really like most mirrored designs. There are very few mirrored designs that I have run across that look all that great, especially in a swatch. Tie dye is one exception, but it’s hard to replicate digitally in a way that comes off as authentic. Brocade is another, and it’s a little easier, but–I haven’t really seen a lot of brocade designs except in challenges that asked for them specifically. Most of the time, I am unlikely to vote for a mirrored design.

As an art critic, I also have a few pet peeves.

  • I won’t vote for any designs where the subject is nude or inappropriately dressed or engaged in inappropriate behavior.
  • I don’t appreciate sweary designs. They’re against my religion.
  • In real life, I may be a bit of a messy, but messy designs aren’t really my thing. I can live with messy, but I don’t have to like it…
  • I also won’t vote for any design–I don’t care how the art is labeled or altered–if I think it was ripped off another designer. If I have reason to believe that artwork was stolen, I’m also going to report it–and the account that did the deed.

I suspect you may have a few too.

Now that we’re all art critics together, here’s your chance to put those skills to the test. Hop on over to Spoonflower’s Bohemian Paradise challenge and test your skills. I entered my hula elephants (see below). You don’t have to vote for my adorably cute elephants (I’m admittedly biased), but if you like them and you do, I’m happy to accept your vote.

Elephant hula dancers yellow

Click through to view on Spoonflower

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