Evaluate and Move On

After walking through the seasonal local potters guild show last night, there’s a question that’s been left hanging over my head… 

“How would a person know if their work is bad if they themselves think it’s good?”

Ridiculous question, but I believe it’s a version of the Dunning Kruger Effect, we just don’t know what we don’t know. I’ve met too many “want to be craftsmen” that truly thought they were making high-craft, but were instead making garbage, too many too not question my own judgment regarding my own work. 

Just because I enjoy the work that’s coming out of the sessions, doesn’t imply that it’s worthy of consideration by anyone other than myself. It’s also is questionable whether I’m qualified to make any judgments beyond self reflective. I may know what I like when I see it, but I also know that artists can be a touch post rational when it comes to their own work, this can swing towards being unreasonably positive regarding the results, but it can also instead be inappropriately harsh. 

The point I was moving towards was questioning how a person would know if their work was any good… the easy answer is “Does it really matter?” This is fundamentally an issue of the personal subjective taste of an artist and the responsibility of developing the skills needed to satisfy that taste. Unfortunately this also means that it opens up the artist to the judgements of others when they choose to share their efforts. While anyone can call themselves an artist, natural affinities towards sofistication and good taste are rare and those with the talent to back up those natural affinities are even rarer.

Yeah… Well there’s always the option of not showing the work regardless of how good it is or isn’t, despite what is often repeated, art doesn’t need to be shared for it to be art.

So note to self… When in doubt, draw what’s there, make decisions, evaluate what’s been done, move on… make more work. That’s what you are doing anyway, don’t overthink it.

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