The art world is full of beauty, but it is also full of conflicting opinions. Artists are inspired by many things and put their heart and soul into their work, so it can be difficult for them when they are judged so harshly. Controversy is one thing that can go either way for an artist.
In some cases, it can make them one of the most sought-after artists within their chosen medium. For others, strong controversy can also effectively ruin their career with very little chance of them making a comeback. How they handle themselves in the midst of the crisis will be the determining factor.
Controversy in the Art World
The art world has always been a hotbed of controversy. From the desecration of religious symbolism to racism, it can be found in every art form. While there are some artists who pride themselves on finding and utilizing the “shock factor”, others are seriously just trying to create works of art that share what they are feeling or will inspire others to think outside of the box.
In some ways, controversy is a good thing. It allows people to see another perspective. They may even learn a lesson or two about how others view the world around them. Controversy and criticism go hand in hand in many instances. Learning from both can be difficult, but it’s a lesson well worth learning. Respect and understanding are the keys to getting along in the art world and most other aspects of your life.
Everyone Has an Opinion
Everyone has an opinion based on their own personal beliefs. The key is learning to respect another person’s viewpoint without trying to force them to agree with yours. Not everyone will like the same music you do. Nor will they like the same type of art or style. Respect is key, especially when maintaining firm boundaries.
One person does not have the right to force their opinions on others, but it happens in the art world a lot more often than people like to admit. Just because someone states their opinion, it shouldn’t always be taken as a challenge to defend your own. This is what has started many of the biggest controversies in the art world over the last few years.
Violation of Rights or Simply Hurt Feelings
When it comes to controversy in the art world, the question must be asked. Does a piece of art violate someone’s rights or is it simply hurting their feelings? They may find something offensive, but in essence, there is nothing that violates their personal rights.
While there are times when a rights violation is apparent, in many cases, it is a case of hurt feelings that allows a person to get carried away. Instead of lashing out, take a step back and try to see the artist’s point of view. Even if you don’t agree with what their artwork portrays, you may be violating their rights by trying to suppress their ability to express themselves.
How Accusations Affect the Artist
Accusations and controversy can have a detrimental effect on the artist as well. Many do not create works of art to cause problems. They create what brings them joy or give credence to what has inspired them. Creating art, in any form, is one of the highest, most pure forms of self-expression.
Artists often have a hard time defending themselves because they know they will be judged no matter what excuse or reason they use to defend themselves. Some would almost rather let their detractors have their moment so they will eventually walk away. Others may take a firm stand, but the toll of trying to explain themselves may end up costing them dearly.
Artists like Ashley Longshore understand where accusers are coming from. She also hopes they are capable of seeing the artist’s point of view. While some people may see racist elements, it was never the artist’s intention for them to be taken that way. She has learned many valuable lessons since holding her first art exhibit. As an artist, it’s essential to always be true to yourself and your art. Be mindful of the judgment of others, but don’t let it define you.