The Creative Critique
At some point, many artists and craftspeople find it helpful to get feedback on their work from the fresh eyes of frank observers. For those within academia, the critique is built into the curriculum. Outside academia, critique opportunities have to be sought out. In our April/May 2005 issue, you’ll find a thoughtful dialog among four people who are experienced in conducting different types of critiques. Professors Susan Brandeis and Tom Lundberg work with undergraduate- and graduate-level students in the fibers programs at North Carolina State University (Raleigh) and Colorado State University (Fort Collins), respectively. Steven Aimone, an artist and author of Design! A Lively Guide to Design Basics for Artists & Craftspeople (Lark Books, 2004), teaches workshops to a variety of artists (most are “serious, second-career artists”) through Aimone Art Services (www.aimoneartservices.com). Retired professor Helen B. Davis led a community critique group in her living room for twenty-four years.
In the dialog in the magazine, these four experts talk about ground rules for their critiques, creative critique formats, how they balance discussion of technique with discussion of content, and how artists can get the most out of a critique. Here we supplement that discussion with some additional materials.
Susan Brandeis offers suggestions on how to start and maintain a critique group.
Steve Aimone describes the artist contract he uses with workshop participants.
Helen Davis shares a handout of trigger words she uses for stimulating discussion in her critiques.
Tom Lundberg offers a suggested reading list related to evaluating art.