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Submitted on
September 4, 2013
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SYAC - Critical Misstep by TomPreston SYAC - Critical Misstep by TomPreston
Copyright 2013 Andrew Dobson
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I totally understand that this comic will probably come across as a “strawman argument,” and for that I apologize. I really am trying to avoid doing comics like this if I can help it, but this was based on by an actual discussion I had with someone recently and it was just too good to pass up.

You see, there’s been a growing trend I’ve noticed where (critics) seem to deliberately be trying to grossly misinterpret an artist’s work as a way of arguing against it. They’ll tell you that “art is open to interpretation” but then simultaneously blame the artist for not being able to render their work in a way where it couldn’t possibly be misinterpreted. The arrogance and hypocrisy is almost impressive.
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Rethiamat Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014
Art conveyance and art interpretation are fundamentally the two most important aspects of communication between artists and critics. Both have to work in order for communication to be effective. If an artist has done everything they can to convey a joke, message or idea through your work, and just one or two people out of fifty claim that they don't get it, chances are they're just trolling you. Personally, I'd challenge them to do better.

Also, I'm not entirely sure interpretation (or at least initial interpretation) of art is even an active choice, in which case art CAN'T be interpreted in whatever way the viewer wants. It is simply interpreted as the viewer has been conditioned to interpret it.

For example, picture a huge grey city with one flower growing from a crack in the pavement. Is it an example of human engineering not quite shutting out the natural world? Or is it the perseverance of beauty in the face of the mundane against all odds? Could it be both? Or neither? Any two critics could hold different perceptions depending on what they have come to expect from their own experiences. But if one guy out of fifty looks at it once and just says "I don't get it", then that guy just don't have anything worth contributing.

Regarding the "strawman argument": We don't talk about the strawman any more. He's just an annoying distraction.
Rougazen Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014   Writer
Idiocy is a disease that has been ravaging the human race for centuries. Don't let their stupidity get in your way.
ChristinYou Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
Oh these chuckleknuckleheads.... 
Pegasister1029 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Wha.......but...........wha...............wha....................that guy's stupidity.......just...........Llama Emoji-38 (Confused) [V2] 
Spasticpug Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
leadfoot9 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014
I've always believed that the artist's meaning is primary, the consumer's interpretation is secondary, and whether or not the two should even be the same thing is at the discretion of the artist. Some art is beautiful precisely because the is no clear interpretation. Some art is pointless if it cannot be interpreted easily. It depends on the intention and the execution, though most comics fall decidedly near the latter end of the spectrum.

But there will always be misinterpretations of everything, art or not. All that can be done is to choose how dense of an audience it's worth your time to reach
Ask-TDROTI-Manitina Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
haters gonna hate... its a tough world, im not saying this like you should just forget about it because if you do theyll just try to annoy you or anyone else more...

(if they critic you *right word critic?* theyre a hater... not a critic
AlexandraAlex Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Student Filmographer
it hurts dealing with them!!
LisaGreywood Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If they said that verbatim, that was kinda dumb. However, if they just misinterpreted it, told you so, but had no advice for you on how to change it... then you're taking it too hard. I suspect it was somewhere in between those two scenarios though.

There will always be different interpretations of things, and a lot of them won't be what the artist intended. It's asinine to make assumptions about the artist's intentions, especially when the artist clearly states what they did/did not intend. But there's nothing wrong with pointing out different interpretations of a work. True, it's more helpful if they explain exactly why they interpreted it that way, and what you could do to make it harder to misinterpret, but I don't think they're required to be able to give that information if they want to critique you at all. Nor should they act like you owe it to them personally to make the comics easier to interpret.
YgvantheShaper Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
What logic is that!? That's the kind of thinking that causes black holes!
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