Social media has made everyone a critic of everything. The word “critic” used to mean something important but today it’s largely been replaced with the word “troll.” I am writing this piece because I am just sick and tired of all the trolls who have nothing better to do with their time than to attack creatives on social media. It’s easy to see why so many artists give up. You have to be very thick skinned these days. I hope to encourage people to ignore the critics/trolls and to move forward with their own vision, come what may.
“Critics” going after artists because the artist’s approach is unconventional — well that’s certainly not new. Take for example Claude Monet.
Claude Monet is widely recognized as one of the most significant painters in the history of art. His contributions to Impressionism have left an indelible mark on the art world, and his paintings are among the most sought-after and highly valued works of art in existence. Yet had Monet lived during this time frame, he’d have been flamed on Twitter for being different!
In the late 1800s there was no Twitter but there was an established “art caste” — a group of influential people who blessed or didn’t bless artwork. Mr. Monet was never a favorite of that crowd.
One of the main reasons that Monet was rejected as an artist early in his career was due to his unconventional style. Monet was a leading figure in the Impressionist movement, which sought to capture the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere in their paintings. However, the Impressionists’ loose brushwork and emphasis on color over form were widely criticized by the art establishment of the time. Monet’s paintings were considered “unfinished” or “sloppy” by many “critics,” who saw his work as a departure from the classical traditions of painting.
Monet’s unconventional style also made it difficult for him to find buyers for his work. His paintings were often viewed as too experimental or avant-garde for the tastes of the general public. This lack of commercial success was a major source of frustration for Monet, who struggled to make ends meet. Even though his paintings sell for millions of dollars now, he was the very definition of a struggling artist. In fact, Monet was so desperate for money at one point that he had to sell some of his paintings to a local pawnshop just to survive.
Despite these setbacks, Monet refused to give up on his artistic vision. He continued to paint in his unique style, even when it was unpopular or unfashionable. In other words, he ignored the trolls. Over time, Monet’s persistence and dedication to his craft began to pay off. As the Impressionist movement gained popularity, Monet’s paintings became more widely recognized and appreciated. In 1874, Monet’s painting Impression, Sunrise was exhibited at the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris, and the term “Impressionism” was coined to describe the new movement.
Monet’s growing success as an artist also led to a shift in the art market. As more collectors began to appreciate the Impressionists’ innovative approach to painting, Monet’s paintings became more sought-after and valuable. By the end of his career, Monet had achieved enormous success and recognition as an artist, and his paintings were among the most highly prized works of art in the world.
Claude Monet’s journey (like the journey of many famous artists who were not appreciated in their own time — i.e., Vincent Van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer, Paul Gauguin and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec to name a few) to artistic greatness was not an easy one. He faced rejection and criticism throughout his career, and his unconventional style made it difficult for him to find buyers for his work. However, Monet’s persistence and dedication to his craft ultimately paid off, and he became one of the most important artists in history. Monet’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of staying true to one’s artistic vision, even in the face of adversity and rejection. In other words, you do you because everyone else is taken and please, ignore the trolls.