An Artists Relationship With Their Art

Friend, Fan, or Foe? An Artist’s Relationship With Their Art – #4

Last week, I asked artists about handling rejection. This week, I wanted to take a deeper look at how we, as artists, perceive how people react to our art and our relationships with them. Are they a friend, our fan, or a foe?

I’ve often thought that if someone didn’t like my art, then obviously they didn’t like me either. I learned through trial and error, that this is not often the case. I’ve learned that someone may really like spending time with me and being my friend, and only like some (or none) of my art. I’ve also learned that I can really like someones art and not really like the person who made it.

I really believe that art speaks for the artist in many ways. And if I don’t believe in the artist behind the work, I will often not like their work any more and its disheartening. I’m thankful this has happened only very rarely.

I wondered what other artists think about this. Their answers follow:

I would love to hear your answer to the question “If someone doesn’t like your art, does that mean they don’t like you?” Post your answer in the comments below.

If someone doesn’t like your art, does that mean they don’t like you?

Vas Littlecrow: It depends on the person.  For the most part if someone doesn’t like your art, it’s a matter of personal taste more than any criticism of the creator’s character as an individual. –


Delisa Carnegie: No it doesn’t. There are many artists that I like them but their art isn’t my style. It isn’t bad, it just isn’t something I would hang on my wall. Just like some of my friends have opinions I don’t agree with. There are artists that make things I like, but are obnoxious prats I wouldn’t want to hang out with. Art is kinda like opinions, some you agree with and some you don’t, no matter where they come from. –


Charlene Slimp: For me, it’s not so much disliking my art that tells me if someone likes me as a person or not, it’s whether or not they can understand my art. Not liking my art is just a matter of taste. There are artists out there who do some things that I love and some things that I don’t like at all, but that doesn’t reflect on how I feel about them as a person. I find that if I like them as a person, I at least know them well enough to understand the pieces that I don’t like. –


Kesha Bruce: Not at all.  I can like someone, enjoy spending time with them, and find them to be absolutely charming.  That doesn’t mean I will like their singing voice or the way they dance. I know plenty of lovely, very talented artists whose work I just don’t like.  It’s a question of personal taste.  It doesn’t mean I don’t find them to be absolutely delightful human beings. –


Abigail Markov: Good god, I’d hope not! Otherwise, my husband doesn’t like me much at all. –



Tori Deaux: If a stranger liked my art, would that mean they like me? No way! They wouldn’t even know me.  It’s not reasonable to look at it in reverse, either.

People like art for all kinds of reasons, most of which probably have very little to do with who I really am.  Even my husband looks askance at my art sometimes – and I know he likes me! –

I would love to hear your answer to the question “If someone doesn’t like your art, does that mean they don’t like you?” Post your answer in the comments below.

Join us next week as we delve deeper into our relationships with our art!

Next weeks topic: “Defining the Relationship” Sign up to receive free updates.


    1. Emily Rose

      Peter, can you elaborate as to why you hate people who don’t like your art?

  1. Peter Crowell

    I was only kidding. I don’t really feel that way. I bet I’m the only person in the world who thought my comment was funny.

    But it’s a really important question, because criticism can be tough. I remember the first time someone posted a scathing amazon review about my book. It was temporarily crippling. For me, it carried a fear of total failure, as if I was about to be swallowed up in the ocean of the forgotten.

    Not pleasant. And I suppose it did trigger a vague form of hatred among other things. But mostly it was a very important an incredibly helpful experience.

    No, I don’t hate people who don’t like my art. I honestly can’t understand them, but I don’t hate them.

    ‘nother joke there. Heh.

    1. Emily Rose

      Heh. I’m terrible at making jokes so don’t feel bad.

      Thank you for the explanation. I once had someone argue with me about a poem I wrote and that kept me from posting more. I’m still leery of publicly posting my poetry, but plan to do it anyway when I find the time, the only way to get over a fear is to face it.

  2. jessica serran

    Peter — you beat me to it. I saw the tweet for this post and my first thought was…

    “no, it means that they suck!”…. ;) i can only hope that those semi-colon and bracket keystrokes convey the sarcasm….

    If someone doesn’t like my art it’s often a great starter to a conversation… It’s nice, and fascinating, and often very illuminating to hear another articulate what they don’t like, or why it might rub them the wrong way…


    1. Emily Rose

      Jessica, Thank you for the input – do you think you would change anything about your art based on their feedback?

  3. jessica serran

    Mmmm… great question Emily.

    I’m very careful about when I show my work to people. I usually won’t invite in any feedback during the process, or in the middle of a piece. That’s something that I’ve known to avoid for a long time…

    But when someone is looking at the work after it’s finished, it depends for me on what they are communicating and how much I feel like they really understand the work. The most helpful thing for me is feedback that helps me to better understand what I’m doing. I know well enough that if I “try” to change anything, or make the work go in a specific direction, it loses its vitality.

    I guess my answer, which I’m grateful to be considering now, is that feedback must enter my creative stream in a very organic way. And I have to feel like the feedback is ultimately in service of the work’s own evolution, and my own evolution as an artist, and not coming from a place of personal preference on the part of the feedback-giver.

    Feedback that comes from a desire for the work to be something other than it is isn’t helpful for me…

    Thanks for asking!

  4. Cindetta

    It’s a hard question for me right now because I’ve gotten good feedback from fellow artists but just a few days ago a “friend” said he didn’t like some of my paintings when I asked him and his wife to an opening I was involved in with two other artists. To previous invitations he told me they didn’t have wall space for more art and this time I said just come and enjoy the event, don’t worry about buying anything. That’s when he said he didn’t like some of my art which made me think he felt some pressure from me which was unintended. I’m in the process of trying to not take his comment personally by explaining to myself that he’s not an artist and the art he hangs in his home is inherited from family and has sentimental value to him. But I wouldn’t judge his taste in the art he has either; he’s entitled to his opinions and taste. I don’t like him much right now for being so blunt. If he were a stranger and said the same to me I’d probably still be somewhat offended but not rationalize so much and that may depend on if he had some artistic background and if I felt like questioning him about his opinion. Lot’s of ifs here! Not sure if I care if I’m liked personally, it’d be nice but not necessary.

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