Trying to Make Sure Your Core Fans Never Heard Of You: The Art of Criticism

There was an interesting discussion on this weeks inkstuds between David Brothers, Brandon Graham, and Frank Santoro about the intertwining of criticism and art, and in it I think criticism was more lumped in with something like Journalism and that there were certain attendant ethics perhaps.  That’s a bad summary.  Go listen to the episode.

Criticism and art are for me two separate things: inhaling and exhaling.  If I stopped either, I would suffocate.  They are both separate things and the same thing.  I also think that all criticism is the obfuscation of intent behind the altruism of describing something pure, which is art.  Which is to say I think all criticism is lying.  All criticism is a battle that you wage, uphill, to shape the spaces around art.  Criticism is a violent action.  Both toward art, and the audience of criticism. 

The only difference between good or bad criticism is in how beautifully you can convince a reader of the point of view you are imposing upon them.  Critics are grotesque monstrocities that exist because of the need of a large number of people to have the inexplicable made explicable.  Criticism is fundamentally for those who don’t have the time to know, or don’t have the inclination to know, and so would rather be told.  So to say there are ethics involved in any of it, I’m not so sure.  Maybe art is like this too in a way.  Criticism is perhaps the kind of art that needs other art to leach off of.  Maybe it is the most important art form.  hmm.  either way, I don’t think there are any ethics to it.

For me criticism is just the explication of my point of view as an artist on the world of art around me, and my clumsy way to create the spaces I want to see for comics not to be lame to me.  My interest with criticism is to refine my own language as an artist, and to understand my language even through the work of others.  It is a completely selfish pursuit.  And everything I write critically is with utmost malice toward the comics culture those pieces exist within.

I’m not a nice person.

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1 comment
  1. Wally said:

    I’m not usually beguiled by literary criticism, but this is wonderful wonderful stuff. Keep up the good work.

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