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Today I Will Listen to the Hearts of Others Creativity Advice

kristena briem-west creative arts creativity criticism how to start an art practice overcoming criticism protecting your creative process self-esteem shadow artists support the arts teaching art teaching creativity wizard of oz

When I was at junior college to study fine art, fashion design & commercial art I had work study grants. I was the art instructors assistant in art & design classes and commercial arts. I was supposed to “help” the students with their art projects. Since I was the youngest student there, just turned 18 and knew next to nothing, with some of the students being in their 50’s and older, I asked, ” How do I help them?” I was told to, ” listen to them and help them.” Yikes.

But I learned very fast that for me, it was to really listen to them: I’m stuck, These colors do not work, the composition is wrong, I don’t know what to do next, I messed it up, I’m not a artist, If I do anything else I might ruin it, I give up!”

What did I know? I was taking the same class at another time. So I asked them questions, I might take a design element and place it here or there and ask, “What do you think of that?”, “What about that color there?” People always knew what they liked. I just encouraged them. I never critiqued their work, or negated them in any way. Only encouragement. Forty years later, teaching and working with blocked creatives, it’s still “The Way of Encouragement.”

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