I’ve been seeing a lot of people liking/reblogging that Chainsawsuit about Zen Pencils, and I have mixed feelings about it.
First, I have trouble visualizing #criticism’s speech delivered by some of the assholes who have mocked and torn apart my work in the past. The blog post acknowledges that a lot of the criticism artists get is really malicious and cruel and doesn’t come from the “place of love” that Kris says mean criticism often comes from, but that’s not the part people are sharing, in part because I think it undercuts the The Reason You Suck Speech executed in the comic itself.
Second, I feel like bits and pieces of #criticism’s speech are destined to be appropriated by serial mockers the next time a Buckley/Preston/Mookie comes along. I’m sure it’s written to be well-intentioned, but it’s also bad advice that comes across as sanctimonious to me, and I question its effectiveness especially if the criticized artist is the subject of a mockery dogpile on a Zen Pencils level. Even though I severely dislike every ZP comic I’ve seen, I think it’s admirable that he keeps making them even when he knows he’s going to get some amount of shit for each one he uploads.
Third, people ignore that it’s really, really difficult for some artists to not internalize the negative comments made against them. Yes, I am speaking specifically about myself and my chronic anxiety issues. Every single time I decide to finish and upload a comic (ps: the next one is deeply personal, currently 24 pages long and counting), I’m terrified that some “edgy” Internet Celebrity will spread it around for his army of followers to relentlessly analyze and tear down, or s/he’ll alert them to my pseudo-portfolio of furry art so they can have fun deconstructing each piece and making all sorts of wild assumptions about me as a human being. Is the solution simply for me to stop being vulnerable? If so, how do I accomplish this?
I realize that it’s innately satisfying to point out flaws and bitch about other people’s work. I’ve done this myself on numerous occasions. But I think from now on I’ll be either subtweeting my mockery or putting it in a private account, to make it less likely for the people I criticize to be exposed to it. I don’t want to contribute to an atmosphere that prevents sensitive people from being creative, even if it’s a type of creativity I personally dislike.