Bits & Pieces (12/28/2011)

| December 28, 2011

Those who can do, do. Those who can teach, teach. Those who can’t do and can’t teach should learn. Those who can’t do, can’t teach, and won’t learn, have no business criticizing others.

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Category: All Posts, Bits & Pieces

About the Author ()

Guy Tal is a published author and photographic artist. He resides in a remote part of Utah, in a high desert region known as the Colorado Plateau – a place that inspired him deeply for much of his life and that continues to feature in his images and writing. In his photographic work, Guy seeks to articulate a reverence for the wild. He writes about, and teaches, the values of living a creative life and finding fulfillment through one’s art.

Comments (7)

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  1. Milton says:

    Yes, I agree completely

  2. Jim Bullard says:

    That pretty much includes all the professional critics doesn’t it?

  3. Boyan says:

    Methinks that constructive (or merely well-intentioned) criticism should be welcomed even when it comes from those who can’t do, can’t teach, and won’t learn. Rational response to criticism is the lifeblood of any thinking human. You can choose to ignore it after thoughtful examination. However, when large numbers of people consistently tell you one thing you should ignore it only with great trepidation.

  4. Guy Tal says:

    Thanks, guys!

    Jim, I suspect it includes many of them but not all. Critics play an important role in explaining the work to the public. As such, their value to society (bombastic, I know) is directly correlated with the degree to which they truly understand the work. Many don’t; some do.

    Boyan, I don’t think that such a statement can be made in a deterministic way. A short account of the history of any human culture will show that at various times the majority was utterly and completely wrong, and that it took courageous individuals to defy common notions in order for progress to be made. Trepidation is one thing, but ignoring popular opinion is a completely valid choice.

  5. Anil Rao says:

    I believe it is important for an artist to provide some explanation or background for their work. Doing so enables the ‘interested’ viewer (who might be a critic or just someone from the general public) to better appreciate the artwork.

    Too many artists hold the high and mightly opinion that a good piece of art doesn’t need any explaining. I must admit that I am baffled by their motive.

  6. Boyan says:

    Anil, I agree with your point, except that this problem is not constrained to artists, but to all professions. Too many marginally talented people feel that their work speaks for themselves. As a favor to a relative I was once reviewing the resume of a freshly minted PhD. I gently suggested that instead of listing everything they have ever worked on they may wish to a) provide a summary of critical skills relevant to the position b) for each past position list a one-sentence highlight. The answer was rather arrogant — “if they want highlights they should read my publications”. I promptly deleted the emails from this person, and if my experience is any guide 99% of hiring managers will simply toss the resume into the trash, I know I would.

    Guy: yes, ignoring popular opinion is a completely valid choice. As you say there are numerous examples throughout history where the consensus opinion has been utterly and completely wrong. Unfortunately for most of us the odds of being that insightful are far worse than hitting the lotto jackpot. At the same time, the examples of popular opinion being right are much more common. None of this means slaving to popular opinion, I think that both of us agree that the key word is “ignore with trepidation”.

  7. Guy Tal says:

    Still not sure I agree. It’s one thing to risk imprisonment or death for defying social norm. That is not the case in art today, though. I would say that if you have complete faith in your way, ignore the norm with conviction and perseverance.