A while ago, I got some complaining about a review I did because of my pickyness of typefaces and a comment I made about the content. It was from a girl who sent me her zine specifically to be reviewed. I gave her a good review before, and she had since added me to Facebook and put a link to TMC on her blog. However, after becoming very defensive of my criticisms, she left a passive aggressive comment on the link on Facebook, which she then deleted me from, and removed my link from her blog. My friend Alysha then said, “Wow, she’d never make it in art school.”
And it’s not art school, it’s in any type of profession, or any creative thing you do really. We are people who grow as we live. We learn every day, we are constantly soaking up information and honing our skills and learning new things.
Criticism is something that is inevitable when you put something out to the public, whether it be a piece of art, a zine, or any type of writing. People will like it, there will always be someone who doesn’t. There will be people who tell you it’s good when they don’t actually think it is and there are people who will tell you what you could do better. This is a part of life, and the sooner you learn to cope with criticism, the better your life (and your skills) will be.
When I first started art school, I was extremely sensitive to criticism. And once you get thrown out there into constant criticism, it becomes second nature, and it’s only then when you realize there is so much to learn, and you have to appreciate the feedback of others if you want to reach your full potential. You can’t be pissy about it and put up a wall, or you will definitely not succeed.
Yes, I have a background in graphic design & illustration, so yes typefaces, layout, and aesthetic quality are things that I am going to pick out. I can’t help it. I know that not everyone is a graphic designer or whatever, but a zine is a piece of art no matter how you think about it. When you are holding it in your hand, the cover is either going to pull you in or deter you from reading it. Everything really does matter. It’s not that it is more important than the content, but for most people, if it looks sloppily put together and has an ugly cover and you can see a million ugly typefaces and backgrounds when you quickly flip through it, they may not get as far as reading the content and put it down without thinking twice.
There was a comment made implying that I’m turning into an art snob, and maybe I shouldn’t be reviewing personal zines. It made me think a lot about my involvement in zines and where the future lies with this hobby. I’ve been making zines since I was 15, and consider it as part of my roots. It was one of my first creative outlets as an angry, angsty teenage girl. I think of it as sort of a foundation. My taste in zines has changed a lot since then, and the majority of my attention has been pulled toward other things, like my impending career in art, painting, singing and writing music. This is why I’m not posting as many reviews as I’d hoped when I started. But I’d like to still write reviews because I love getting zines and I think my criticism is valuable to people who are willing to listen and take it constructively. I don’t want to hurt anyone. It helps me grow as an artist as well, and I think sharing information is vital. We can all learn from each other. Everything is connected.
And I’m not going to say that I’m a perfect artist/writer/reviewer/whathaveyou. I’ve accepted the fact a long time ago that I’ve got many years of learning ahead of me, but I also love to learn and take what I can from others. I crave criticism and am always open to what people have to say about anything I do. Sometimes it can hurt, but that hurt is necessary and you get over it.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if you don’t want your work criticized, don’t fucking send it to me (or any other reviewers) and cry about it when I’m honest.