Divorce Your Old Art

by 'Toto' (Aleksina Teto) about a year ago in art

Freeing Yourself Creatively

Divorce Your Old Art
Tons of time is spent on a piece, maybe you're feeling proud, maybe you're feeling done with it and want to get feedback. You put it onto your social media. You wait, ready to receive likes and feedback. Keep glancing and reloading. Are you satisfied? Do you feel validated?

Somehow, I've come across the same message from multiple sources in a matter of 24 hours: 'Ignore feedback.'

Initially this sounds crass and pompous. But, hear me out.

Constructive Feedback Versus Vanity Feedback

It can feel great to instantly get likes on an image or creation. I find myself sucked to my phone, waiting for those dopamine boosts. But then if you don't get much response? Or none? Then what?

To a point, it is valuable to see that there are humans out there who appreciate what you create. Social media can be dangerous though, causing gamification of self expression and art.

Artists can always get better. And, sometimes that takes aspects being pointed out. Having a specific circle dedicated to getting constructive feedback to validate what you are doing well and bring light to your weak points is fantastic. Social media isn't really that circle.

A lot of the time, places like Instagram, Tumblr, or Twitter, if someone doesn't like your piece, or doesn't feel a connection to it, they'll just scroll by. Most likely, they will completely ignore it. Those who do end up enjoying it will hit that like, and might say something stock like 'amazing,' 'love this,' or etc. It can feel great. It can also feel bad when you don't get that on your next piece. And in the end it might have just been tags or audience being the reason for less response, versus a lesser piece.

I am by no means saying don't post. I endorse posting and sharing art. But, don't become reliant on the dopamine it provides.

Getting Stuck in Your Last Piece

Responses for a piece you just made, or lack of a response can create hyper-fixation on the last piece. As much as creating a style can be advantageous, it is also important to have a degree of creative freedom and exploration to help reduce creative blocks and keep the love and enthusiasm of art.

With inktober, I found myself checking in on what I last created, and which ones did better. It ended in me feeling less inspired, because it made me feel like those last posts should dictate what I create next. My mind would still be stuck in my last piece, and the piece before that... and all my posts within the first glance of my feed.

Moving On

Yeah it was just yesterday my last inktober, but I am still going to be in a different head space and be a slightly different person than 24 hours ago.

I was chatting with an ally, and she brought up the concept of a piece being a representation of an older self, maybe even as you finish it. The skill level, the concepts, the techniques, it is all now from your past self. That really hit me.

Every art piece represents a previous self.

First off, this takes stress off me a bit. Maybe that last piece sucked, well this next one is a piece more practiced, and so will the next.

This also frees me to try something completely different. Maybe I'll try practicing more perspective, more animals, more colour studies... Thinking of it as a separate page was an epiphany moment for me.

Ignoring Feedback

Your own feedback on your art can be equally problematic. Staring down like numbers, and a series of images you created can drill in your insecurities. It might be time to move on from your last piece. Maybe you loved it, maybe you hated it, maybe you are kinda split, but dwelling on it isn't very helpful.

There is truth to the fact you have to just keep creating to get better.

There hits a point that if you absorb every critique both personal and otherwise, art will be traumatic for you. Yes, learn more, but don't expect to learn it all in one piece. You can slowly implement what you learn.


Hopefully something I said helped you a little. Though it will still take me some time, I already am feeling a little better about making my next piece.

Enjoy yourself, be creative, have fun.

'Toto' (Aleksina Teto)
'Toto' (Aleksina Teto)
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'Toto' (Aleksina Teto)

A Canadian designer, writer, typographer, and artist.

See all posts by 'Toto' (Aleksina Teto)