How to Listen to Criticism
Back when I was sculpting for a living, I did this sculpture of Elvis. The sculpture was flown down to Memphis where it was scrutinized by the licensing department at Graceland. The marketing person took one look at it and barked this criticism: “The mouth is all wrong!” then stormed out of the room. Apparently, she was in a hurry.
Elvis’s mouth is iconographic. If it’s off, the whole face is off. I took the sculpture back to my studio and studied it. However offensive and ineloquent her delivery was, she was right. The mouth was wrong, but not because of the mouth. The left cheek was not high enough. I added an inch of clay and with that one change—-voila!—-the whole sculpture fell into place.
As a sculptor, I have learned this: many people know when something is wrong, but few people know how to fix it. An artist who has mastered her craft knows where to look. If someone tells me the eyes are not right, most likely it’s the mouth that needs work. If the criticism involves the arms, the problem may likely be in the hips. If you change one, you change them both.
Gilligan’s Eyes ~ a journey into character, an exercise in seeing
When I googled Gilligan’s Island there were over four million hits. I found essays comparing the show to just about everything including Jean-Paul Satre’s, No Exit. Another popular theory persuasively argues that the castaways represent the seven deadly sins. There was more than one piece that reported at length on the “Homosexual Agenda of Gilligan’s Island,” and an essay entitled, “A Scholarly Critique of the Style, Symbolism and the Social Political Relevance of Gilligan’s Island,” by Lewis Napper, a libertarian who ran for a Senate seat in Mississippi.
What really matters is the passionate pursuit of something you love.
This is my studio. When I’m not walking my dog, this is where I am and every time I open the door and walk in I think, “Ah, this is where I belong.”