About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.

25 Comments

  1. I completely agree about ignoring/deleting comments. Some folks love to troll. It happens on many social media sites. The reason for these taunts is unclear. Perhaps the troll feels threatened/envious, or that they merely want to get a rise out of you. Whatever the reason, do NOT take it personally. The hardest lesson I have had to learn (and am still learning at age 46) is You Can’t Please Everyone. Just keep creating work and enjoy the process. Collectors and admirers of your work will follow. For those that do not, delete their negativity and move on.

  2. Thanks Jason – I’m so glad you said your name so I know how to pronounce it now. When the trolls show up keep a cool head and shake it off! The idea about letting others respond to unwarranted criticism is genius. I saw that in action on a friends facebook page. The volume of support for her against the troll’s comment thread attack was awesome! There must have been 300 plus comments in support of her. The poor guy kept trying, but he got shut down over and over by her supporters. Thanks a million!

  3. Great minute! Very timely!! We are dealing with an artist at my gallery who refuses to pay her rent on time for the third month in a row. We’ve made every attempt to talk to her but to no avail. She finally responded with an email to my personal email that was a verbal bomb. I was dumbfounded! She skewered me about everything except the issue of rent payment. My best idea was to write a rebuttal, point by point, and file it in my file cabinet! I felt so much better! Her email has been viewed by my board of directors and we have all decided that she show go. There’s no dealing with crazy. New galleries don’t need negative divas. I learned a lot in this situation! Most importantly, I’ve learned to follow the jury process, trust my board and listen to their wisdom in selecting an artist for their work as well as their temperament.
    I will keep this amazing negative email in a safe place. Frame it? I’ll refer back to it if I ever get cocky about our gallery successes.
    Thanks again for all you do!!!! We look forward to your every info morsel here at WildArt!

  4. Jason,

    After illustrating and making fine art for over 50 years and selling thousands of images I have learned that a piece of art is a performance and the performance is not really finished until it is seen and criticized.
    For some reason everyone has an opinion about art and feels obligated to share that opinion, despite their level of knowledge and taste. Any artist should be aware of the fact that you can’t please everyone and bad reviews are a part of life. Accept those opinions from people who are knowledgeable whether they are positive or negative and ignore the rest. You always learn something from a bad review from a knowledgeable source.

  5. Great minute ! It happens to everyone some time… These are all great tactics . I especially like the “cooling off time ” idea . I have found the closer you are to the person delivering the sting, the more hurtful it is. best thing to do is ignore it – it’s just a tiny part of the wonderful life of being an artist.

  6. Great video. My rule generally is, “don’t feed the trolls.” I was confronted several years back at a solo show of mine by a gentlman who claimed that his cat could do much better than “this cut and paste digital artist.” He didn’t know who I was, which made this a great set up. I don’t mind criticism of my work, I know my work is and can be inflammatory. If you tell me you don’t like it, I appreciate that and will inquire about why or let it go. In this particular case, I when I was told about this man’s cat, my response was, “Sir, you cat is a genius!”

    We both had a good laugh and then I introduced myself to him and thanked him for his critique.

  7. Your advice is very wise. I regret to say that I became the particular target of bitter criticism from another artist who is well-known (in certain circles). We got into a very unwise tit-for-tat on social media in a public forum and in private message exchanges also. I wish I had heard your sage advice back then — before I’m made pointless remarks that I afterwards regretted making. You really cannot know what motivates someone to indulge in a vicious attack, and as you noted, Jason, one won’t persuade the critic to change his mind by a rebuttal. Rebuttal only makes the adversary more determined and more aggressive.

    The person who attacked me rendered his attacks very personal, and his motive was impossible to discern. I afterwards decided that he got some sort of psychological charge from the behavior — perhaps it addressed his insecurities — maybe he needed to lord it over others, to vaunt a quality of authority that he wanted to project. But I’d have been wise to have responded with dignified silence. Instead I succumbed to anger and felt rather embarrassed in retrospect. I had good cause to be angry. What he said to me was outrageous. But venting that anger was foolish on my part.

    The internet is such a new medium. In charity I judge that we are learning how to use it. You don’t know who you’re addressing, have no “body language” to help you interpret another person’s motives, and misunderstandings and disputes can arise easily. So courtesy, caution and diplomacy are smart tactics to employ. Anyway, I did at least learn my lesson. I am wiser now! Anyone who heeds your advice will, however, be wiser without having had to learn the hard way ….

    Whenever you take the high road, you will feel better about the episode later when you view the matter from a distance. Not letting yourself be swayed by anger will make you a more resilient person. Let the aggressor get the ulcer!

  8. Thanks Jason,
    Fortunately I have not had to deal with trolls yet on my blog or my comments on others’ blogs. But it’s nice to have these reassuring words and solid advice in the event that I do.

  9. Thank you for this good advice Jason. In my career as pharmacist I found the best way to handle verbal criticism was to agree and outweigh. “I am not surprised that you feel like that, if I had that experience I would feel exactly the same as you do. Now, what can we do to put it right?” Nine times out of ten it worked. The other time, well, you can’t win ’em all. I agree that to ignore the trolls is the best advice of all. They are not worth the effort.

  10. Thanks for an execellent blog. I couldn’t agree more with the person who posted “don’t feed the trolls.” I find, for myself, I’m fairly thin-skinned and have to cope with the ouches when and if they happen. To capture and keep the thoughts about how to respond instead of react is most welcome.

  11. Sometimes negative feedback or rejection such as with an art director or gallery is not so much a reflection on your work but on what is their requirements at the time. Your type of art is not what sells or is needed for a project. I agree with Jason that engaging in further explanatory conversation may be instructive. If not just say “thank you for your input” and go about your business. Critique is contructive and different from a random blast. Consider the source and evaluate the comment. Trolls want publicity and venting their feelings – don’t accommodate. No-one likes to be criticized negatively but occasionally it is merited, random rants are not.

  12. Hi Jason,
    Thank you for taking the needed time to address this and offer valuable advice. I throughly appreciate all of your knowledge that you share in your videos and blog. Thank you again.

    Sincerely,
    Jessica Speer
    L.B.Paintings

  13. Jason, I always enjoy reading your emails and hearing your blogs. I had actually responded to this at an earlier date but find your words once again beneficial. I appreciate the time you give and the advice which is always spot-on. Maureen Jistel.

  14. The Internet provides the ideal platform for rudeness and clinical personality disorders. Trolls can be as vicious as middle school bullies and there is no actual consequence for them being a jerk. Response feeds their rage like a drug – understand an ill mannered critic has no value to you.
    This is one reason I have dropped most forum participation and don’t blog myself. The positive reviews I have on my books far outweigh the minor negatives.
    An artist must have a firm sense of self worth no criticism can puncture; no fragile egos. Beyond all that, engaging is such debate is a total waste of your time and a distraction that will throw you off focus. Don’t let it.

  15. excellent advice! some folks always get up on the wrong side of the bed every morning! I do not have a blog, maybe I should, but if I ever have one, I will certainly remember your video.. And I think your book offers very good advice. I am working through it!
    my pet peeve, and why I stopped doing outdoor shows, is “My Aunt Mary can do better than that” my answer is usually, a smile and no reply, as how can I counter dear Aunt Mary?

    Jackie, the firm sense of self worth is SO important

  16. Thank you, Jason. Your post is spot on. When attacked for no reason, it helps me to remember that it has nothing to do with me or my art. It has everything to do with the attacker. Usually it means they don’t have much self-confidence and go through life feeling threatened. They either attack or try to control Everything, including me, you, our art, or anything they wish they could do as well as we do. The sad thing is that they probably could do as well as we do if they quit trying to control Everything. Don’t feed the trolls. Nothing another person does can ever assuage their hunger. Forgive, forget, and move on.

  17. You have described the best life skills to handle any situations in life. Fuelling the argument is never a solution. Thank you for your video.

  18. One step better than to wait a day before responding, is to write a response but DON’T SEND IT! That way you get the thing off your chest. Then you can come back and review it the next day — and probably decide not to send it, or to send something much more civil that addresses only the point, very coolly.

  19. Great post. One time after a class I taught I cried on my flight home because of a vicious personal attack on my class critique. Despite 99% good I focused on this one and allowed myself to be very hurt. But I did learn the lesson and am grateful for the learning experience. Sometimes these things say more about the commenter then you. Thanks again.

  20. Excellent video. Thank you Jason. Harsh criticism is never fun for me. I agree that I can thank my critics for the exercise they give me and thickening of my skin, and occasionally even improving my artwork. As a rule of thumb I do Ignore the trolls, and others who “choose to remain anonymous.” I may write a response, but I also have a 48 hour rule. In other words, 48 hours later I will review the situation and make an appropriate decision about actually sending a response.
    In person, I agree that NOT responding to the inflammatory aspects is most helpful. If the person is persistent, obviously acting under his or her own agenda, I step forward, look the critic directly in the eye, smile, and say “I will give that all the consideration I believe it deserves.” And then I move on.
    I also believe that a generous and accommodating return policy is one that is very seldom invoked.
    Your take on this question is pertinent not only to the art world, but to life in general. Thanks again

  21. Jason, Thank you for your blogs. I have kept all of them. I have read this one before, but that is the beauty of electronics, I can reread them. This is not only good advise for working with the public but also in our personal lives. Thanks again.

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