By Anthony Feinman
I recently received a book called, What They Don’t Teach in Art School. Both Julie and I are eager to read this book as we are both artists (I studied at SAIC while she received her BA from Eastern in Fine Art). As ASININE was recently released this month, I have sent out some cold email to reviewers as well as reached out to fans that I know currently own our new publication and have asked for feedback.
Some reviewers have contacted me to let me know that their plates are full or that they no longer do reviews. One was favorable and responded that they found the project interesting and would be willing to write a review. Only the review would not be for some time. Perfectly fine to me. At lease I got some responses back which makes me happy. Additionally, while I was researching potential reviewers, I came across a reviewer that stated that he would not and could no longer do reviews. His reviews were not his full time job and it was so overwhelming that he had to stop for his sanity. Totally understandable. After reading his post, I stopped sending out cold reviews.
There are have been a few responses from fans, “Nice work”, “I got mine”, and a smiley emoji. However, the best response we have received is from a shop owner who declared they were not only “excited” to be carrying the comic for a limited time, but that it is “truly a great work of art” and it is recommended. Their initial response when they first read it was “a fantastic piece of work”.
This is the feedback that we are looking for. Though this is certainly high praise, we know there has to be people that may not favor the work. Good or bad, an artist needs feedback.
In, What they Don’t Teach in Art School, there is a segment that talks about learning on how to give critiques in art school. Though this is about students, I feel that this portion can help emphasis my next factoring in contacting people for reviews.
“In order to give good critiques, it’s important to learn to give them. I’ve (the writer, Will Terry) had students who come late to class missing most of the critiques, but at the same time want their work talked about. How is this fair? Most art teachers expect their students to participate in the critique of their fellow students’ work. If you are late or if you choose to remain silent during critiques and expect your work to be critiqued, you are being selfish. You need to be willing to “make a deposit” and risk offending your peers in order to “make the withdrawal” of receiving a critique-it’s only fair”– Will Terry
I recently reached out to a writer who I am also friends with on social media. They are currently releasing a comic series and, too, are looking for reviewers. I sent this writer a message stating that I would be willing to review their recent comic if they reciprocated. The writer wrote back and stated that they do not do reviews. I responded back to them thanks and good luck with their project. No harm and no foul to me. They passed. Yet to me, I figured it would be beneficial if we supported each other, right? They later contacted me and stated that I could still review their comic if I wanted. But that’s the thing, as a small community of indie artist, we need to support each other. He wanted me to support him even though he wasn’t willing to support me. I wasn’t looking for a 20 paged essay but hopefully some comments I could use to tell what others thought of my project and vise versa.
My response to this person after stating I could still review their project was this:
“Hi, (name of person).
I generally do reviews for reviews as we are a community that need to support each other. Reviewers are generally hard pressed to do cold reviews as they are swamped with requests from out of the blue and do them on their own time. A review for a review, I’ve learned, benefits both creators and they are more inclined to support each other this way. Thanks.”
To this I received no reply. What are your thoughts on this? I personally think it only fair if I want someone to review my work, that I should be willing to do the same.
So I send this out to you fellow writers and artists. I am willing to do reviews for reviews. Are you?
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will send you out a PDF of ASININE! if you are willing to do the same with your work.
Let’s help each other and not be afraid of critique or turning down someone willing to help you out because of a myopic view.
As of 01/2021, ASININE! is available at these fine locations online and off line: