23 April 2017, afternoon...
The role of the critic seems to have been corrupted, perhaps by the pressures of media sales and ratings figures. Some people rely on critics to tell them what is good and what is not and what to spend their hard-earned money on. Some creative types hate critics both for their pandering and for their seemingly impossible standards.
Both groups have lost sight of the real and vital role the critic plays in the creative process.
When makers and creators produce, they tend to be either too self-critical or not nearly enough so. In other words, they lack objectivity. This is the job of the critic -- to bring objective and constructive criticism to the creative processes. What's good about the work. What's not so good. WHY. The true critic works with the maker, not against.
As for the maker's audience, the critic can inform and educate but should never be seen as the sole arbiter of that which is worthy in the market place. As the cliche goes, "I don't know anything about art but I know what I like." The audience should determine for itself what it likes, weighing the critic's opinions as it sees fit.
The critic who prostitutes himself to the media is no critic at all because he has lost his objectivity. Too often, these critics think they must criticize and never praise; apparently that's what sells.
But for all makers and creators, find yourself one or more good critics with whom you can honestly and frankly discuss your work. A critic who knows about both the technical and aesthetic aspects of your work. A critic familiar with market trends. A critic familiar with what others in your field are doing, or not doing. Your work will benefit from it.
As for the market place, unfortunately, being good at what you do isn't enough. You can produce the most wonderful creations and still not be financially successful. Getting noticed is still difficult. Marketing your work is a whole other conundrum. A good critic can help you with this, too.
Deborah K Smith, PhD
As a self-proclaimed mixed media artist and creative professional, I am in my 3rd career, having spent 15 years as a software developer and another 15 as a university professor. My first love and my most demanding one has always been creating whether it be a drawing, a bit of crocheted lace, a cloth doll, a piece of software, a PhD dissertation, or a piece of digital art. I simply LOVE to make things and I see make and make-over opportunities everywhere. My only regret is that there is no possible way that I can live long enough to make all of the things I see in my mind.