How to give feedback to artists when it’s called for!

The art sandwich technique makes your feedback easier to digest for all those vulnerable artists out there who bravely expose their art to you. It is a technique when you give praise either side of the feedback. This is not about judging whether you like the art or not, because giving feedback is not about you, it’s about them, so it’s important to wait until you are invited to give feedback. Treat all artists equally, so you are deemed credible for imparting impartial feedback that will be valued.

The Art Sandwich

The bread

Even if you don’t like a piece of art, dig deep to find something that you genuinely like about it – admire what’s working. Ask questions about it to understand it better – has the primary goal been achieved? Talk about something that catches your eye or the craftsmanship. Be honest but please don’t mention the frame!

The filling

Only make one or two suggestions. Say something that you think they could improve, something specific to the artist. What they could do better, say what you think would make the most difference in the piece. Look at the problem areas. Ask about the artist’s goals, motivations and what actions they could take. Make sure the feedback is helpful. Be kind, this is not a criticism and remember you could be wrong about what the piece needs.

The bread

Say something else more general that you appreciate about their art. Explain how the artwork makes sense to you and how their ideas could flourish? Remind the artist of their strong points. Encourage the artist and leave it on a positive note.

Receiving feedback

Remember – if you are the poor vulnerable artist who finds yourself on the receiving end of feedback, you need to be open-minded to suggestions, listen carefully and ask questions.


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