My favorite class in high school was ceramics. In my beginning ceramics class, while demonstrating how to attach a handle to a mug my teacher told me, “Don’t be afraid to leave your fingerprints on the clay.” As a budding ceramicist, these words changed the way I look at art and the humans who create it. Fingerprints, just like the people who own them, are unique. Too often, we are afraid to leave our “fingerprints” on any type of work we do, whether it be art or otherwise. Afraid of criticism, or maybe just wanting to please society as a whole, we begin to produce works that are bland and common. We cease to be true to ourselves, and we abandon our convictions and beliefs in the name of objectivity or open-mindedness. We’re suddenly afraid to “leave our fingerprints on the clay.”
Whether intentional or not, we leave small pieces of ourselves in everything we create. Critics are quick to point out these so-called flaws; quick to give their opinion why a piece of art should contain certain elements other than the ones portrayed by the artist. To suggest such is to say that the artist herself should have blond hair instead of brown; she should be 5’3” instead of 5’7”. An innumerable amount of characteristics makes up the individuality of a human being. And to criticize such an individual’s creations, artistic or otherwise, is to deny them the right to be human.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." -- Bill Cosby