Who decides if your artwork is good enough or not?

This is a question I wrangle with very often. I work in an environment where part of my job is to decide whether artwork meets specific criteria or not. I am surrounded by art students, and artists who happen to be teachers as well, who are constantly making decisions about whether their own and anyone else’s artwork is “good enough” or not. Good enough to meet the assessment criteria, in the case of our students or good enough for public consumption in the case of their own work.


We don’t grade work based on whether we personally think it is good art or not, though I guess the next question is “good enough for what?” but we’re all asking it, all the time.

I rarely share my work with my colleagues and they rarely share their’s with me, which you would think is mad because what a perfect audience to garner opinion from. Well in fact it’s the opposite, a group of people whose jobs are to critique artwork, whose jobs are to teach students how to improve their drawings, or other artistic practice are not necessarily the eyes you want scrutinising your own personal endeavours. Whether you trust it or not. You’re teaching students how to be better artists, what if your colleagues don’t think you are a good artist?


Art is a very personal subject, you are making yourself vulnerable to criticism when allowing your work to be seen and for people to have an opinion on. The question isn’t being answered based on fact, it’s mainly on opinion and those are the things that can hurt us, or boost us in equal measure.

As an artist/designer/maker I guess my customers decide if my artwork is good enough or not. If they buy it and like it, then the answer is “yes” it is good enough, good enough to be sold and enjoyed. For someone who makes artwork for an audience the true measure is if it sells. It doesn’t always sell so it isn’t always right and that’s ok. I can only talk about my own experience and not someone who works with a client so much.

In the long run, the main audience is you, not all artwork and ideas will see the light of day and you will make the decision about whether it is good enough or not to be made, created, produced or exhibited.

So I guess what i’m trying to tell you, and convince myself of, is that you decide whether it is good enough or not and let that be the only opinion that you trust. And do trust it. In the grand scheme of things, you’re the one who cares about it the most and you always will be.

I’d be really interested to know how you deal with the issue yourself if you’d like to comment, i’ll be sure to reply.


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