The Secret Life Behind Closed Doors - Paintings Of Privacy In The Big City

Born and bred in Los Angeles, California, Seth Armstrong is an American artist who understands life in an urban city. Behind the hustle and work-centric lives of people, resembling machines more than anything else, the artist has attempted to open a window into the secret lives these people hold.

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Ann Friedman’s Disapproval Matrix for handling criticism is a thing of genius, not to mention essential internet-age literacy. She explains:

Critics: These are smart people who know something about your field. They are taking a hard look at your work and are not loving it. You’ll probably want to listen to what they have to say, and make some adjustments to your work based on their thoughtful comments.

Lovers: These people are invested in you and are also giving you negative but rational feedback because they want you to improve. Listen to them, too.

Frenemies: Ooooh, this quadrant is tricky. These people really know how to hurt you, because they know you personally or know your work pretty well. But at the end of the day, their criticism is not actually about your work—it’s about you personally. And they aren’t actually interested in a productive conversation that will result in you becoming better at what you do. They just wanna undermine you. Dishonorable mention goes to The Hater Within, aka the irrational voice inside you that says you suck, which usually falls into this quadrant. Tell all of these fools to sit down and shut up.

Haters: This is your garden-variety, often anonymous troll who wants to tear down everything about you for no rational reason. Folks in this quadrant are easy to write off because they’re counterproductive and you don’t even know them. Ignore! Engaging won’t make you any better at what you do. And then rest easy, because having haters is proof your work is finding a wide audience and is sparking conversation. Own it.

The general rule of thumb? When you receive negative feedback that falls into one of the top two quadrants—from experts or people who care about you who are engaging with and rationally critiquing your work—you should probably take their comments to heart. When you receive negative feedback that falls into the bottom two quadrants, you should just let it roll off your back and just keep doin’ you.

Complement with Benjamin Franklin’s trick for neutralizing critics, Daniel Dennett on how to criticize with kindness, and Anne Lamott’s definitive manifesto for handling haters.

People had a real problem with my disinterest in submission.

Alice Walker

Quote is from her film Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth, which I live tweeted and you can see those tweets in my Storify: Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth (Film). I love this quote since people immediately associate this with cishet Black male dominance in heterosexual relationships for Black women when she means shrinking herself in general. Not being a full person. She rejects the notion of that submission.

Her early life, writing life, activism, romantic relationships (with multiple genders), pleasures and pains of motherhood (though Rebecca isn’t in the film; I think her perspective on their difficult relationship in adulthood should’ve been there) and her perspectives on life were included. It’s really a poetic and interesting portrait of a remarkable and of course imperfect person, a full human being, a Southern Black American woman. Some of the most difficult areas discussed were how she moved into “fame” after The Color Purple (which is not her only book or first book; just most known) but faced intraracial backlash, her role as an oppressed person in the West but with a Western gaze on FGM and her early warmth but adulthood difficulties with her daughter. And visually? The film is really beautiful. Great mix of iconic images and motion. Music? Some Nina played so it was all good. 

Study: Liking Trashy Movies Means You’re Smarter Than Average

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, which is a real school in Frankfurt and not a discarded jumble of words from a Wes Anderson movie, found that people who like to engage in ironic viewing of films and television shows they fully understand to be “bad” are generally people with above-average intelligence. 

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