Instagram Comments #001

ErikaLee_Art - Jeanine

CritHub is on Instagram!

Erika is a student with a busy schedule — so busy that she couldn’t fit AP Studio Art into her regular coursework. She decided to enroll in the course independently and to build her portfolio on her own time. Though she doesn’t have the benefit of classroom critiques, she’s instead made a proactive use of her Instagram audience. I was impressed that she knew exactly what context to give about her work and what feedback to request: just like the prompts we use for our CritHub submission form. I felt compelled to reach out to her and critique her post!


Artist: Erika / @erikalee_art
Critique Format
: 45 minutes / Instagram comment
Requested Feedback: Color / Composition / Content


The first thing I considered was the grid. At first glance I thought it was a technical tool for rendering, but then the blank and filled spaces started to inform me of your concept – gaps of knowledge about a person, fragments of understanding, things that are covered up or blacked out – hidden from our knowledge. I think that the grid works as a baseline, but that you could push the idea: people may compartmentalize parts of their lives into neat boxes, but so much more is imprecise, messy, frayed. I think the taped lines start to achieve this – the torn edges hint at the inexact ways that people might cover up parts of their lives. The continuation of these lines beyond the picture plane add to your concept I think – it suggests that there is missing knowledge that we don’t even know that we don’t know, as opposed to the unfilled boxes – the missing information that we are aware that we don’t know.

Now, onto the composition itself. I think the biggest element you could further develop is your value ratios. The piece is mostly white with sparse greys ranging from 5% to maybe 15%, with the central figure developed from mostly white to maybe 90% near-black. The result is a high contrast face with what I think is an under-developed background. Though conceptually, it logically follows that you would know the physical person much more than the details surrounding them, I think for visual harmony, it would make sense to further develop your value ranges in the face and background to include the middle greys (~15% to 75%). This could be done with a central burst – a sort of reverse vignette – or perhaps something more cubist and scattered. You could perhaps consider layering the tape to create nuances of value and hue – perhaps by painting the dark brown onto tape layers, then covering it again, tearing off bits here and there to convey the imprecision of how we cover ourselves from others. As is, I think the darkest blocks need something to integrate them into the composition more fluidly, because I think they look too much like tape and not enough like elements used to convey your concept.

I’m out of characters in this comment!

– Chris @ CritHub


Check out Erika’s work on Instagram:

Chris Schneider
Founder of CritHub and multidisciplinary sculptor.