I'm glad you clarified your position. The reason I thought you were second-guessing Robert's opinion of his own work is that you stated that "the ultimate appraisal of an artist's work should be made by the audience, not the artist." I couldn't disagree more with this statement. If this were the case, then chart position would be the equivalent of aesthetic merit---which really begs the question.
To some degree, I stand by my statement about "ultimate appraisal." But I sure as hell am not equating appraisal with commercial success. My point is this: IF (and that may be a big IF), an artist is trying to communicate something via his/her work (whether it is an idea, an emotion, or whatever), then, ultimately, the transmission of that thing (idea, emotion) is the goal and only the recipient of said info can be the "judge" of whether or not the art was "successful." Now, I understand, appreciate, and respect if an artist only does his/her art to "let out the muse," i.e there is nothing to communicate. The art is for its own sake. It just "is." It may express something an artist thinks or feels, but if no one else "gets" it, that's fine and dandy.
This is an important distinction, IMO. Does art exist for the "appreciator" or for the artist? If one extends the analogy to food, then if the person who eats the food says it's "terrible" (even if prepared well), does that invalidate the food's worth? Conversely, if a person thinks Robert Rich's Rainforest
is "good" but Stalker
is crap, does that mean anything other than what it is? A preference?
But, from a different perspective, viewing the appreciation of one's work as the "goal," then even if the cook "makes a mistake" (e.g. cooks a a Kobe beef cut to medium well) but the patron loves it and finds the meal delicious, well, was the "goal" met?
It's a curious thing, i.e. art appreciation. I had a former girlfriend consider the work of wildlife painter Terry Redlin (see below for an example) as "kitsch" and chided me - overtly - for my love of it.
But to me, the artwork strikes to the core of my emotional being and floods me with emotion . Is it good "art?" Frankly, I don't give a shit as it means something to me.
This was my sole purpose in my original post in this topic. The recipient of any art is the ultimate judge of the art's worth TO THAT INDIVIDUAL. There is never any absolute judgement of art. But an artist should, IMO, appreciate that what the artist may deem as inconsequential may hold deep meaning for the fan. That should never be taken lightly, IMO.