Art & Fear

Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland ...

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Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

by David Bayles and Ted Orland

Art & Fear book cover

Summary

Art & Fear explores the creative process and the common anxieties and obstacles that arise for artists. Based on conversations with art students, experienced artists, and their own perspectives as working artists, the authors delve into the psychological challenges inherent to artistic creation.

Bayles and Orland argue that fear, self-doubt, and constant comparisons leading to a loss of confidence plague nearly every artist. However, the authors suggest these struggles can coexist with, or even fuel, creative work. Art & Fear emphasizes that the path to fulfilling artwork necessitates rejecting expectations of easiness or perfection. Instead, artists must embrace the unpredictability of the creative process and retain faith in their vision.

To overcome creative fears, the authors prescribe focusing less on imaginary end products and more on the present act of making. Artists should set small, defined goals rather than dwell on impossible standards of flawlessness. Bayles and Orland also advise seeking inspiration from the courage of other artists who persevered through self-doubt. Most importantly, artists must realize they are not alone in their fears - and that the bravery required is to create despite them.

With wit and empathy, Art & Fear encourages artists to accept fear and imperfection as inherent to the artistic process, and to celebrate the triumph of creativity over fear.