“This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart.” – From the introduction of Art and fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking.
What makes being an artist so different from any other profession? Artists have a skill (or maybe even talent) and they strive to make a living using it – isn’t that what everybody does? But somehow, it is very different. Perhaps it’s the personal nature of artistic vision or the culture of celebrity. It turns out, according to David Bayles and Ted Orland in Art and fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, learning to survive as an artist has less to do with skill or talent than it does with our willingness to face our fears over and over again.
“What separates artists from ex-artists,” Says Bayles and Orland, “are that those who challenge their fear, continue, those who do not, quit. Each step in the artmaking process puts that issue to the test.” (p. 14). Art and fear explores the very unique set of practical and, maybe more importantly, psychological circumstances of the aspiring artist with a smart and refreshing clarity. The unique contribution of this book is that it spans the gap between business advice and self help.
In the beginning of Art and fear, Bayles and Orland are careful to emphasize several assumptions about artmaking that immediately offer some relief to the aspiring artist: artmaking is a skill that can be learned, art is made by ordinary people, making and viewing art are different, and art making has been around a lot longer than the art establishment.
While we sometimes think artmaking is out of reach for the ordinary person, Art and fear reminds us that our fears are the only thing between us and making art. This book is inspiring, practical and a must read for emerging and established artists.
By Karin Jervert