Art & Fear
Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
David Bayles & Ted Orland
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
"This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people; essentially—statistically speaking—there aren't any people like that. Geniuses get made once-a-century or so, yet good art gets made all the time, so to equate the making of art with the workings of genius removes this intimately human activity to a strangely unreachable and unknowable place. For all practical purposes making art can be examined in great detail without ever getting entangled in the very remote problems of genius."
—-from the Introduction
Art & Fear explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. The book's co-authors, David Bayles and Ted Orland, are themselves both working artists, grappling daily with the problems of making art in the real world. Their insights and observations, drawn from personal experience, provide an incisive view into the world of art as it is expeienced by artmakers themselves.
This is not your typical self-help book. This is a book written by artists, for artists -— it's about what it feels like when artists sit down at their easel or keyboard, in their studio or performance space, trying to do the work they need to do. First published in 1994, Art & Fear quickly became an underground classic. Word-of-mouth response alone—now enhanced by internet posting—has placed it among the best-selling books on artmaking and creativity nationally.
Art & Fear has attracted a remarkably diverse audience, ranging from beginning to accomplished artists in every medium, and including an exceptional concentration among students and teachers. The original Capra Press edition of Art & Fear sold 80,000 copies.
Today, more than it was however many years ago, art is hard because you have to keep after it so consistently. On so many different fronts. For so little external reward. Artists become veteran artists only by making peace not just with themselves, but with a huge range of issues. You have to find your work...
Lucid, concise, confident.
I read this very slowly over the course of several months, taking sips here and there. More or less savoring it. Rather than amounting to an overly distilled, obtuse axiom, it provided a slow burn of quiet comfort, friendly solidarity.
I'd be at a loss to describe the specific content that moved me herein, or the arc the book takes, or the way it is structured. It is elusive like that, like a free flowing meditation. I began reading with nothing but questions, and have finished now feeling good about those questions. Feeling a sense of ownership over these curiosities, a confidence in uncertainty, and a renewed energy to forge ahead.
Wisdom and insights abound!
I'm so thankful to finally have a digital copy of this book- I can finally keep this one for myself.
Every artist should read this :)
Art & Fear
I devoured this book in two sittings and underlined half the text! An excellent read that I would recommend to any artist who is looking for some thought-provoking words of wisdom regarding the making of art, the maker, and the hard questions that all artists face.