‘Art & Fear‘ by David Bayles & Ted Orland is a good self-help/motivational book for artists. I picked this one up from Barnes & Noble a while back and have taken my time reading it. The authors make several great points that are sure to build up one’s confidence and inspire them at the same time.
As a perfectionist, I hesitate to share a lot of my art with the public for fear that no one will like it, that it isn’t good enough, and that it won’t be viewed as “real art” by the audience. Thankfully this book helped me realize the following:
- Art either has potential or is likable. When you begin worrying about whether someone will like your art or not, you are doubting yourself and your abilities. Start off with the mindset that your work is likable–mainly because you like it–and hope that someone who feels the same will see your work. If you don’t quite like the art you make yet then surely it has potential that needs to be refined with experience and skill, which will happen the more you practice.
- Set expectations for your work. When you are creating, it is important to remember this! It gives you a goal to try reaching with your art. And if you set expectations, your work will always be good to you. However, that’s not to say that you should settle; your expectations should always challenge you. According to Bayles and Orland, use your own work as your guide because it can tell you all your strengths & weaknesses, working methods, and your discipline. So if you feel that your work isn’t good enough, study your past work, figure out what’s not good about it, and set expectations for next time that force you to better your work.
- If ordinary people can make “real art,” then so can you! Surely there are world renowned artists known for their extraordinary works, but you too can make the extraordinary. Those artists aren’t perfect people and it is highly unlikely that all of their art was created without mistakes. But it didn’t stop them from perfecting their craft and it shouldn’t stop you! Because flaws and trial & error does not stop your art from being any less real!
Those three take-home points are from Part I of the book. Two more parts left to complete this read. So far so good though! Thanks, Bayles & Orland for the motivational read! I must admit that I get nervous showing my art (like anxious-with-sweaty-pits nervous). But the more I share, the more confident I am in my progress and room for improvement. It also makes me feel more comfortable calling myself an artist. I had always viewed artists as sacred beings (which they are in some ways, as all people can be). And because of that I was hesitant to use that title. But it fits. And I’m conquering my fears and improving my art each day.
For any given given time only a certain sort of work resonates with life, then that is the work you need to be doing in that moment. If you try to do some other work, you will miss your moment. – page 53.