List price: $12.95
Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland is a wonderful survival guide for artists. The 122 page book takes you through the common fears that any artist go through, it explores the reason why we create art, but even more so the reason why we often do not make art when we could. Why we procrastinate because of self doubt, and how we may overcome this.
The book has reached a huge audience. The original Capra Press edition of Art & Fear sold 80,000 copies, but what is it that makes this book so special?
First of all is an encouraging and comforting read because many of the experiences described in the book is something you will recognize and by the end of the day, none of us want to be the artist who gave up – I’d dare say this book enforces that feeling all the more, it makes you want to persist. Further it is not a book for the Leonardo Da Vinci’s, Einstein’s and Michelangelo’s of common day, it is a book for the regular person who goes through a number of perils and doubts when we try to create art. It is also worth noting the book is not written for illustrators, painters or any creative field in specific, it is useful to anyone who goes through a creative process.
The authors are working artists themselves. They draw from their own personal experiences and observations and are refreshingly honest about it, which in turn ensures that the reader doesn’t feel alienated from the processes they describe.
It’s actually difficult to review the book, because it’s so well written! Anything you need to know about it is really just in the book and far more well written than anything I can produce; read it! On Amazon the book has received a total of 4,5 star. I choose to give it 5 because it sat particularly well with me, I read it at a time where it said everything I needed to hear, so I highly recommend it.
Quotes from the book:
“What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears continue; those who don’t, quit.” – Art & Fear
“If you think good work is synonymous with perfect work, you are headed for big trouble. Art is human; error is human; ergo, art is error. Inevitably your work (like, uh the preceding syllogism…) will be flawed. Why? Because only human beings, warts and all, make art.” – Art & Fear
“Idealism has a high casualty rate. The chances are (statistically speaking) that if you are an artist, you are also a student. That says something very encouraging about the desire to learn art – and something very ominous about the attrition rate of those who try.” – Art & Fear
“Books on art characteristically have little to say about actually making art. They may offer a sprinkling of romantic parables about the “artist’s struggle”, but the prevailing premise remains that art is clearly the province of genius (or, on occasion, madness)…” – Art & Fear
“The artist’s life is frustrating not because the passage is slow, but because he imagines it to be fast.” – Art & Fear
Art & Fear on Amazon