For years, I have been around art forums and for years, when someone complained about not being able to do art due to angst, depression, fear, a productive artist stepped in and recommended this book. Now, I may not always be producing mountains of art, but I don’t think I have ever been refrained by angst or depression. In my case it’s more like laziness and other activities.
In the end, I still picked up the book, just because it had been recommended so much. I had to see what was so special about it.
Well, for a start, it is a pretty slender book, which is a good thing, it makes it’s point concisely and doesn’t get lost in metaphysical nonsense. It addresses points that I had noticed and explains them well. Sometimes we notice patterns but we just don’t take the time to analyse them. David Bayles & Ted Orland are working artists, and the book took several years to write. It shows in that they have distilled the essential and are presenting it in a clear andfriendly manner that manages to avoid condescension or infantilisation.
The book addresses progress, originality, motivation, self-esteem. It’s premise is that art is made by normal people, and it’s normal that it’s not perfect and it’s normal that they want to improve, that they want support and understanding, that they sometimes have doubts. In our society, artists are often either put on a pedestal, or considered like misfit weirdos. This book is all about breaking to preconceptions. As an artist you are not expected to fit those stereotypes. You don’t have to be miserable to produce art! All you have to do to be an artist, is make art. That’s it.
Well, I really enjoyed that book. I might not have had problems to solve, but it gave me a new insight on the psychological process of making art.
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking