Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and rewards) of Artmaking

by David Bayles

Paperback, 1993




Santa Barbara, CA : Capra, c1993.


What is your art really about? Where is it going? What stands in the way of getting it there?These are questions that matter, questions that recur at each stage of artistic development-and they are the source for this volume of wonderfully incisive commentary. 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.This is a book about what it feels like to sit in your studio or classroom, at your wheel or keyboard, easel or camera, trying to do the work you need to do. It is about committing your future to your own hands, placing free will above predestination, choice above chance. It is about finding your own work.

User reviews

LibraryThing member MatteoGrilli
' What is your art really about? Where is it going? What stands in the way of getting there? These are questions that matter...' A guide for everybody, even non artists as they may see themselves as artists again... It's not just about visual arts, but ANY form of artistic expression.
LibraryThing member krobbie67
Sadly, I found this book horribly boring and uninteresting so much so that my mind often wandered as I was reading. However, I thoroughly appreciate what the authors were saying and trying to achieve.
LibraryThing member deliriousnewyorker
Much cheaper than therapy. A great book to help with the common pitfalls of art making, most notably quitting. It's well written with a helpful and frank tone (no pretension here).
LibraryThing member fabrilicious
Began well, but faded. Never finished it
LibraryThing member sholt2001
This is a book about what happens when you hit the proverbial brick wall in your artistic endeavors and it will be invaluable to any artist who has ever seriously debated giving up. It discusses the psychology behind art-making and the things that hinder it as well as strategies to overcome them. Best of all, it is a quick read and entertaining, so you won't need to summon extra motivation to get through it.… (more)
LibraryThing member jujuspots
The most useful and thought provoking book I have read on the process of making art! Outstanding!
LibraryThing member chriszodrow
One to keep and re-read again and again. I love little books that make great and lasting points. This is one of them.
LibraryThing member Clueless
I wish I could quote the whole book here. It just made me giggle again and again. For example, this is me reading Tarot cards;

Art is exquisitely responsive. Nowhere is feedback so absolute as in the making of art. The work, vibrates in perfect harmony to everything we put into it – or withhold from it. In the outside world there may be no reaction tow hat we do; in our artwork there is nothing but reaction.

The breathtakingly wonderful thing about this reaction is its truthfulness. Look at your work and it tells you how it is when you hold back or when you embrace. When you are lazy, your art is lazy; when you hold back, it holds back; when you hesitate, it stands there staring, hands in its pockets.

And this is the recipe for changing someone else’s mind;

When Columbus returned from the New World and proclaimed the earth was round, almost everyone else went right on believing the earth was flat. Then they died – and the next generation grew up believing the world was round. That’s how people change their minds.… (more)
LibraryThing member paulsignorelli
Years before Malcolm Gladwell built a wonderfully compelling case for the critical importance of practice and opportunity in "Outliers: The Story of Success," David Bayles and Ted Orland spent seven years producing their thin, lean, and absolutely inspiring work on how we can develop our own creative artistry through faith and perseverance. "You make good work by (among other things) making lots of work that isn't very good, and gradually weeding out the parts that aren’t good, the parts that aren't yours" (p. 26) they write, and in the process do us all a favor by reminding us that creativity flourishes through what we learn from failure as much as from what we learn through success. We're working with the basics here, as we can see from chapter headings including "Fears About Yourself," "Fears About Others," and "Finding Your Work." The writers address the perils of trying to create work that pleases others rather than work that begins by pleasing ourselves--a theme of interest to anyone involved in creative endeavors, including any trainer-teacher-learner. They remind us that if we teach, we also need to set aside time for pursuing our craft--a warning that applies equally to trainers who may not make the time to continue pursuing the learning opportunities that they need to be effective. They conclude by suggesting that making art "is to sing with the human voice" and that if we are to persevere, we would do well to begin by developing our own unique voices and using those voices to explore our darkest chasms to produce the "revealing light" of our own minds" (p. 117).… (more)
LibraryThing member jwm24
The paradox of artmaking is that most artists believe on some level that they are (or should be) exceptional individuals with a unique vision, but also that that vision should be one that most people should be able to identify with. This book does nothing to resolve that paradox, but it does present us with reasons to live with the contradiction (of our own ordinariness and our art's timelessness; ars longa, vita brevis) and go on producing in spite of it.… (more)
LibraryThing member maxwestart
This book isn't a "how to" manual. It's a book about the fears behind art and artmaking. It discusses the fears and other ways of looking at them - in other words, it helps you to confront your fears.

This book is a MUST for the shelf of anyone creative - be you a fine artist, an illustrator, an animator, a graphic designer, a cartoonist, etc. Even now, I still pull it out from time to time to allay the doubts I have.… (more)
LibraryThing member tamdyer
great book. i give to all my artist friends
LibraryThing member Sparrowlicious
A short note before I begin my review: I'm neither an art student, nor teacher. But art is still a hobby of mine.
This is the kind of book you should read when you suddenly become unsure of your art. Some things in this book you probably already know and some you might assume. To see them written down in an actual book can be quite reassuring, though.
As for me, this book explained quite a lot of things to me that somehow I already knew at some point. Kind of gave me a confidence boost.
… (more)
LibraryThing member jasonli
A beautiful, short ode to the career of an artist, the philosophy behind it, and its many perils.
LibraryThing member dbookbinder
'Art and Fear' is the most concise and friendly companion to anyone trying to define themselves as an artist that I have so far encountered.
LibraryThing member meghancochrane
I got this book from the library and then I had to buy it for my own collection. It resonated with me as an artist. I needed to be able to write in it and respond. There are some really great passages in there that help me to get past my doubts and artist blocks. It should be in every artists library and it should be manditory reading for every studio art major.… (more)



Page: 0.2411 seconds