Art & Fear Part 1
"Making art now means working in the face of uncertainty; it means living with doubt and contradiction, doing something no one much cares whether you do, and for which there may be neither audience nor reward" (p. 2).
The uncertainty of my creative process is very much a controlling factor in my life. As a planner and type A personality, I feel constantly assaulted by the uncertainty of my creativity process and career. Where will my life be next year? In three years? Will this piece be good enough? What is enough and who is the judge? Will I be able to afford my bills this month? Will I ever be successful as an artist? The list goes on and on.
But as I type, what it sounds more and more like is doubt, self-doubt. And I think that as an artist, this is something we all struggle with. Am I enough? Am I even a real artist or am I just pretending?
The uncertainty of life in general as an artist can be overwhelming to say the least. However, the first half of this book, "Art & Fear" has felt like a summary of my recurring thoughts. I feel as though these authors truly understand how it feels to be an artist. We all carry self-doubt and hesitation when it comes to making and sharing our work---and thats "because making art is hard!" (28)
Fear is a major theme of this book, because it obviously is a major part of being an artist. "It's easy to imagine that real artists know what they're doing, and that they--unlike you--are entitled to feel good about themselves and their art. Fear that you are not a real artist causes you to undervalue your work" (24).
I feel like this book is confronting me with all of the things that I already know about myself, and my practice as an artist....but specifically, the things that I choose not to think about, or admit. Am I a procrastinator? YES. Do I admit to that?....Well I just did, I guess. Do I feel like a "fake artist?" About 50% of the time.
I have been allowing fear to invade my mind, and control my thoughts and emotions for far too long. And although I have not been oblivious to this, it doesn't make it any easier to admit and confront head on.
Art-making for me is extremely personal, and creating work about myself, my life, and my passions allows me to connect to others, and to know that what I make matters---if not to anyone else, it matters to me. Without utilizing my creative outlet through the creation of art, I become extremely depressed, anxious, and just an overall shitty version of myself.
BUT when I am making art, I feel fulfilled, I feel like I understand myself and even if only for a small second, when I'm on that new idea high/ adrenaline rush, I feel FULL. Full of life, full of love, and passion and energy---it makes every doubting moment, every low low, worth it-- to have something in my life that makes me feel like that.
With that said, I am really enjoying this book. It's nice and easy to read, straight to the point and full of positive affirmations for artists. I think we all need those in our lives, the same way a little smack on the ass for reassurance works. Keep on going old sport!
It's good to know that I'm on the right track, that what I feel is "normal" for an artist, and most importantly, that I'm not alone in feeling these ways. Bottom line--stop being afraid to fail, and just keep making work.
Now that's some good shit.