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


"This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people; essentially—statistically speaking—there aren't any people like that. Geniuses get made once-a-century or so, yet good art gets made all the time, so to equate the making of art with the workings of genius removes this intimately human activity to a strangely unreachable and unknowable place. For all practical purposes making art can be examined in great detail without ever getting entangled in the very remote problems of genius."
—-from the Introduction

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. The book's co-authors, David Bayles and Ted Orland, are themselves both working artists, grappling daily with the problems of making art in the real world. Their insights and observations, drawn from personal experience, provide an incisive view into the world of art as it is expeienced by artmakers themselves.

This is not your typical self-help book. This is a book written by artists, for artists -— it's about what it feels like when artists sit down at their easel or keyboard, in their studio or performance space, trying to do the work they need to do. First published in 1994, Art & Fear quickly became an underground classic. Word-of-mouth response alone—now enhanced by internet posting—has placed it among the best-selling books on artmaking and creativity nationally.

Art & Fear has attracted a remarkably diverse audience, ranging from beginning to accomplished artists in every medium, and including an exceptional concentration among students and teachers. The original Capra Press edition of Art & Fear sold 80,000 copies.

An excerpt:

Today, more than it was however many years ago, art is hard because you have to keep after it so consistently. On so many different fronts. For so little external reward. Artists become veteran artists only by making peace not just with themselves, but with a huge range of issues. You have to find your work...

Title:Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:122 pages

    Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking Reviews

  • Deb Stone
    May 16, 2013

    I've read this book cover to cover four or five times. I have picked it up and opened a random page to read on dozens of occasions. I reread the margin notes that I've written at various times.What I ...

  • Timothy
    Jan 29, 2009

    It starts out strong, very strong, and then falls apart in a semantic entanglement of mixed metaphors and pseudo philosophy that spends a lot of words saying very little. It's a bit frustrating to rea...

  • Tiffany Gholar
    Oct 27, 2012

    If you are in need of some motivation and don't have time to read The Artist's Way series (which, by the way, I also recommend), it's perfect for you.  It addresses issues like perfectionism, creat...

  • Carol
    Apr 06, 2011

    This book is about the challenges in making, or not making, art. Making art is difficult. Many times artists will stop making art and then feel guilty about not returning. Why? The is what the author ...

  • Leslie
    Jan 19, 2009

    This is a great book for ALL people, artist or not, professional or amateur. What I mean by that is, whether you want to start cooking, gardening, dancing, painting -- WHATEVER! -- it helps give you m...

  • Chrissy
    Sep 11, 2010

    A quick, no-nonsense, part-philosophical-part-practical examination of what it means to make art, no matter the medium, and to continue to do so in spite of its inherent challenges. The authors' basic...

  • Mellinga
    Jun 29, 2013

    I'm an artist. This book is absolutely terrible.In the first chapter, the authors claim that that art came before consciousness and that prehistoric cave painters were not conscious beings. When they ...

  • Tamra
    Oct 04, 2012

    Popular and familiar with my friends; it was my first read. Favorite passages:"Art is like beginning a sentence before you know its ending...tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding...

  • KW
    Dec 05, 2008

    Depending upon where you may be in your particular process as an artist, "Art and Fear" can be a light in the dark for anyone desiring to take their work more seriously. Oftentimes, those who write, p...

  • Mariya
    May 31, 2012

    This book was recommended to me and to all of my fellow art students by a professor, whose every word is normally golden. I must say this was the exception. When this small pamphlet of a book was publ...