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

( 24 )

Overview

"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 ...

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

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Overview

"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...

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780961454739
  • Publisher: Image Continuum Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Pages: 122
  • Sales rank: 60,713
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David Bayles is an accomplished photographer, author, workshop leader, and conservationist. He has studied with Ansel Adams and Brett Weston, among others, and has taught and written extensively in the arts for over thirty years. David is coauthor, with Ted Orland, of Art & Fear, the perennial bestseller on issues of artistic development, and Notes on a Shared Landscape: Making Sense of the American West. David has fished, hiked, camped, rowed, and photographed all over the western United States for more than fifty years. He lives in the woods just outside Eugene, Oregon, and spends part of his time on the Monterey Peninsula. Ted Orland began his professional career working as a young graphic artist for designer Charles Eames and later served as assistant to photographer Ansel Adams. He is coauthor, with David Bayles, of Art & Fear, the perennial bestseller on issues of artistic development, and the author of its companion piece, The View from the Studio Door. He also leads workshops on a variety of artistic issues and photographic topics. Ted currently lives in Santa Cruz, California, where he pursues parallel careers in teaching, writing, and photography. Arthur Morey has recorded over one hundred audiobooks, winning AudioFile Earphones and Best Voice Awards, as well as an Audie nomination. He has performed fiction by John Updike, John Irving, Richard Russo, Julie Orringer, and Jack Vance. Nonfiction titles include The Informant, Unlikely Allies, Citizens of London, and Munich 1938. Arthur attended Harvard University and the University of Chicago and has performed Off-Broadway, Off-Loop, and in Italy. He taught writing at Northwestern University for ten years and also works as an editor and ghostwriter.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
The Nature of the Problem 1
A Few Assumptions
Art & Fear 9
Vision & Execution
Imagination
Materials
Uncertainty
Fears About Yourself 23
Pretending
Talent
Perfection
Annihilation
Magic
Expectations
Fears About Others 37
Understanding
Acceptance
Approval
Finding Your Work 49
Canon
The Outside World 65
Ordinary Problems
Common Ground
Art Issues
Competition
Navigating the System
The Academic World 79
Faculty Issues
Student Issues
Books about Art
Conceptual Worlds 93
Ideas and Technique
Craft
New Work
Creativity
Habits
Art & Science
Self-Reference
Metaphor
The Human Voice 113
Questions
Constants
vox humana
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 7, 2011

    Accomplished its purpose

    I believe this book accomplished what it set out to accomplish--to describe the perils and rewards of artmaking. It was not hard to identify with many of the obstacles it describes that are often encountered in the artmaking process. The book was extremely insightful and had some amazing quotes, and in that light I found it to be a humbling and enlightening experience.

    However, I would not recommend this book to anyone who is struggling to overcome their fear in art. I'm sure there are other books and resources that would be much better fit to motivate and inspire you to continue your art. This is not so much a "how to" book, but rather a book that identifies common conditions that prevent us from creating. In other words, it points out the problems. When I read it, I think I was expecting more SOLUTIONS, or at least something a little more positive, but that is not actually the purpose of the book.

    Overall, I found this book to be a great resource for someone who is seeking to understand WHY there are obstacles in artmaking (which was it's purpose), but not so great if you are seeking HOW to overcome those obstacles.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2012

    Highly Recommended- very helpful

    Great read for anyone who creates. Leads you through the pitfalls of what art making can feel like. Takes the excuses away and leaves you feeling free to create. All artists should read this!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    Astounding!

    I don't know how it took me so long to find this tiny book of big ideas. It should be required reading @ every art school.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 5, 2011

    This book describes my fear perfectly

    Spoke to my soul

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2006

    If you are an artist, you need this book.

    Definitely delivers on what it promises. An organized collection of essays discussing the major pitfalls, hurdles and issues everyday, yes, everyday people go through in the process of practicing their art, hindering and suppressing them, sometimes to the point of getting them to quit. If you've quit or thought of quitting, or have become paralyzingly frustrated, or just having a hard time making music, art, dance, whatever, this is the book for you. Let me add a little disclaimer here: this is NOT a book with all the answers. Ratherm it has some of the answers, and leads to some of the mroe important questions, questions you'll need to answer yourself. Really great book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2006

    Art is in our nature

    This book should be required reading for all college freshman regardless of their major. It not only gives practical advice on approaching art, but it encourages experimentation and expression. I encourage anyone to pick up this book you won't be able to stop reading it until it is done.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2002

    This book "spoke" to me!

    I'm not much of a reader and this is one of the first books I've ever read that actually spoke to me. You don't have to be a professional artist to know what it's like to be a frustrated artist. This book not only validated how I feel when trying to create, but moreso, gave me inspiration to push forward! I've dog-eared and highlighted nearly every page in this book and have even taken notes (in a separate notebook) to refer back to when I start to question myself again. It's not a book to help you get creative; it's a book that pushes you to make that thumbnail sketch or idea in your head come to life! An excellent resource for those who need help making their ideas a reality.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2013

    A great support for artists

    This book has a long life on art class to-be-read shelves, which is where I came across it. It celebrates art as a conceptual leap in a world that might see it as craft. It helped me reconceptualize my own struggle in this fueld between definition and actuality. Worth searching for and reading more than once

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2002

    Excellent Read! Worth every cent!

    This book gave me a sense of purpose and an understanding of my whole approach to art and the art-making process. You will be guided to discover your own voice of expression. I believe every artist, writer, photographer, musician, creator should get this book. You will love it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2000

    This is THE book for insecure, fearful artists!

    The pages of this book are littered with insights. Keep a pencil handy, because you'll be underlining a lot. Among my favorites: 'After all, you know better than anyone else the accidental nature of much that appears in your art, not to mention all those elements you know originated with others (and even some you never even intended but which the audience has read into your work). From there it's only a short hop to feeling like you're just going through the motions 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.' So, forget your therapist(s). Just buy this book. And then do your art.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 24, 2011

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    Posted January 21, 2013

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    Posted September 19, 2011

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