Art & Fear (Book)

Art & Fear

There is a book store called TYPE near me that always has awesome window displays. Over the course of a couple of weeks one book kept catching my eye, it was called Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Art Making. Something about the title resonated with me and after passing it a few more times I finally went in and bought it. The result was one of the most pleasant books on the idea of art that I’ve ever read.

Art & Fear

About the Authors

Art & Fear is written by co-authors David Bayles and Ted Orland. Both Bayles and Orland are fine art photographers with ties to Ansel Adams – Orland was his assistant and Bayels met him after an employee at his local drug/camera store told him to look up his work. Alongside their photographic and writing practices, Orland works in aquatic conservation and Bayles teaches.

General Idea

What I love about Art & Fear is that it approaches the various aspects of art making with simplicity and humour. It never feels preachy or scholarly, yet you are left with concrete information that is easy to wrap your head around. The book covers a range of topics such as – the difference between art versus craft, fears about yourself, the academic world, finding your work, dealing with other’s expectations, and much more.

Key Highlights

  • “The artist’s life is frustrating not because the passage is slow, but because he imagines it to be fast” p.17
  • “Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable, and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding.” p. 21
  • “Decisive works of art participate directly in the fabric of history surrounding their maker. Simply put, you have to be there.” p. 52
  • “A piece of art is the surface expression of a life lived within productive patterns. Over time, the life of a productive artist becomes filled with useful conventions and practical methods, so that a string of finished pieces continues to appear at the surface.” p. 62
  • “Simply put, art that deals with ideas is more interesting than art that deals with technique.” p. 97

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