Art & Fear: In Five Parts

Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking: Bayles & Orland

1) "Your work may provide clear evidence that you are different, that you are alone. After all, artists themselves rarely serve as role models of normalcy.... Just how unintelligible your art - or you - appear to others may be something you don't really want to confront, at least not all that quickly."

2) "The flawless creature wouldn't need to make art...our flaws and weaknesses, while often obstacles to getting our work done, are a source of strength as well. Something about making art has to do with overcoming things, giving us a clear opportunity for doing things in ways we have always known we should do them."

3) "The sobering truth is that the disinterest of others hardly ever reflects a gulf in vision. In fact there's generally no good reason why others should care about most of any one artist's work. The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars...even the failed pieces are essential."

4) "In following the path of your heart, the chances are that your work will not be understandable to others. At least not immediately, and not to a wide audience.... No wonder artists so often harbor a depressing sense that their work is going downhill: at any given moment the older work is always more attractive, always better understood."

5) "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. Making the work you want to make means setting aside these doubts so that you may see clearly what you have done, and thereby see where to go next. Making the work you want to make means finding nourishment within the work itself. This is not the Age of Faith, Truth and Certainty."