02 May 2011

art & fear - chapter 3 read-along

Its that time again, time to take a look at another chapter of Art & Fear. If you missed the previous discussions, you can find Chapter 1 here and Chapter 2 here. We're looking at a new chapter on the first of each month.

So Chapter 3 is all about fears.

We've all got fears right? The authors break it down into two basic categories: fear about ourselves and fear about how others will perceive us.

The fact of the matter is that fears are an energy suck. We waste a lot of time on them. I'm not saying they aren't legitimate, but how much time we hand over to them is something we need to control.

Think of how much art you can make if you took all the time and energy you spent worrying if it was good enough and used it to make art instead?

Its not as simple as it sounds, believe me I know. Its something I struggle with as well - that overbearing feeling that nothing seems to be going right and maybe I should just chuck the whole thing.

But the thing that drives me forward is that I can't imagine my life without art. So I have to make peace with my insecurities, let them have a smaller insignificant part of the stage so that they don't take over everything anymore.

The authors suggest that talent is only part of the puzzle, worrying if you have enough (or any) is nonsense. I think they have a point. Just because you are talented doesn't mean you will do the work. And if you don't do the work, you won't produce anything.

Talent alone does not make you an artist.

Doing the work does. These are my favorite sentences from the chapter:

"Art is human; error is human; ergo, art is error. Inevitably your work will be flawed. Why? Because you are a human being, and only human beings, warts and all, make art."

I think there has been an interesting movement as of late of wanting handmade items. People are looking at the flaws in items and being able to see the maker in them, they are appreciating these objects more.

I don't seek perfection in my work. In fact, if you look close enough you can see plenty of things that are "wrong." And I'm good with it, I prefer it. Its my hand that made them and I'm no where near perfect.

I've spoken about hanging on to your own voice several times on the blog. Its easy to be seduced by what others make, thinking that their work has the level of "perfection" that you crave. Pause the next time you are tempted by this.

Can anyone make work like you do?

Can others produce an art quilt or painting or drawing that looks like what you would make?

The answer is simple: no.

I don't believe there is much value in saying, "Stop being afraid." Its counterproductive to think that you will never feel insecure about what you make or what others think. And I also believe its counterproductive to try to ignore these feelings.

Rather meet them head on. Look at them, let them kick around a bit and then move on. In short, experience them. Learn from them. Learn to co-exist with them but don't give them the upper hand.

And make your work. Your hand is what makes it unique and there is nothing to fear about that.


Kim Hambric said...

Great post, Lynn!!! You've really got me geared up to go into the studio today and BE HUMAN!!

Deb H said...

Thanks for these Lynn. I just bought the book (as a result of your Blog) and will catch up for next month!