Do we need fear to create good art?

This question came up in a class recently. It gave me a lot to think about. I realized that I do feel fear in my art practice. Just walking into my studio and looking at my empty design wall can give me a jolt. What am I afraid of? Fear of the unknown? Fear of my ability? Fear that I won’t be able to pull it off this time? Yes. Yes. And Yes.

How to handle fear – a short list

1. Fear = Staring at your blank design wall like a deer in the headlights.

2. Courage = Picking up your rotary cutter and starting anyway. 

3. Repetition = Doing it over and over. And over.

This is my experience with fear when starting a piece of art. (And at any starting places along the path…  starting a new section, starting quilting) It is a journey without known outcomes. But rather than thinking of fear as a negative, I like to think of it as positive. It stimulates me, releasing adrenaline along with a sense of urgency. I can use it as a tool to push me to better work. 

“What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don’t, quit. Each step in the artmaking process puts that issue to the test.”
― David Bayles, Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s