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on July 12, 2015
I didn't know quite what to expect when I picked this up. I bought the book quite a while ago on the recommendation of someone else. What the book is is a commiseration on the trials of art making, marketing, etc., the entire process. Based on my own experience creating art I question the word "fear". Doubt, frustration, creative blocks, external obstacles all apply, but I can't ever say fear has been what has hindered me. If you are looking for confirmation that you are not alone in dealing with these things and you don't have a circle of artist friends with whom you can commiserate, this just could be the book you need to prod you to plunge forward anyway. If you are looking for answers, tips or tricks to overcome the things that beset you, you will be disappointed. Indeed, those can only come from you anyway.
16 people found this helpful
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on December 30, 2017
A lot of good observations about the process of art making that I needed to hear. It addresses young artists that have graduated and talks about the "what now?" For me it was reassuring to read and know that I am not completely off the path.
With this break between undergraduate and graduate school, I tend to get unsettled from time to time and I look at the sculpture I am making and ask, "Is this worth the time? I like it, but will others? How would my professors look at this? Is this boring?" But this book tells me that I just need to make work, plain and simple. That by making a piece, even if it fails, I learn from the past piece and can move on to the other.
It also made clear to me that artists are regular people. That the artists I see in glossy art books are still just people who struggle with the same issues I do. "Is this good? Is this art worth making?"
In the end, despite the lack of critiques and constant showing of work, I need to keep making art so I can achieve what I want in the future, and to not settle on the goal of simply getting into graduate school, but pursuing a career afterwards and experimenting and searching my art for all of its potential.
4 people found this helpful
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on January 10, 2012
Review of:
Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

This book really helped me relax, get rid of my white paper paralyses, and unleash my creative potential.
I highly recommend it to anyone who has a burning desire to create, but can't overcome the paralysis caused by external and/or internal influences that keep you from doing your thing.

I have spent years reading/learning about art, and how to make it.
I am more knowledgeable about the how and why, the materials and practices of artmaking and artists, than most of the working artists I know.
But I could not overcome the paralysis, caused by the thought that, I will spoil/soil/waste any paper/canvas/ink/paint that I use to make something, if it does not produce a masterpiece comparable or better than, the best artwork I have ever seen, or earn me enough money to pay for my time and materials.

The easy to read/understand words in this book, finally gave me permission to use all those artists materials I have been collecting/hoarding, and actually make things with them.
I feel an incredible sense of relief, excitement, and exhilaration making art, that I have been waiting for all my life.

One of the reasons we feel free to create when we were kids, is that we did not have to pay for the materials, or know how precious they are, and we were given the time to create, that was not otherwise needed to do "more productive/important" things (like earn money, eat, sleep, shop for groceries, clean the house, find a mate, raise children, watch TV, read a book, pick your nose, scratch your butt, etc.)

Even though I still do most of those things, this book has motivated me to also find/make time for creating art, without guilt.

Hope it has the same affect on you.
Now go play!!!
Life dose not last forever, You have earned this, and deserve the joy of making art :-)
If you don't, you'll be depriving yourself and others of the enjoyment of your creations.
Don't sweat it if everyone doesn't dig it, that is an impossible/unrealistic goal.
Focus on the pleasure of the process, and not what happens afterword. That will take care of itself.
Happy trails...
Dave Finberg, the "Playing Mantis"
40 people found this helpful
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If you have ever pursued a creative medium this book is for you. It's as important for aspiring artist to own as a pencil, brush, or camera. It will challenge you to reevaluate your expectations and reframe your artistic pursuits in a manner that will allow for perpetual growth and minimize potential for burn out or "losing it". It takes the complex tumble of an artist's brain and reduces it to relatable examples and simple phrases. This allows for easy future recall. Worth every penny, but relatively short. It's brevity , while a merit, also leaves the reader wanting more when completed.
3 people found this helpful
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on July 10, 2015
After closing my portrait studio I wasn't sure what to do with my photography and began a journey to find creativity in my life. I started sewing again and took up hat making. These endeavors led me to the Steampunk movement that is a culture full of creativity. I put my heart and soul into making my costume for Time Travelers Weekend at the Renaissance Faire. This day was brought much creative insight.

But Now What?

We were assigned to read Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles in the Fine Art Class at the California Center for Digital Arts. This book summed it up with the following:
"Making art means working in the face of uncertainty";
"Living with doubt and contradiction doing something that no one much cares whether you do or not and their may not be an audience or reward for."; and
"It is about making the work you want to make means finding nourishment with the work itself."
This book helped me overcome the fear and pick up a camera again and find my way to creativity. It helped me find my way to the personal project that will help me concur my fears and figure out who I am as an artist. It made me realize that my fear is about me and my insecurities and not about the art itself. I was able to unlock my imagination and begin.

The discussion about the only known factors in art are the materials. The words of David Bayles inspired me to pick up a camera and begin experimenting with art again. Thank you for the guidelines to overcome my fear and begin.
6 people found this helpful
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on February 20, 2014
This is probably one of the most helpful books I've read about the challenges we face as artists/writers/creative persons. The authors of the book (there are actually 2) call it "making art." One of the standout quotes for me in the book is: "The lessons you are meant to learn (about your own creative process) are in your work." Further, "Put simply, your work is your guide: a complete, comprehensive, limitless reference book on your work. There is no other such book, and it is yours alone.Your fingerprints are all over your work, and you alone know how they got there. Your work tells you about your working methods, your discipline, your strengths and weaknesses, your habitual gestures, your willingness to embrace." (I am reading on a Kindle, no page numbers. Quotes are at Location 421 on my Paper White reader.) What I found most helpful and encouraging was this concept that your own work is always your best guide to what you need to do next. I must confess that even with 30 successful books in print, I still confront each new book with a kind of terror and with that little voice that says, "Whatever makes you think you can write a book?" This little book, Art and Fear, helps to clarify that most of the time, that's probably a healthy reaction, since each new beginning of "making art" truly is that--a new beginning. I highly recommend this book, particularly for any writer with an MFA and a head full of other people's instructions on how to write.
6 people found this helpful
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on April 6, 2015
Why do human's create? There have been civilizations that existed for a long time without the wheel, but no civilizations we know of that existed without art. In rock age times there were primitive stone tools found in caves that had fantastic paintings on the stone walls. The paintings are beautiful today, but the tools are so primitive to be nearly useless to us today. Why did art exist before they had a word for art, or for the pronoun "I" for that matter? This book meant so much to me becaus ...more

Why do human's create? There have been civilizations that existed for a long time without the wheel, but no civilizations we know of that existed without art. In rock age times there were primitive stone tools found in caves that had fantastic paintings on the stone walls. The paintings are beautiful today, but the tools are so primitive to be nearly useless to us today. Why did art exist before they had a word for art, or for the pronoun "I" for that matter? This book meant so much to me because I have been making art since I was a young child and I soon will be 65 years old and I am still making art. I make very little money, few people see my art, my own family sees me as quirky, and yet I continue to make art. This book discusses that question. It covers the fears of self doubt and negative reactions of the audience and the question why do so many that make art reach a point where they stop. Why do people stop making art? If these sorts of questions are of interest to you, so will this book. It is short, well written, easy to read, and important to makers of art and lovers of art.
3 people found this helpful
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on June 24, 2016
If you are an artist, you need to read this. It's the most lucid description of the artist mindset as I have experienced it that I've ever read. A solid dose of reality check, and very affirmative if you have already sold your soul to the Muse. If you're still thinking about that, it will give you a lot more to think about.
5 people found this helpful
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on April 23, 2018
Great Book.... recently retired & decided to finally explore Watercolor painting .... got all the supplies, desk, lamp etc.... and there they sat.... for almost 6 months... reading this book was a revelation AND a release... made me realize I was the only one standing in my own way! A MUST READ for ALL who, like me, we’re afraid to start.
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on November 21, 2014
This is one of those books that I don't know how I missed it for so many years, now that I'm hearing that it's a "classic" from so many people. It's also one of those rare books that I can't imagine not having experienced. The writing is crystal clear and direct, but its greatest assets is the clarity and depth of the experience and thinking and understanding behind the words. If you've thought about how you're using your life and about your successes and failures, especially if while engaged in any kind of creative activity, I'd bet you'll find, as I found, a mirror of my own thoughts and experiences. But the mirror is a clarifying mirror, unscrambling and clearly articulating what my own thoughts knew only in fragments scattered across years and unifying experiences in a way that shows their direction or need for direction. Many books can state ideas and events clearly; it's a rare book, and this is one of them, that seems to show you your own open pages and read you back to yourself.
3 people found this helpful
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