Thursday, September 15, 2011

Creative Candy: ART & FEAR


Just yesterday a musician friend of mine posted this video by Ira Glass on facebook, and it inspired me to write today's Creative Candy, which is all about the fear of making art.




You might think that the other creative people you know simply fell into their careers making a brilliant end-product with no struggle or fear that they could do it. But it is a skill built over time, and it took me a while to acknowledge that.

If you are like me, you may be frustrated that your abilities do not always match up to your expectations, and you may want to quit. Perhaps your interests take you all over the place, so you don't have a clear career trajectory. Perhaps you think this is a sign that you are not meant to be an artist or work in a creative field. That is what I have thought countless times, until I started reading Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland:


I stumbled across this book by mere accident when I was reading the monthly letter from Karin of the band Over the Rhine. I ordered it, and promptly left it collecting dust on my bed-side stack of books for years. During this time the usual thing happened: I faltered in my current creative occupation, I doubted myself, I got frustrated, I thought I sucked at making art, I quit my job, I became a self-loathing hermit. THEN I decided to read the book. I really wish I'd picked it up sooner! Everything we worry about: judgement, confidence, if our work is even relevant or good is covered in its pages, and it is a quick read. Read it!

If anything, it taught me not to get stuck in the words "meant to be" because they are irrelevant and far too dire! If you love interior design and can think of doing nothing else, then my goodness, do it! And when you hit a bump, just know it's normal. If you have multiple interests, like me, don't feel bad if you have no clear answer when people ask you what you do. Instead, celebrate your curiosity and the fact that you love so many things. Then do a lot of everything!

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