Five Favorite Quotes from Art & Fear by Bayles & Orland

Last week I mentioned that I was re-reading my copy of Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland as preparation for moving out of my comfort zone.  This week, as I continue to circle page 1 of the super-seekrit project, I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite quotes.  If you haven’t read Art & Fear, you really should.  I find the wisdom very comforting.

“Making art precipitates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be. For many people, that alone is enough to prevent their ever getting started at all….” (Bayles and Orland, Art & Fear, page 13)

“…if artists share any common view of magic, it is probably the fatalistic suspicion that when their own art turns out well, it’s a fluke – but when it turns out poorly, it’s an omen.” (Bayles & Orland, Art & Fear, page 34)

“…courting approval, even that of peers, puts a dangerous amount of power in the hands of the audience…..” (Bayles and Orland, Art & Fear, page 47)

“It’s easier to rate artists in terms of the recognition they’ve received (which is easily compared) than in terms of the pieces they’ve made (which may be as different as apples and waltzes.) And when that happens, competition centers not on making work, but on collecting the symbols of acceptance and approval of that work.” (Bayles and Orland,  Art & Fear, page 71 ) Barb’s note: For writers that would be awards, contracts and…. Amazon rankings.

“The individual recipe any artist finds for proceeding belongs to tat artist alone – it’s non-transferable and of little use to others.  It won’t help you to know exactly what Van Gogh needed to gain or lose in order to get on with his work. What is worth recognizing is that Van Gogh needed to gain or lose at all, that his work was no more or less inevitable than yours, and that he – like you – had only himself to fall back on.” (Bayles and Orland,  Art & Fear, Page 117.

Art & Fear: An Artist’s Survival Guide by David Bayles & Ted Orland  is available online at both Barnes & Noble and Amazon.


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