To survive as an artist, the authors suggest, confronting the fears that have been pervasive. Most people quit even before they begin. Yet what is common is the emotional ground they all stand upon -- FEAR, the perception of the unknown. Artist who have moved past this emotional field, on to a higher understanding, have learned how NOT to quit in spite of the the fearful routines. For some artists embrace curiosity consistently to move within their work. Fear, as the authors suggest, will alway be part of this cycle for a new idea. Stopping and starting are part of the process. Quitting is much different than stopping…as quitting only happens once. The stop/start is part of the process of developing a piece of artwork. One might not have all the access to the data needed to finish the piece.
The authors further suggest an artist QUITS when they lose the destination for their work... A place where their artwork belongs. One place to keep their destination is with friends, within a community rather than a museum. They are encouraged to hang with other like-minded people who share the world of art making and are able to share in-progress work with each other. For some art students, there is a gradual decline of students working in their field. The authors point toward the Critic as a potential contributor to this absence. Their argument of what would society do if the same was happening in the medical field and med students not continuing on in their field. There would be an investigation. Why is there not one for arts field? The main point of their argument is the loss of art students continuing in their field is the absence of continued support after art school. More importantly the authors reinforce artists finding a community to support their continued growth with challenging the fears and not quitting. All might fall into laziness or other patterns of resistance such as with deadlines, irritations with materials and surroundings, or a narrow focus on comparing self to others. The three areas to pay attention to is 1) the vision, 2) knowledge of materials, and 3) uncertainty. The authors suggest what holds an artist often from completing a project is “undisciplined imagination.” Artist don’t dream about making great art someday … they dream about having made great art.
The euphoria is on the finished task, not the process. The process can and often becomes frustrating not because the process is slow, but because the artist imagines it to be fast. In this part of the growth process, the authors suggest an artist contributes to their own suffering by holding on to beliefs, and unwilling to question the interjecting fears that come with any project. Most often materials are easily mastered. It is an artist’s belief about their potential with the materials, the uncertainty, the risk of insufficient information. Materials have potential and are reliable, but the limits are placed within the artist’s hands in their ability to use the materials with sufficient knowledge. The authors end the chapter with “tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding.” The ability to work through the creative process with uncertainty is essential to having a successful strategy with completing artwork. Holding a project with control or a need for certainty limits a person’s ability to embrace the upcoming mistakes and surprises along the way, as completing art is taking a chance with the desired outcome.
I encourage you to buy a copy of Art and Fear for a better understanding of your own creative process. Whether you're a master artist or beginning artist, this is an excellent book.