The authors breakdown Chapter 7 with regards to the academic world of art into three areas - faculty, student, and books on art. The general focus for this chapter is to bring attention to the reader the perils of how these three areas impact the academic field. As for teaching or instructing in artmaking, the authors share some obstacles which are seldom acknowledge from within a structured educational process. These two areas are -1) the student who is striving to gain an education to produce their best artwork and get an art job, and 2) an instructor who is striving to share the information of how one makes their best artwork, all the while, still producing artwork for themselves.
While there’s no one right way to learn art making, the socially approved path they are questioning in this chapter is the logic of obtaining a higher educational degree in art. The authors lay out their concerns in this manner as they see a cycle perpetuated over and over — While a student might learn under the nurturing space of having the freedom to make their art while attending school, upon graduation they would need to find a job. Not many jobs for full time artist. Artists tend to be self-employed or end up turning to "sales jobs" in order to make an income. They create by doing other people’s art, using their skills but not in a full-filling way to complete their own artwork. Or they turn to teaching art, as their higher degree gives them the credibility to do so. Then their focus begins to change with building the resume to get the prestigious art job. While self-employment or teaching careers are typical, they don’t stay doing their artwork as the authors state - “the discouraging truth is that the rest of the world neither cares whether you make art, nor has much interest in buying it if you do.” Society does not view making art as a real job, as some consider having a real job comes with a salary. However there is one job that society does value for artists — teaching. And the cycle begins again.
The authors frustrated by how books on art rarely share about the making of art, but more are focused on the "genius" of art makers. They suggest this is an area that may mislead potential artists in directions more toward not making art as they might compare themselves to what they are viewing in the book. The artwork in books are meant to be inspirational to those who read art books. Yet too often, one becomes discourage as they do not learn the HOW of making the artwork that is portrayed the books. The premise, they see, is to admire the “genius" of the artist and their artwork. The authors redirect the reader to focus on their OWN voice, their OWN art, and taking the courage of association with other artists to release their potential creative offspring. The authors point out that most art books focus on genius of a particular artist but do not discuss how to find your own inner voice or portray it.
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.