Day 28 - Chapter 8 - Art and Fear
The authors use this chapter to review conceptual words within an art world, looking to clarify the meanings of: IDEAS & TECHNIQUE - Ideas and techniques are two areas often confusing for artists. The authors clearly state that while ideas maybe easy to bring forth, the techniques in which to express these ideas, take time to develop and master. And sometimes an artist confuses their discovery about their art growth with ONLY focusing on the learning of techniques rather than expressing their own ideas. The authors believe it is easier to practice technique than to give form to new ideas. As the authors share “it’s easier to paint the angel’s feet of a master’s artwork than to discover where the angels live within yourself.” Fear and doubt play a role in limiting an artist ability to express the ideas. Yet the burden for the artist is to develop the awareness to produce artwork from one’s ideas, through a practice. The authors remind the reader they find this more appealing rather than providing artwork to show off technique. CRAFT - While craft and art are often separated in the art making world, the authors give a clearer definition of the two. Within craft there is a perfection as the same creative act is repeated. Art is the expression of one’s idea, not necessarily repeated. For example the authors ask if the Mona Lisa is craft or art. A copy of the Mona Lisa would be craft, not art. As the original piece of artwork was an expression of an idea from an artist. Craft is not bad or wrong. The point the authors are making, is that it is not the job of the artist to make perfection. It is the job of the artist to express an idea. For the artist, their work is but an expression. For craft’s task is to produce perfection over and over. NEW WORK - While any artist with a body of work can review their earlier pieces of work, the authors suggest that often at times, an artist may see their earlier work as immature. The artist may become embarrassed by it; being made by a younger, more naive person than where the artist is today. And while the artist is correct, this judgment the authors share is a normal part of the process of artistic maturity. Bayles/Orland recommend reviewing older artwork to identify what one was paying attention to at that time of the artist’s earlier development. And to review their newest work to see what one may not be paying attention to previously. CREATIVITY - the authors seem to not like the word creativity as it may imply that some people have creativity and others don’t. They did not use the “c” word in any of their book. HABITS - While habits help one respond to the familiar automatically, habits also provide the freedom to select what one wants to see. Habits are a style within one’s artwork — they show off reliable and developed techniques. While some may view these habits with a good/bad lens, the authors suggest to see habits as providing the sustaining structure within all work. An artist’s style will permeate throughout a body of work. ARTS & SCIENCE - The authors remind the reader of the differences within the arts and sciences - as art and science outputs depend upon the questions asked. While a science experiment can be repeated with accuracy, making the same art piece is not the same. The experiences, the materials, the artists are different. The authors use the example of “no one else will ever be in the same position to write Hamlet.” The time, the materials, the experiences, the artists are different. Thus in an altered world, our world is altered. And they remind the reader that “the world we see today is the legacy of the people noticing the world and commenting on it in forms that have been preserved.” SELF-REFERENCE - every piece of art is unique. And most often is autobiographical. The authors give examples of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata being woven into Shostakovich Opus 147; Escher’s drawing of his hands, drawing hands; and, the differences between Rembrandt’s and Jackson Pollock’s applications of paint … all unique, all recognizable. They remind the reader, each artist is but a custodian of issues larger than themselves, but that what art they do make, demonstrates what’s important to the artist. METAPHOR - Becoming aware of things about one’s self, one's style, methods, and what one pays attention to becomes but an expression upon the artist’s canvas.
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.
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These are my daily writings for the 100 day project.