Thursday, July 30, 2009

Art and Fear

I looked at an old sketch book from 2007 yesterday. From time to time I review my old sketch books to find inspiration and to see what I was thinking one year, three years, five years ago. I'm often surprised to find that similar ideas circulate throughout my work. Sometimes I complete a painting only to discover later on when perusing my sketchbooks that I had made an earlier sketch of the same image.

Yesterday what inspired me were some quotes from the book, "Art and Fear" by David Bayles and Ted Orland.

I wrote these notes in my sketchbook that continue to resonate with me.

"As an artist you're expected to make each successive piece uniquely new and different yet reassuringly familiar when set alongside your earlier work. You're expected to make art that's intimately (perhaps even painfully) personal-yet alluring and easily grasped by an audience that has never known you personally."

"..for most art there is no client, and in making it you lay bare a truth you perhaps never anticipated: that by your very contact with what you love, you have exposed yourself to the world. How could you NOT take criticism of that work personally?"

And this: ..."in our artwork there is nothing but reaction. The breathtakingly wonderful thing about this reaction is its truthfulness. Look at your work and it tells you how it is when you hold back and when you embrace. When you are lazy, your art is lazy; when you hold back, it holds back; when you hesitate, it stands there staring, hands in it's pockets. But when you commit, it comes on like blazes."

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