Book Review: Art & Fear

I've been reading some interesting books lately that I want to tell you about. Let's start with Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland. Now the title alone was enough to make me want to read this one, but the description on the back sealed the deal. It reads, in part: "This is a book about what it feels like to sit in your studio or classroom, at your wheel or keyboard, easel or camera, trying to do the work you need to do. It is about committing your future to your own hands, placing Free Will above predestination, choice above chance. It is about finding your own work."

So, you can see this isn't a book specifically about writing, but it is about doing your work as a writer. It is about those things common to all artists: finding inspiration, figuring out what to do with it, doubting yourself, feeling jealous of peers. There is an interesting chapter on the academic world and the artist's role there. But the question that intrigues the authors most is why do so many people who start off making art, stop.

I liked this one because it was written for working artists. And some of the things I read here I have only come across in conversations with other artists (but in book format you can avoid the nasty disagreements and messy affairs - just kidding). Other things written about in Art & Fear I've only had conversations with myself about. (Don't pretend I am the only one here who converses with themselves - what else is there to do when you're brushing your teeth?)

Anyway, I really enjoyed Art & Fear. If it sounds like something you might enjoy I recommend getting your hands on a copy. Mine has found a permanent home on my bookshelf.

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