Shop Talk

Open Discussion: How Important is Fear to Your Artwork?

"Making art can feel dangerous and revealing. Making art is dangerous and revealing. Making art precipitates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be. For many people, that alone is enough to prevent their ever getting started at all -- and for those who do, trouble isn't long in coming."

The above quote comes from David Bayles and Ted Orland’s 2001 book, Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking. It certainly strikes a chord, particularly considering we’re smack dab in the middle of the Halloween season , in which we are consistently reminded of those fearful, terrible things that go bump (and murder us) in the night.

And since fear is the topic of the day, I want to pose a question to you fine readers of the RB Blog: is fear good when it comes to making art? Does it fuel your creativity? Does it stifle it? Do you need to keep it at bay so you can successfully create? And if you do, how do you chain up that many headed beast of self-doubt, abject failure, and seemingly unrelenting misery?

"The Gravelord v.2" by heliumash

We live in a time of so many existential fears whether it be terrorism, endless wars, outbreaks, natural disasters, and phones too big for our pockets. How can we possibly manage these very real, tangible fears with those spewed forth from our own, admittedly creative, yet surely damaged psyches? How can we continue to create? Is art the escape? Is art the flame that was sparked by the terror? Is being scared a necessary component to a successful career as an artist?

Let’s talk more about this in the comments below.

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Jen Durant

Redbubble Artist Relationship Manager