Sometimes we are stupidly blinkered even when we strive not to be. I know that I am more likely to pick up (and pay for) a book published by one of the big, better-known publishers, than one from some unknown publishing house. Yet, it is not uncommon to discover precious books otherwise drown in a cacophony of big brands shouting for attention once one starts to listen to the whispers. And & Fear, by David Bayles and Ted Orland is such a book.
Currently made available by the authors’ own imprint, Image Continuum (detractors of independent publishing please take note), Art & Fear has been around since 1993 and is now in its 8th print run (take note again). Once I started flicking over a bowl of hot porridge (which I find remarkably nice these days), it became apparent that a good book about making art is not likely to die a sudden death.
Because I spent the day with a friend and writing colleague, some of this book’s pages immediately rang with the certitude of deep understanding as we began talking about sharing our work and getting feedback about it when it is not quite ready. If you ever felt like you are your own fiercest enemy and greatest critic, believe you me my friend, you’re not alone.
‘To all viewers but yourself what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you, and you alone, what matters is the process: the experience of shaping that artwork. The viewers’ concerns are not your concerns (although it’s dangerously easy to adopt their attitudes). Their job is whatever it is: to be moved by art, to be entertained by it, to make a killing of it, whatever. Your job is to learn to work on your work’.
And the upshot is that learning to work on your work and learning to come to terms with the steps that constitute this process is not something that can be understood overnight. Here’s where Art & Fear comes to the rescue: if you’ve ever felt like nobody but you understands... go and order this from Amazon.