3 Most Common Fears in Art
The predominant theme in my life continues to be how to overcome fear as a means to experience absolute freedom.
Moving countries, learning a new language, death, divorce, outgrowing the religion of my youth, quitting my corporate job to become a full-time artist, quitting vices, experiencing an erupting volcano, and the unexpected death of my father are just a few of the ways I have experienced fear in my life. Each time, I've done my best to overcome them, and emerge a stronger, "freer'" version of myself. I believe we all come to this dimension to fulfil our life's unique purpose. Mine is expansion and self-actualization by overcoming fear. What's yours? In terms of art, my fears can be summarized in 3 most common categories:
1. Fear of Criticism
Let's face it, we all want to be loved. This is a simple, yet fundamental driving force to our Earthly experience. Will I disappoint my parents, partner, friends, and community if I were to pursue the life of an artist? Will I be shunned, ridiculed or criticised? Overcoming the fear of loss for love and connection can feel enormous. Will the work I create be loved and accepted? What if it isn't? Can I handle this kind of criticism?
2. Fear of Failure
What if I make a mistake? What if I quit my job and spend a whole bunch of money on art supplies and nobody buys my work? How will I be able to pay my bills? An artist at any stage of her/his career will inevitably be faced with these fears. You have a choice: Will you shrink and remain "safe" by staying where you are, or embrace the possibility of failure as a natural part of the process and expand into a new paradigm where your work is loved and accepted?
3. Fear of the Unknown
Dreaming of new possibilities is wonderful, but channelling those dreams into tangible reality is a skill set entirely of its own. Sometimes "the dream" manifests into tangible form in ways we did not foresee or expect. For example: The painting "in my head" is far better than the one I am able to translate onto the canvas. For me, what works in overcoming this obstacle is letting go of the fixed idea altogether. Intead, I adopt a general sense of where I want to go in terms of colors, texture and overall feeling for the piece. I practice allowing the process of creation to evolve into new ideas that are beyond my preconception. Repeatedly, these ideas are far better than the ones I can come up with when I rely too heavily on just logic. It's been said that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. In my personal experience, I have found this to be true.
“…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…” Fear can paralyze us from doing what we need to do to take care of our families and those around us. We should not let it. Fear is not the final word for us. Feelings do not determine our fate. We need to not allow ourselves to fear the state of the world. We should be bold in our actions, most especially in our care for others and for ourselves. That does not mean we do not take caution or heed public concern. As a people, we must strive for a national unity in attempting to care for one another with love and compassion. When we look back on this time, it is my hope that we can look to our actions with pride because we handled ourselves well. That we can be proud of the ways we found to care for others. “These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt
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This blog was created to share my belief that the art-making process is a catalyst for transformation and personal empowerment. I am living proof.