Fear and art

Today I had a conversation with a long time art friend about her work. We usually bounce ideas off each other here and there. She does these beautiful pastel drawings that I feel strongly she should do more of.

We talked about being afraid and our confidence in making things as creatives. I thought, I gotta write about this. This is what we all experience as we create. Creativity is about being brave while you’re afraid.

You never really know how your ideas will be taken. Is it “good enough”? You get stuck in the hamster wheel of perfectionism….I’ll share it when it’s perfect. I’ll post it when I start doing it perfectly. It’s the biggest and worst lie a creative can get themselves caught in, because guess what…perfection exists in the eye of the beholder. If you never share your work, the imperfect and authenticity of your work will never be seen and therefore can never touch another persons soul.

In my mind, sharing your work, even the failures helps others connect to you. I’m not a very social person, so by sharing my work it helps me to socialize in a deeper way. Sometimes just knowing someone saw the artwork and liked it let’s me know that I made a connection with that person.

If we hide our beautiful true selves and our creations that that self makes, we do a disservice to ourselves and the world.

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” -Edgar Degas

To make work and not share it helps you practice but doesn’t necessarily help you grow. In your existence, your adversities, and your experience in life you have a voice in your soul (getting a little woo woo here but hang on), you have a perspective of reality and of the world that will never exist again. No two people have the exact same life, genetics, personality etc etc. What you bring into this world is your finger print on the window of life. To not share is to not connect, and therefore the good stuff in life that you put out there never exists…it vanishes…dust to dust.

“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has ever known.” -Oscar Wilde

So we’ve established that it’s important to share…but what about the fear? Fear of it not being liked? Fear of looking silly? Fear of being judged?

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life-and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” -Georgia O’Keefe

Imagine a world in which THE Georgia O’Keefe decided she was too afraid to share her work. I for one would be so sad, she is a personal favorite of mine. Maybe I wouldn’t be an artist today because of it. Maybe millions of people wouldn’t be artists because of it. There was a day when she chose and in that choice she changed the world.

Now we aren’t all going to be famous artists, but just one artwork and one viewer (other than yourself) can create a ripple in the world around you. It could mean something to that person that changes something and then they change someone else etc etc. One thing I have learned is that sometimes you just have to do it even though you’re afraid. Think of all of the connections and experiences you miss when you don’t do something from fear. We all have at least one moment in our lives when fear overcame us and we decided not to. To not ask out the girl, to not jump off the diving board, to not take that job. It creates regret. We didn’t try hard enough. We didn’t want it badly enough. So it never existed and no good came of it.

Some people might mistakenly assume that because I’m sharing all my work that I think it’s perfect and that I have no fear, and those people would be terribly wrong. Not long ago, I made a point to show my art buddies a moment where I had screwed up a drawing royally. I had to figure out how to hide my permanent mistake. And somehow I did. I always have parts of drawings that I wish were better or done differently. I get afraid of posting it and no one liking it. I have fear, but I do the work and share it because I don’t want to have regrets. I don’t want to be heartbroken at the end of my life because I hid my ideas and creations in a closet or attic someplace. We can’t all be Emily Dickinson. ( her work wasn’t discovered until after her passing)

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul-and sings the tunes without words-and never stops at all.” -Emily Dickinson

Be hopeful and afraid, don’t stop creating and sharing because of what someone else “might” think. Be amazing!




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