I love your article. Its so true and interesting to read and realise its not just me thinking these things. Thank you very much. I just want to say that my website isn’t up to date. So I put my more recent work on my face book page.
Fear is like a wall of resistance, holding you back from writing or whatever your artform is. Part of being an artist is learning to push through that resistance. Maybe that’s how we bring something meaningful to the other side, through the struggle.
I think you’re exactly right Joshua, that part of being a creative artist is learning how to overcome these fears and doubts and then find a way to do it anyway. The other problem is the fact that these things never really go away. Think about how nice it would be if we could “solve” these problems once and then not have to deal with them anymore, but unfortunately that’s not the way it works.
The one thing that experience does offer us is the ability to occasionally tune out and ignore some of these critical little voices, but they we always still be there rattling around inside our head.
Thanks for the response Josh.
Drew, you are definitely right. We have to constantly remind ourselves that we will always have fears. It’s the fighting through the fears that’s important.
Even the most successful artists have fears. It’s just their fears are on a much grander scale.
Amazing article! Really hit home since I am currently first year art student and that pretty must sums up all my fears but now I know what to do!
Really on point. The fear of success especially hit home with me as I had 3 separate customers negotiating to buy 2 of my paintings for an enormous amount of money and not only did I refuse to negotiate I did not even take their names phone numbers or email so I had no way to contact them when my art gallery shut down suddenly. Who does that? A person fearful of success does that. Thanks again for the article
How would you deal with the effect of popular opinion undervaluing arts and crafts?
I always get compliments on my work and suggestions to sell it but when I tell them the price I’d have to charge they instanly think that’s too expensive for them. They want the prices to compete with big box stores when what they are getting is actually a custom made or one of a kind item that isn’t supposed to be made as cheaply and in large quantities.
The arts and crafts market might not be the right place for you. You need to specifically target people who are willing and able to pay the price you are looking for. That or try creating simpler items that cost less to work on and create. Then you have offerings at multiple price points.
Megan – I don’t know what you create, but the arts & crafts field possibly IS the right market for you, but these are the wrong customers. If they are looking for imported trinkets at made-overseas-in-near-slave-labour-factory-cheap prices, send them to Walmart and Dollarama. The World economy is NOT China’s. Hand-made art costs are NOT comparable to imported junk. But how do you respond when someone loves YOUR work, your ARTWORK, and balks at paying what it is properly worth?
EDUCATE THEM!! One thing many artists fear / fail at / don’t know how to begin is creating a good sales pitch – THAT is your marketing! TELL people WHY your art is worth exactly what you have told them it’s worth (and in fact is probably worth even more than that!) Your SKILL, Your education and experience, Your research and development (which is a real way to describe your experiments, learning processes and failures – it’s what it takes to get you to where you are now, AND where you are going!) Your innate creativity and honed abilities – THAT is what you get paid for.
It is wise to have multiple price points (and people often buy the middle priced items – they want but can’t afford the most expensive things and they don’t want the cheapest things so they buy the mid-priced things, It’s called a “Goldilocks zone”) So do NOT simply lower your standards and create cheaper things, RAISE your standards and create more expensive things, too! Raise the bar, be the BEST at what YOU do, and be prepared to tell everyone why YOUR art is WORTH it.
It is a hard slog to stand up for yourself this way, but it is worth it to the WORLD. I am passionate about the value of art and the value that creators give to society, not just for their art, but for the education about the VALUE of things.
Thanks for the comment Kathy. You can’t change the past, but you can definitely learn from that experience. It’s a good sign that someone was willing to pay a lot for your work. You just need to find people who love your work just as much.
Fear is devastating to creative living.I’m 2-3 months behind in all my bills,my art storage is day’s short of auction,with over 40 years of unsold art.I call collectors almost daily without any urgent interest,other then keeping in touch.
Tough finances is always hard to deal with. When the urgency is that high, you need to fix it before things spiral out of control. That might mean getting less than what your art is worth. Try seeing if someone is willing to buy the whole lot of your art. Do whatever you can to get back on track.
…what if You become artist only for 4 years…and then I would lovelovelove read what You will say…!!
your article is bright and exciting
but only artist are able to ‘scan’ the problem.
I mean ….ya….theory…
yes I appreciate the article.
ahhhh, fear. I’ve done myself a favor by painting “Don’t Be Afraid” on the wall of my studio. I need that reminder every day. Try it.
Good article and some sound advice
The fear of the unknown and the fear of failure sounds familiar to me (I think to most of us), we never know if we’re good enough or if we are considerate at least “good” in the community/society we live in. One important point is that: when creating art, we are constantly criticized and judged, it is hard to take the feedback (especially when you put so much effort in what you do and it is negative), but you’re right, we need to move out of our comfort zone and keep going. After all, with all the people in the world, we’ll find someone who will like our work for sure. :)
Fantastic article! Full of great information written in English people can understand without referring to a thesaurus. Some authors like to dazzle their audience with words to make themselves sound self-important instead of knowledgable about their subject and willing to share it with others.
Love your post. Thank you!
Right now i’m in fear of trying hard. I suffer from bipolar disorder when depression kicks in my fear and doubt increase I end up wasting hours looking at a blank canvas or just messy sketches. I know I can do better, but my brain is like ” Why should we ? Were tired , Just sit there and think about what you can’t do.” These thoughts run around and around.
So I went to google this to see if i’m the only one who feels this lack of motivation and fear. This article summed up everything I felt and bookmarked this to always come back and read it.
I had to teach myself art, I got pregnant at 19 and was dealing with an abusive relationship for 4 years and I think he also influences my fear. I went into Cosmetology but the only thing I cared about was coloring and a lot of places weren’t hiring colorist .. One day 2 years ago I got mad at someone who ripped me off . I was so mad something clicked in me to start drawing and everyday , every hour I didn’t have something to do was spent studying , practicing, timing, anatomy. I went out of the comfort zone my mind was completely focused, but this years I feel like that bubble burst . I was struggling to finish even sketches and there were discoloriing are specks everywhere on some and it got to be so hard. Especially being digital artist you see these amazing people who can use photoshop and make these amazing pieces and here I am still struggling with the though that I have improved I am better.
Thank you for the article it really cleared my mind. Knowing i’m not alone in this and that there is advice I can follow feels like a load has been lifted off of me.
I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer. The thing that gets me feeling overwhelmed is that I’m creating more stuff that the world doesn’t need.
How is my art be any better, more inspiring or necessary then if a customer find somebody else’s.
I love to support other artists but in reality I don’t want to own any more things sometimes I even feel guilty about selling people stuff they don’t need. (And who am I to say they don’t need it?, I know.)
Even within the concept of upcycling, i still know things will eventually end up in the trash, it just takes it a longer time to get there.
Thanks for the opportunity to freak out a little bit. Argggh!
I think this I-make-unnecessary-things feeling is something that most creative artists deal with at some point. I mean, after all, does the world really need another mystery novel or painting to hang on the wall? Probably not in a utilitarian sense, but at the same time, people don’t really make most of their decisions based on logic despite what we may tell ourselves. We buy novels, listen to music, watch movies, and eat junk food because we like the feeling that it gives us–not because we need it.
So although it may be true that the world doesn’t technically need any more movies, books, music, or artwork–we still want it because it gives us something important, which is an emotional connection to something outside of ourselves. We often see ourselves in these creations and they can make us feel more understood and less isolated.
Thanks again Freya for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. Have faith and do whatever you can to keep making your art. Be confident that sooner or later it will find its audience, and when it does, it has the ability to truly make a difference in someone’s life.
Normally the Fear Of Rejection, the fear of being ourselves, and the fear or not releasing perfect art is normally what I have.
great article. You’re right! All artist leave in fear. It is not just the financial side of things, it’s the fact that art can be so hard to reevaluate, as artists we are often our worst critic.
Fabulous Article!! I think I will print it and refer to it as needed, lol