I had been thinking pretty hard about photography and art when I came across a book that Orland had co-written with David Bayles, Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Artmaking. This little book asks (and answers) questions like ‘Why should we make art?’ and ‘Why is it so hard for artists to continue making art?’ When I came across it in 1997 or so, I thought I’d come across one of those happy, synchronistic coincidences—a book that was just right for me came along at the exact moment I was ready for it. Since then, though, I’ve come to realize that it’s a timeless classic—that every artist faces many of the same hurdles, and Bayles and Orland drew on their experience to give us pragmatic, practical ways to not only get started making art we care about but to overcome the hurdles and roadblocks that so often result in our not picking up the camera for months on end.
This is pretty much my exact take on Art & Fear, except that I just discovered it a few months ago. I have since been
ramming it down the throat of suggesting it to every artist—be they photographer, potter, dancer, painter, writer, musician, whatever—that I know. I’ve been meaning to do a review of it but haven’t found the time to even try to do it justice.
Ted Orland, co-author of Art & Fear (and noted toy camera photographer), has just come out with a new book, View from the Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way in an Uncertain World (not available from Amazon until 15 April, 2006, though it seems to be available everywhere else).
He writes, "In The View From The Studio Door I’ve tried to confront many broader issues that stand to either side of that artistic moment of truth.
"These are questions that count, because when it comes to artmaking, theory & practice are always intertwined. Simply put, this is a book of practical philosophy—written by, and for, working artists."
I’m picking up a copy today and will post more once I’ve read it. In the mean time, I do suggest reading Paul Butzi’s comments on it. It’s got all the poop and he says it better than I can.