I’m re-reading an interesting book that many of you artists may have read – Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland. It’s a classic survival guide for artists of all backgrounds – if you haven’t read it I highly recommend it. My experience of reading it is a continuous series of exclamations to the effect that “that’s just what I feel!”. Since my recent theme seems to be centering around showing your artwork and the attendant emotional gyrations that entails, I thought another pass through this would be useful.
Here’s one of their observations I found interesting and familiar – there is a common fear among artists that they are “pretending” to be an artist. They are not really an artist, not like all the other “real” artists out there. They cite a couple of reasons for this feeling – you know the accidental nature of much of what ends up in your artwork and you also know what parts of it originated with others. You assume that other “real” artists don’t suffer these same secrets. Hah! Rarely do we feel comfortable admitting to either of these qualities of our work.
I know that in my photography often my favorite shots are totally unexpected and many of my shots I carefully planned out don’t work at all. I do know of photographers who seem to have more control of their craft and can plan shots that work more of the time. Perhaps they do have better technique than me which allows them to do this. But does that make them a better artist, or their art better than mine? Or does it just reflect that they know how to do something specific I don’t (yet)?
Speaking of accidental art, the piece above was taken many years ago of my two young sons. It was one of the first “figures in motion” pieces that I took and it has lead me down a long path, much of which you’ve seen on the blog. At the time, I was just playing around with my camera and liked the unexpected result. Since then, I’ve intentionally used the technique over and over, but it is such that I can’t really predict what will happen anyway. Maybe I’m more comfortable using a technique that is beyond anyone’s control!
I call this piece “Figments of Their Imagination”…