Book Review: Art and Fear

Art and Fear is a book about artists and the fears that often prevent them from reaching their full potential.  It’s about making art, and most especially, about not quitting.

The book truly resonated with me, and I found myself highlighting quotes on almost every page.  For example, “The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars… even the failed pieces are essential.  To me, the single most important message was the author’s 

Operating Manual for Not Quitting


  1. Make friends with others who make art, and share your in-progress work with each other frequently.
  2. Learn to think of (A), rather than MOMA, as the destination of your work. (If all goes well, MOMA will eventually come to you.)

All of this is to fight the tendency that we all have to set a single goal, and then, when we achieve it, we go adrift.  I had a personal experience with this last fall, as I focused my attention on a single photo project.  When the project was complete, I went over a month before clicking the shutter again.

The quote has also inspired me to gather a group of fellow photographers to meet on a regular basis to share work and talk about our art.

A book that inspires action, and not just ideas, is a rare find indeed.

Art and Fear is very agnostic in terms of what kind of art it refers to.  While I approached the book as a photographer, it applies equally to painting, sculpture, music, writing, or even dance.

Highly recommended.

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