Art & Fear

Being an artist is a constant reality check.

I have had a really hard time writing this blog post and publishing it. This paragraph didn’t even exist until the 4th draft of this post. I think it’s important to share the struggle of the process. I moved paragraphs around, deleted and re-wrote sentences, checked and re-checked for mistakes or inconsistencies. This is not just a blog post to me – it’s my personal writing which is art and it is sharing a part of my deeper, darker self.

The idea of putting yourself and something I have created out into the universe is precisely when fear can creep in and stir up self-doubt. I have struggled with this throughout my life and unfortunately, I often let fear set me back. My cousin Casey and I have had many conversations about this very topic, which is why I’m glad she thought to let me borrow a book called Art & Fear – Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Art Making.” What’s really amazing, is that you can actually download the PDF of this book by clicking on that link! How amazing is that. I love when people share.

Photo by Casey Joy Carroll

I read a few pages, then sat on it for a while, as my book reading tally for the year 2019 was already pretty bleak (and I have so many new books to read!). But with the release of this blog over the summer and creating more personal projects, I was letting the fear of putting myself out there start to debilitate me. I still haven’t officially announced the blog to family and friends, only a select few and then a others who might have caught on. It’s not like I necessarily have to announce this new blog, but it is meant to be a way to connect with others. And how will I connect with others if I don’t put myself out there and proclaim my intent?

So then I finally read the rest of the book.

Photo by Casey Joy Carroll

I was blown away to find it presented the very questions that constantly jostled around in my head. Suddenly I had validation for my fears, and in turn was presented with a new perspective of my own internal struggle, my own fears. Fear of getting too personal, fear of revealing my raw self, and maybe most of all – my fear of non-reaction. This is something I plan to write about more in the near future. Meanwhile, this excerpt from the book stood out to me so I had to share it.

“Making art can feel dangerous and revealing. Making art is dangerous and revealing. Making art precipitates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be.”
~page 13, Art & Fear~

What you know you should be = Sunshine/Light

What you fear you might be = Shadow/Darkness

I believe that you cannot have art without opening up deeper connections with your shadow self. There is absolutely fear while creating art, since it’s a process of understanding who you really are, underneath.

Photo by Casey Joy Carroll

What I love about this is that you don’t have to be an artist to relate to the reality of fear and how it can set you back in life. But for me, this realization and my art has allowed me to open up and be more vulnerable. Just getting in front of the camera rather than behind it came with its own set of fears, but I am doing it. I am growing.

“Your growth as the artist is a growth toward fully realizable works – works that become real in full illumination of all that you know.
Including all that you know about yourself.”
~page 112 – Art & Fear~

Are you an artist with similar struggles? We’d love to hear your story. Comment below or email us at SunShadowCollective@gmail.com.

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