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Extended Audio Sample Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking Audiobook, by David Bayles Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00036549707602 out of 53.00036549707602 out of 53.00036549707602 out of 53.00036549707602 out of 53.00036549707602 out of 5 3.00 (10,944 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Bayles, Ted Orland Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2012 ISBN: 9781452677514
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Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking is one of those books that exemplifies the saying, "brevity is the soul of wit." In print, the book is a scant 130 pages while, as an audiobook, it can be devoured in three hours. However, the prose is beautifully composed, almost poetic in its sense of flow. It's obvious that many hours were spent revising this book until it reached this polished final phase. So the artistry that went into the book contrasts with its ultimate message which is very pragmatic.

Bayles and Orland, the two authors, go into the issues that artists face when producing artwork, the major one being fear. Artists are afraid of many things—of being misunderstood, of producing bad work, of not being worth much as human beings or as artists. Often, the fear gets to be too much, and the artist stops making art altogether.

However, Bayles and Orland believe that it's the process of making art which holds all the answers. If you're dedicated and you pursue the art with all that you have, it will give you the answers you're looking for. You'll discover who you are as a person and as an artist by actually doing the work. They insist that the majority of work that most artists do is actually not that good. Only a small portion of it is good, and by working more, you learn to do more of that kind of work.

Overall, this is a gem that belongs on the bookshelf of every artist, whether s/he is already established or just beginning his/her career. It's an inspiration for when you're feeling blocked and provides some time-tested techniques to get past that feeling. It is full of encouragement as well as good advice.

David Bayles grew up in Colorado and Texas, going to school at the University of Colorado where he studied Sociology and Philosophy. He also went to graduate school for Sociology but realized that he wanted to be an artist and took up photography. He was greatly influenced by Ansel Adams, using his books to teach himself to shoot and spent the 80s doing commercial photography. He is currently a conservationist working for the Pacific Rivers Council.

Ted Orland went to USC where he studied Industrial Design. Like Bayles, he was greatly influenced by Ansel Adams; he took a workshop with Adams and ended up working as his workshop assistant. He also got a Master's in Interdisciplinary Creative Arts from San Francisco State University and started teaching. He has taught at Stanford, the University of Oregon and a number of workshop centers.

What is your art really about? Where is it going? What stands in the way of getting it there?These are questions that matter, questions that recur at each stage of artistic development-and they are the source for this volume of wonderfully incisive commentary. Art & Fear explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way.This is a book about what it feels like to sit in your studio or classroom, at your wheel or keyboard, easel or camera, trying to do the work you need to do. It is about committing your future to your own hands, placing free will above predestination, choice above chance. It is about finding your own work. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Old Man Parker | 10/17/2016

    " AMAZING BOOK! I'm a working "Low-Brow" Fine-Artist. I hit a wall in mid-career. This book talked to me - told exactly what I was going through. It saved my career, and maybe my life. Thank you David & Ted! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Old Man Parker | 10/17/2016

    " AMAZING BOOK! I'm a working "Low-Brow" Fine-Artist. I hit a wall in mid-career. This book talked to me - told exactly what I was going through. It saved my career, and maybe my life. Thank you David & Ted! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 2/20/2014

    " I will always be reading this book. This has helped me through some dark dark times as an artist. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristi Willard | 2/17/2014

    " The best book on the development of art from an emotional perspective. Why are we afraid we are not good enough to produce art? Amazing questions and answers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 2/12/2014

    " Great book on making art and being an artist or maker of things. It's a quick read but a good one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alyssa Greatbanks | 2/8/2014

    " This is a book I hope to read again every year. It's one of the few "self-help" books that I think actually helped me. And I recommend it to any and all artists, even if they only read it once. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 2/6/2014

    " A clear and direct discussion of the making of art, and how to be creative in spite of, or along with, fear about the process. Because fear is a central human experience, it is interesting to read this book while considering Life the creative project. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 2/3/2014

    " This book is about the challenges in making, or not making, art. Making art is difficult. Many times artists will stop making art and then feel guilty about not returning. Why? The is what the author says-- "Lack of confidence and self doubt -- I'm not an artist-- I'm a phony; other people are better than I am; I've never had a real exhibit; I'm no good. Or maybe fear about what others say after looking at your work. Basically the only work really worth doing-- the only work you can do convincingly -- is the work that focuses on the things you care about. The individual recipe any artist finds for proceeding belongs to that artist alone-- it's non-transferable and no of little use to others. In the end it all comes down to this: you have a choice between giving your work your best shot and risking that it will not make you happy, or not giving it you best shot-- and thereby GUARANTEEING that it will not make you happy. It becomes a choice between certainty and uncertainty. And curiously, uncertainty is the comforting choice." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gillian Thomas | 1/21/2014

    " Loved this book! Devoured it in two days. If you are looking at this book because it intrigues you as an artist with a mental road block then read it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jesse | 1/18/2014

    " Not just for artists. This book contains sound advice for anyone who finds themselves sometimes paralyzed by expectations, their own and others'. It reads a slap in the face from a best friend, mingled with the wisdom of a mentor. Highly recommended. I know I will turn to it again and again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annalisa | 1/12/2014

    " I read this book about once every 2 years, just as a reminder. :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth A | 1/8/2014

    " when your confidence is lagging, this is a one-day gem that will have you back in the studio. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 1/5/2014

    " i heard a friend comment even non-artists should read this... i'm not so i'd agree with that "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexandra MacKenzie | 12/31/2013

    " A short and lucid examination of the struggles artists often go through during the creative process that applies equally well to writers or performers. Insightful look at the psychology and philosophy of making art in modern times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ashley Howard | 12/31/2013

    " I have read bits of this book when I need a good kick in the butt and it always works! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 GH How | 12/20/2013

    " Excellent reading. Provides wonderful insight into what constitutes artmaking and what stops us from artmaking. Easy read yet powerful ideas that can inspire anyone to go out there and make some art! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alex | 12/16/2013

    " I enjoy Art, I'm not an artist. i read this book looking for inspirations on how to evaluate what I like, how to express my feelings about art in words. This was helpful, but will look for more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tishon | 12/15/2013

    " By far the best art theory book I've read to date. It tells you things you know but didn't know you knew. It's an essential read for the artist willing to delve deeper into her motivations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tammy V | 12/9/2013

    " Must read for every artist. Validates everything you're experiencing and encourages you to keep on going. I read pieces of it all the time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anthony Haden | 7/27/2013

    " An excellent companion piece to "As You Think" by James Allen. Although geared specifically towards artist, the main thrust applies to everyone in every walk of life. About living well, creating what you wish, and staying in touch with what drives you to do both. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mikel | 6/20/2013

    " This book is like talking to a wise good friend. Encouraging and gentle all while telling you that you really need a kick in the ass to go put in the work. It's an easy read and a book that will stay on my shelf. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen Probst | 6/12/2013

    " A must read for all artists! You will go back to this again and again. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lindsay Joy | 6/8/2013

    " This is one of those rants about creativity, but Bayles goes on a tangent about "mere craft" at some point and loses me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tammysparkle | 6/3/2013

    " The book was written well, and I can see other people enjoying it, but I found no new insights/ideas/questions to ponder within it's covers (for me). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Debra Daniels-zeller | 5/14/2013

    " I liked this book, and I could say I found it inspiring, but the reasons for making art seemed a bit repetative. It wasn't a book that kept me in suspense or moved me to change my life and I mostly read it while standing in lines to pass the time. Perhaps I'll give it another try someday. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michael | 2/19/2013

    " overtly pretentious and very repetitive; 100-something pages of: "Just be yourself." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tank Green | 2/13/2013

    " it was 'fun the first time' so i am re-reading to try to reinvigorate my sucky self. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caborst | 1/3/2013

    " A tidy little book at less than 125 pages full of insight! This little book made me remember why art is so important to me, but also gave me the encouragement not to give up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dorie | 12/13/2012

    " Although this book was a bit wordy, the authors really pinpointed the specific fears that I face in songwriting and it was comforting to learn that other artists struggle with the same problems that I do. The most valuable lesson I learned from Art & Fear is that art is all about starting over. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry Marshall | 11/29/2012

    " A great book with a unique view of art, whether it is writing, drawing, or music. Everyone who believes that artistic talent is something that only a few have should read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meran niCuill | 10/9/2012

    " I believe EVERY artist should read this book. "

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About the Author

David Bayles is an accomplished photographer, author, workshop leader, and conservationist. He has studied with Ansel Adams and Brett Weston, among others, and has taught and written extensively in the arts for over thirty years. Bayles is coauthor, with Ted Orland, of Art & Fear, the perennial bestseller on issues of artistic development, and Notes on a Shared Landscape: Making Sense of the American West. He lives in the woods just outside Eugene, Oregon, and spends part of his time on the Monterey Peninsula.

About the Narrator

Arthur Morey has won three AudioFile Magazine “Best Of” Awards: in 2011 for Biography and History, in for History and Historical Fiction, and in 2009 for Nonfiction and Culture. His work has also garnered twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, and he has been nominated for an Audie Award. He graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. As a narrator, he has received nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.