The Fear of Failure and Your Art

It’s been a while since I have updated the blog and there’s no excuse except that I have been scared. Scared of failure and perfection. This post is about the thoughts I have been having that have kept me from being creative and my ideas on how to overcome them. 

As an emerging artist we all experience the fear of failure. Maybe you don’t think that you’re afraid of failure but that you’re afraid of not producing something perfect. These two feelings are the same. If you think that every piece of work you create must be perfect then you are setting yourself up for failure. We hear it all the time; “don’t be afraid of failure” and we probably all know that it’s true but it’s still hard to put into practice. In the art world as well as social media where everything is curated it can seem like everything we see is perfect. The reality is that the finished pieces you see in a gallery or a social media account went through many learning phases and iterations. Art is a dialog between not only the work and the audience but between the work and the artist. The best way to build a dialog between yourself and your work is to keep making new work. Only by making new work can you learn what’s working and what isn’t. 

In my studio work the fear of failure has been keeping from trying new things in my series The Corrupted Landscape. I’ve wanted to try to start painting and collaging glitched landscapes but the fear of failure has kept me in a state of procrastination. I didn’t take a single painting class at school and don’t have much confidence in my skills. The same can be said for anyone though. Everyone has to start from somewhere and often the hardest thing is to just start. The fear of failure has also affected my blog writing. Instead of writing new posts, I’ve been worrying that the topics aren’t relevant enough to spark interest in readers. I will never know unless I try though. 

The fear of failure can strike at anytime but in my experience it often comes around at times of burnout or new beginnings. The past few weeks I’ve been going through both. I’ve felt burnout using the same processes to produce glitch images which led me to wanting to explore painting and collage. These times are the hardest for artists but also the most important. Hard times lead to the fear of failure and the fear of failure stops you from creating new work. This is how one can find themselves no longer enjoying being an artist or even quitting. The key to getting over the fear of failure is to start and jump into whatever you are fearing. As you experiment and refine your process you will come across some failures. It is inevitable but also something that everyone experiences. The real test of being an artist is to not be perfect but learn from your mistakes and adapt.


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