951_3 Answers That Stop FearArtwork by Joel Nakamura. http://www.joelnakamura.com/


Sometimes creating something new is just downright scary. Many people avoid doing things that haven’t been done before. The only problem is that if you are a “creative,” like me, then this is ultimately not really an option. Creatives, plain and simple, make stuff.

I often feel a tinge of nervousness before I start upon something new. I actually feel this ALWAYS right before I start painting. The fear always comes in the form of 3 questions. I don’t know why or who is asking these – I presume they are the art gremlins aimed at eroding my self-confidence. To keep them in their place and shut them up I answer them.

Art Gremlin Question #1

What if everybody doesn’t like this new work?

Answer:  OK Fine! First of all I have never, never had total rejection with something I have made. There will be some who dislike what you make and others that do not.

This is just a normal, garden variety fact of life. You are not somehow special and exempt from this fact. No one is. Not you or me or Oprah or even Picasso. Fortunately there are millions of people in the world. Embrace and savor those who enjoy what you make and disregard those who don’t.

Art Gremlin Question #2

What if what I am making is not as good as what I made before?

Answer: Do it anyway. There is only one thing worse than trying something and having it flop. Staying comfortable for too long and not creating anything at all is far worse. At first it feels comfortable, but in time it becomes monotonous, and then unbearingly stifling. In time, if the urge to create is ignored, from my experience, the soul retreats. And this is a form of dying to be avoided at all costs. Creation, even with risk, is the safer choice compared to boredom.

Art Gremlin Question #3

Am I qualified to do make my art?

Yes! Duh. Creativity is not something ordained on a select few. Creativity is a part of the operating system of being a human being. We all have it. It is important to remember that our art is derived from our experiences of being alive. Regardless of how old you are, who you are, the life experience from which your art is derived is every bit as interesting and meaningful as any one’s experiences. You are already pre-approved to make art because you are alive.

Does this happen to you too? What questions and more importantly, what answers do you tell your gremlins?

With confidence, Nicholas