Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fear Project: A Blog By Julie Melman

The Fear Project

Yesterday I was looking for interesting art therapy articles to read and came across Julie Melman's fantabulous blog The Fear Project.  To read a piece on NPR about Julie you can click on this link, but in short: Julie = Associate professor and design educator/illustrator feels creatively blocked with computer illustration, takes on "tangible" art project, interviewing people about their fears and illustrates them on paper.  Here are some examples of Julie's work which I've borrowed from her Society6 website where she has lovely prints for sale.  (All rights reserved to Julie!)

Fear of Marriage & Divorce

Fear of Saying No

Fear of Having Kids

This morning I was struck by an entry she wrote about her creative process and working it out. It's from the page Fear Notes, and it's the entry dated August 17, 2013 Sharing + process + working it out.  In my role as an Art Therapist I frequently have adult clients struggle with the belief that they aren't creative enough, that they don't know how to use art materials, and that what they make will be ugly or "wrong".  As though the innate creativity that exists in each of us could ever be less than perfect.  (If I had a £/$ jar for each time I heard the phrases: "But I don't know how to draw!",  "I'm not artistic.",  "I can't even draw a straight line." I would be one wealthy Art Therapist!)

Sharing + process + working it out.

I often tell people similar things to what Julie says in this post. There is no wrong way to make art. You can't make a mistake, and if you think you have made one, you can work with it or throw it away. Your art is only precious if you want it to be.  You aren't wasting my time or the art materials.  Experiment. See what happens.  Don't plan.  Don't try. Just make.

I think this advice works for so many areas of life.  I often don't do things or won't try things unless I feel like I know what I'm doing, or know what I can expect (physically and emotionally) from the experience.  A false sense of control often pervades my worldview, (and likely the worldview of many of you as well) and I think by not trying something that I'm scared or fearful about I will keep myself safe and comfortable.  While this may sometimes be true, I'm learning that "safe" and "comfortable" doesn't often mean I'll stay "happy" or "feel better".

My fear (for today):  That I can live an unlived life. That someday I'll have regrets.

What are you hesitating to do in your life?  What excuses are you allowing to hold you back before you jump in and try? What would you ask Julie Melman to illustrate for you?  What's your fear?
(Please share your fear in the comments section below!)

“Do not fear death, but rather the unlived life. You don't have to live forever. You just have to live.”

― Natalie Babbitt

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