Overcoming Your Fear As An Unknown Artist

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“Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun.” — Christina Rossetti

An array of amazing talents that create fascinating art choose to stay hidden in the privacy of their working spaces because of the crippling fears and doubts they have built around their artwork. Fear is also a fascinating category; at most times, it can be a life-saving factor that keeps us away from dangerous and harmful situations. But when it comes to creating and presenting art, fear is one of artists’ greatest enemies that prevent them from achieving their fullest potentials. 

Emerging artists are torn between the unbearable urge to embody and share their creative vision with the world and the paralyzing fear of failure. From giving yourself permission to follow your heart to how to build relationships within the art community or a potential client, creative artists struggle with many concerns. However, don’t let this anxiety stop you; fear tells your inner artist to come out and fight to show the world what you can contribute.

The burning question is how to help young creatives build confidence in their work vital for overcoming numerous fears and doubts. This article will focus on overcoming fear and empowering aspiring artists to fight the most common obstacles that may prevent them from creating a successful art career. Here you will find out that three widespread concerns among the emerging artists are:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of criticism
  • Fear of the unknown

This article will offer useful tips that will help you face your biggest fears and help you start believing that your creative vision is valuable enough to be presented to a broader audience. You need to know that you are not the only one struggling with these obstacles. Many successful artists have been questioning the importance and value of their art. Therefore, we have compiled some of the most significant tips that young artists may use to release themselves from all negativities and start building relevant art careers.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon @sharonmccutcheon on Unsplash

Fear Of Failure

Everyone who has ever engaged in a creative process has experienced this fear. When you put all your essential thoughts, feelings, and ideas into an art form, you want to get a positive reception. The idea that your work will not be understood and well accepted by the audience or the art establishment may be devastating. 

Realizing that a career in art is like a roller coaster ride is essential for surviving in the competitive art scene. You also have to understand that failure is inevitable. Your first attempts at getting on the art scene may fail because your aesthetics do not fit the current art trends. Or the audience may not understand your original message at first. You should try to make the best out of this negative experience.  Consider reaching out to fellow artists who have gone through the same situation and seek advice.

Another thing that can help you overcome the fear of failure is determining your target audience. Think about the people your unique artistic message is dedicated to. Who do you want to attract with your art? With the targeting of a specific audience, you will soon get many people who appreciate your art and relate to your vision. This does not have to be a broad audience. You should never aim to please everyone because this can easily lead to mediocrity. It is essential, therefore, to focus on your audience. Knowing that someone out there loves and understands what you do will boost your confidence and start releasing you from the fear of failure. 

Fear of artist’s block is closely related to the fear of failure. That moment when you think you can never write another word or create a meaningful painting can be intimidating. You may find useful answers on how to fight this fear of dried up inspiration in Steven Pressfield’s book War of Art. This best-selling author presents all the struggles artists face while building an art career as a war with creative fears and obstacles. This book is full of useful tips that “heroes” can use to overcome numerous challenges and win this war to achieve their career goals. Pressfield believes that fear and resistance will always be part of the creative process. 

Therefore, you should not ignore this fear. You need to acknowledge it and keep doing what needs to be done. In other words, you need to face this roadblock but not let it bring you down. Instead, you need to try and beat this resistance by carrying on with your work. Even when you don’t feel inspired, consistent creative work will prove that you are stronger than that fear, and that is a powerful notion.

Another useful tip from this successful author is to never focus on the result but the creative process. All you need to do is stay committed to creating art regularly. Work persistently without thinking of the results. In this way, results will be byproducts that will speak for themselves. And these results will show how much time and effort you invest in your art. 

Fear Of Criticism

Besides the fear of failure, fear of rejection or criticism is the largest obstacle aspiring artists have to overcome to make a flourishing artistic career. First of all, exposing your work to the public will invite criticism. Realizing that negative reviews are one of the components of an artistic career and life is essential for you to accept these. You need to know the difference between constructive criticism and a petty, undermining one. 

People who respect your effort and would like to see you thrive will offer creative and constructive criticism to point out some of those things you can improve. These people will also encourage you to keep working and guide you to help you grow as an artist. Therefore you should embrace constructive criticism as a means of improvement. On the other hand, there will be people who will focus on the negatives and try to bring you down because they are unfairly biased or simply don’t like your work. If the criticism is only there to undermine your creative effort, you should look past it because you cannot learn anything from it. Also, remember that you can never please the whole world. 

Here is what Maria Popova, famous blog author and the founder of the magnificent site Brainpickings, said about criticism: “When people tell you who they are, believe them. When they try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.” You are the only owner of your integrity. When critics make false assumptions because they don’t understand you or your artistic principles, they reveal a lot about themselves and nothing about you.

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Fear Of The Unknown

This is one of the most common uncertainties and fears among artists who want to turn their art into a profitable business. Most creative people may not have advanced business skills. Therefore, this is a major step out of their comfort zone. You will fight this fear of the unknown by investing significant time and effort in learning all about running a successful art business. 

This will not be an easy task at first because you need to get familiar with various business practices. These will include building a client base, handling sales and the delivery process, tackling various taxes, and so on. 

Fortunately, all these things can be handled successfully with discipline and organization. Learning all about the art business is the essential precondition for creating a successful art brand. Making a reliable and feasible business plan is a significant step in this process. Once you set your business goals, you will be fully equipped to run your art business. 


This article tackled the most intimidating fears that prevent aspiring artists from exposing their work and starting an art career. We tried to show that all these fears are just negative concepts that can easily be overcome. First, you have to face your fears, then fight them. You will fight with confidence, continual work, build your integrity, and keep learning. Secondly, always believe in your artistic voice and stay true to it. All of this will help you get the desired recognition and achieve your career goals.


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