How Artists Can Overcome Fear

An excerpt from the new e-course Reach More with Video: A Digital Guide for Creatives from Colour In Your Life. Author Graeme Stevenson addresses the fear that holds artists back from realizing their potential and living their dreams.


Overcome Fear


Let’s take a close look at how fear can hold us back and ways to overcome that when you’re taking yourself and your art forward. Fear is one of the most common emotional barriers I come across with people. Here are some tips to help you deal with and overcome fear in relation to your art, selling, and promotion.

Know the Root of Your Fears

Are you worried about not being liked? Not performing or being up to par? Feeling inadequate? Being rejected? Knowing what it is that makes you fearful of taking the next step or going further in your art career is important, so that you can deal with and overcome that emotion.

Address It

Take action. Master your fears. There are ways to bounce back from rejection, and reminding yourself of who you are and why you’re doing what you do is important. Universal approval is pretty much impossible too, so coming to terms with the fact there might be people out there that don’t like you is also important.

Be Passionate!

You know your work and you created it for a reason – take solace in that. Use that energy and creative enthusiasm to push past the fear that might hold you back. Remind yourself of your inspirations and what led you to this point.

Try Changing How You See It

You’re not presenting, you’re sharing your passion! You weren’t rejected, that client just wasn’t suited to your work. That’s another important thing about taking yourself forward. You’re looking for the people that will be as passionate and loving of your work as you are. Anyone less isn’t worth the time or energy.

Small Steps

Start small and build up to the big stuff. Tackling a huge endeavor right off the mark can not only be daunting, but it can also be twice as frustrating and painful if it fails. By starting small in getting yourself and your art out there, you let yourself get accustomed to the feelings and work through the emotions.

Have Fun and Keep Practicing

Incorporating new methods of sharing and demonstrating your work doesn’t need to be a chore. Make it playful, make it fun. Some artists just set a camera over their shoulder to roll while they create, so they can then speed everything up and add what they like in the editing process. Essentially, do what makes you happy wherever possible, and keep working on it over and over. Practice makes perfect, as they say, and you only get better by doing things a few times and finding what works.


So, will anything change if you don’t? No, not really. At least, your situation probably won’t. While change is inevitable in the world, from our cells every day to the weather, your situation and art career are more dependent on you and your actions.

The most commonly asked question by galleries, collectors, or critics is “What will you be doing in 5 years to promote your work?” And generally, the comments are the same; people still think things will change for them without them making any changes. Things won’t change for you if you aren’t willing to make changes to be better.

The platforms surrounding the arts are and have been changing for years. The mechanisms of the past that used to work for promoting artists are quickly being replaced by technology and newer, more creative ideas. Even your own creativity could come into play if you think of a new way to market yourself no one has done before. That was how Colour In Your Life was born – a need to preserve stories and promote artists through media.

Take this chance and do more for yourself. Be better. Because someone in the world needs to see your art. Someone in the world needs to hear your message. Make sure you give yourself the best chance to do that.

The world isn’t perfect either; sometimes we do everything right and still come out second best. I’ve heard many horror stories over the years from other artists in regards to losing their work, having it arrive damaged with no one taking responsibility, or just being ripped off by unscrupulous dealers and scam buyers.

Avoid Misconceptions

Often we attach importance to places when it comes to exhibiting, like Paris, San Francisco, New York, and London. For a long time, it was believed that being able to exhibit in places like that meant you were “recognized” in the art world, by peers and mainstream galleries. I myself have exhibited in a few of these cities and in legitimate mainstream galleries.

Sometimes a gallery may offer group prices for group exhibitions, to offset the price for artists. Then there are what I’d call vanity galleries. These galleries offer artists the wonderful opportunity to have a show and display their work in some of the greatest art centers of the world (eg: New York). The problem is that they normally fail to tell artists about the following: New York is not cheap. Not for food, for accommodation, or general day-to-day.

  • It can be expensive just to get there.
  • The gallery may offer you the stars, but once you’ve signed, they will bring in additional prices for other services they offer. Once they have you, they end up giving you tiny areas to display your work, then email out to the same mailing list week after week. The same non-collecting art buyers then come in and drink your wine and eat your food.
  • Once you have gone and they know you’re on a plane they just take the work down and put someone else’s pieces up. I have spoken to two artists that went back to the gallery (who thought the artist had already left the country), and low and behold their work wasn’t even displayed. They were then met with a hostile and indignant director that told them to get out.

My point is, thinking that having a listing in a New York gallery will get you further or make you look better is flawed thinking. Digital mediums have made some galleries superfluous in this new tech era, and people are more reserved when it comes to spending.

If you want to be exhibited in big cities, then by all means, reach for that goal. But be smart about it. Talk to other artists who have already done it. But do your research about the galleries and what they offer, their fees. You and your art are important. Don’t let anybody take advantage of you.


The e-course Reach More with Video teaches artists to create professional level videos to attract interest, grow their following and make more sales. Learn more about this comprehensive guide here.

Artsy Shark is a marketing partner and affiliate of Colour In Your Life.


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