...always sounds good in theory, but in reality, well that's another thing altogether.
I recently heard someone say that the person who risks nothing...does nothing...and has nothing. Seems true enough to me. But what are the risks we are taking, and for what purpose? I mean really, doesn't it mean something different for the artist within the context of their artwork, versus, say someone climbing Mt. Everest, where the consequences of that risk could mean your life? Isn't there a difference here, and if so, what are the consequences for an artist when taking risks? We sure talk a lot about risk taking in art, but maybe it is more 'chance' taking, since the outcome is not life threatening, only changing the direction of one's work. Just a thought. So maybe 'taking a chance' fits better? Don't know for sure, but something I have wondered about lately as I work in the studio and contemplate new ideas and new directions with my work in clay.
Courage...I return to that word as it seems to be the fuel for any risk taking, or chance taking, in anything we do. It takes courage to climb Mt, Everest (even though I've heard some call it foolishness?), and in art, courage to step outside of your comfort zone to try something new in order to discover another dimension to your work. I'm not sure if there are different types of courage, but maybe so since there are different types of risks, aren't there? The courage one needs for their art making seems different than the courage one might need to rise in the morning knowing they have something serious to deal with, be it personal, mental, health, job, or whatever. We've all been there, and it can be daunting, scary, emotional...yet I am rarely scared to make 'courageous' decisions within the context of my creative work. The only fear there comes more from not creating a successful piece, either technically or aesthetically, or one that does not fully articulate my thoughts of what I hope to say. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that taking risks within the creative process and finding the courage to do so is easy, just different. And when weighed against the backdrop of other types of risk taking in our lives, it seems artists should be able to muster up the 'courage' easier than we think in order to find the unknown within ourselves waiting to be discovered. After all, if we really want our work to serve as a visual language to communicate things we feel that are difficult to find in words, it seems natural that finding the courage to take a risk, or chance, is a small price to pay. It is not the type of failure that is life threatening, just maybe a little thump to the ego when it becomes an unsuccessful piece?
So back to the person who risks nothing...does nothing...and has nothing. Seems risk taking, or even chance taking, are vital components to both art and life. Without them, we remain stagnant, only secure in knowing the results of our inaction. So maybe indeed it is action, courage, risk taking, or whatever we assign to our motives and subsequent results of feeling alive that makes our art vibrant, meaningful, and in the end worth making, or in the larger picture of our lives, worth living. Not easy, for sure, but maybe worth the risk?