We all know that feeling – the fear. The fear of trying something new, of starting over, the fear of rejection, the unknown, of being judged, the fear of simply starting. The fear we all had to look in the eye and say “no thank you, not today. I’ve got things to do!”
This unique exhibition aims to speak at anyone who has dealt with the way that fear can paralyse you. ‘The Fear’ is an examination and confrontation of various fears, of rational or irrational nature. The participating artists and designers were briefed to create work of the fear itself, it’s effects or take a more humorous approach in visualising the fear. As it is a ‘multifaceted art exhibition’, artists were encouraged to work in a medium of their choice whether it’s fine art, traditional illustration, digital illustration, jewellery design or ceramics.
The Fear – Participating Artists
About the artwork A visual narrative exploring the so-called “Existential crisis”. An existential crisis is a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of their life: whether this life has any meaning, purpose, or value.It is commonly tied with depression and/or a feeling of a lack of purpose in life, e.g. “Who am I? What is the meaning of all of this?” Usually, it provokes the sufferer’s introspection about personal mortality, thus revealing the psychological repression of said awareness. the crisis of the individual when they realize that they must always define their own lives through the choices they make. The existential crisis occurs when one recognizes that even the decision to either refrain from action or withhold assent to a particular choice is, in itself, a choice. In other words, humankind is “condemned” to freedom. It can also be noted that once one is out of an existential crisis, they are easily able to get into another, or aren’t completely out of it.
About the artwork | I’m not good with deadlines. They cause me anxiety and fear, but I also acknowledge that they are a necessary part of life. I wanted to illustrate what it feels like to be running from an intimidating deadline.
About the artwork | “The Fear of Forgetting” is directly inspired by a memory box that I’ve kept since I was a child. I’ve always had a sort of obsession of keeping little mementos in my treasure box – little keepsakes to remind me of events, people or times in my life (sometimes momentous, sometimes humorously mundane). Each object in my painting can be related to a specific memory or memories from my past – moments that may have otherwise been forgotten. Ever since losing my dad a few years ago, my fear of forgetting memories has become even stronger, which makes objects like these even more precious.
About the Artwork | One of my great fears is a fear that I am not seeing things clearly. I often have moments where I suddenly second-guess something I believed in a certain way. I question every possible interpretation until it becomes impossible for me to decide what I actually believe. In this piece, I created an animal in an animal suit. One is not sure what’s wearing the suit, or whether it even is a suit at all. As for his environment, it looks fairly pleasant, but on closer inspection, a few things seem a bit out of place or unsettling, but then again, not that unsettling. Everything’s kind of okay, I guess.
About the artwork | I’m only Humid is part of a series of works centred in the fear of climate change and the uncertainty of the future in the Antrhopocene – our current geological epoch during which human activity is marked as having a noticeable impact on the environment. Usually, it provokes the sufferer’s introspection about personal mortality, thus revealing the psychological repression of said awareness. In existentialist philosophy, the term ‘existential crisis’ specifically relates to the crisis of the individual when they realize that they must always define their own lives through the choices they make.
About the Artwork | ” The worst troll is in your head. Internet trolls are the commenters begging for a fight, the anonymous critics eager to tear you down, the hateful packs of roving evil dwarves, out for amusement. But the one in your head, that voice of insecurity and self-criticism, that’s the one you need to be the most vigilant about. Do not feed the troll. Do not reason with the troll. Do not argue with the troll. Most of all, don’t litigate. Don’t make your case, call your witnesses, prove you are right. Because the troll knows how to sway a jury even better than you do. Get off the troll train. Turn your back, walk away, ship the work.” – Seth Godin. We are our own worst critics. My piece deals with a fear of eye-contact and my unfortunate ability to over-think everything. (Overthinking conversations after they have taken place being the most prominent subject). Irrational, negative thoughts tend to flood my mind daily. I’m left feeling hopeless and unable to see the positive side of the situation. I consciously remind myself not to listen to my inner troll…
The conceptual treatment of ‘Die Angst’ explores multiple fears, big fears as well as smaller fears that may seem less significant. The illustration features a large scattered silhouette that is trapped in a collapsing structure. The image becomes ambiguous in the sense that it is difficult to see whether the structure is trapping the figure as it is collapsing, or whether the figure is trying to keep the structure in place, preventing it from collapsing. This underlines how we often reject systems, yet simultaneously remain aware of our dependence on them. The spheres at the top are trying to retain marbles that are swirling around on them. This directly makes reference to the saying ‘Loosing my marbles’, in other words, the figure is trying to stay sane by preventing the marbles from flying off the spheres. Amidst all of this, the figure or rather ‘protagonist’ is wrestling two snakes, one in each hands. The snakes refer to mundane evils which can often be more venomous than they might initially appear. Finally, the storm clouds moving in towards the figure act as a neutral force. They serve to bring balance, yet also loom heavily above the structure. All of these threats become necessities in terms of obtaining balance.
About the artwork | I lie in bed, half awake, jelly-limbed & drenched in an icy sweat, paralysed by a fear that isn’t real. How do you feel The Fear?
About the artwork | As Paulo Coelho said “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” For The Fear, I have created two works that serve as a conceptual series of my interpretation and experience of the theme. Fear of failure has had it’s hold on me from an early stage in life, and on several opportunities, that fear has become reality. When this happens, it feels like you are stuck in a hole with no chance of ever getting out, even though you see the blue sky above your head. You become paralysed, depressed, and eventually, I believe, you die. But perfect love casts out fear and once you are able to give in to your heart, take charge of your thoughts, and gain control over limbs that were not responding, the cycle of repeating patterns that encourages fear can be broken. And then, you are free.
About the artwork | I have an unhealthy fear of spiders stating back to an incident I had as a toddler, needless to say I still scream like a girl when I see one.
About the Artwork | My parents were amazingly supportive of my choice to go into an artistic career and even more so, when I decided to take the leap and start my own business. They taught me that life was full of possibilities and as a very driven individual, I’m always grabbing at every opportunity that comes my way and this often results in me working late nights and taking on more than I can handle at a time. I work exceptionally hard but often find myself wishing I could do more, be in more places at once, grow more arms to illustrate with, be able to sleep less and function better than I physically, mentally and emotionally can. My determination has a price and I often work myself into total, overwhelming exhaustion. In the back of my mind I always fear that impending physical and mental exhaustion and the resulting drain it has on my creativity. I fear my own physical, mental and emotional limitations and feel them limiting me every day.
About the artwork | For this exhibition I tackled two of the areas that I fear the most, being in front of a video camera and having an operation. The reason behind these fears are not rational and I have no logical explanation to why I have them, which was an interesting starting point when I created my artworks. When it comes to a video camera I always feel a lot of pressure because I know all the focus will be on me and I must say and act in the ‘right’ manner. I find it strange that I feel this anxiety as I stand in front of a class of students on a daily basis without feeling fear. I came to the conclusion, that the whole selfie era contributed to my obsession (like most of society) to look perfect because a video portrays ‘reality’. This is indeed an interesting place to be, in our modern day and age, as the question of reality and a constructed reality is something we get to face on a daily basis. My second illustration was created in a more humorous light as I, for some bizarre reason, pass out the moment someone starts cutting me during an operation. This happened throughout my life, every time I needed stitches or underwent an operation, where I had local anaesthetics, I passed out. Funny enough it was even hard for me to draw these operation utensils which just confirmed how deeply I fear them.
About the Artwork | Memento Mori translates from Latin as ‘Remember that you have to die’, it is also a term given for an object that reminds one of the inevitability of death. One a good day, I can turn this into a positive reminder that life just isn’t that long and thus should be enjoyed and treasured as much as possible. On a bad day, the fear of time itself paralyses me.
About the artwork | This piece deals with a fear that lurks in all of us, that of being an imposter. That we are really frauds, waiting to be found out, unable to own and recognise our our accomplishments as real. Hollow Girl should be worn as a reminder that we should fill that void with self-worth so that we can once again see ourselves as we truly are.
About the artwork | The unknown has always been a major fear in my life. Worrying about unforeseen events or what the future holds, instead of focusing on the present. This often leaves me feeling trapped and not able to just unlock that door that’s right in front of me. Aldous Leonard Huxley sums it up nicely: “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
About the Artwork | Having to make an artwork around the theme of fear, made me think of all the irrational fears I had as a kid. I used to have millions of fears as a kid, but the worst was probably fear of a shark lurking in the dark depths of our swimming pool. I even had nightmares about it. Breaking it down, it simply seems to be the fear that something frightening could be lurking just outside of our awareness and could strike at any second. Thus the loss of control and lack of ability to sense the danger makes you feel vulnerable, especially in the nightmare. I blame it on watching ‘Jaws’ at an early age, but I’m sure that shark still lives in that pool and I hope he’s doing well.
About the artwork | Our illustration captures the fear and anxiety of those inevitable visits to the dentist. Anxiety creeps in as the dentist leads you past a shiny display of sharp tools and drills. There’s no turning back now. As you approach the operating chair you wish you spent more time flossing. This grey-scale illustration features a variety of textures. The layers of endless grey represent the varying degrees of fear and dread.
About the artwork | “Imagine them in their underwear.” is a piece that touches on the stigma attached to Anxiety Disorder and Agoraphobia. The piece depicts my experience living with anxiety disorder and the unwarranted, bizarre and often comedic advice for coping and “overcoming” my anxiety.
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Photos by Jaco du Plessis & Carla Schnetler