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On Ate-Phobias

October 26, 2012

I am sure that you remember such occasions when staring at an empty canvas or a sheet or paper you were worrying that any of your actions are going to ruin it, as whatever you draw or paint won’t come out as intended, but I bet you didn’t know that such fears have proper, i.e. scientific names. It seems that whoever made the long list of phobias was very precise and has named probably all of the possible fears!

Any phobia that starts with “ate-” (from Greek Ate – goddess of rash destructive deeds) hides the fear of ruining something, now add what you wouldn’t like to ruin for e.g.  “papyro” (paper) or “kaneva” (canvas) and the actual “phobia” (fear) and you will have a new term.

Atepapyrophobia – a fear of ruined paper.

Word origins: ‘Ate‘ from Greek Ate (goddess of rash destructive deeds). ‘Papyro‘ from Middle English / from Old French papier / from  Latin papȳrus, papyrus plant, papyrus paper / from Greek papūros.

Atekanevaphobia – a fear of ruined canvas.

Word origins: ‘Ate‘ from Greek Ate (goddess of rash destructive deeds) ‘kaneva‘ from 1260, from Anglo-Fr. canevaz / from O.Fr. canevas  / from V.L. *cannapaceus “made of hemp” / from L. cannabis / from Gk. kannabis “hemp,” a Scythian or Thracian word.

Ateloaetorrophobia – the fear of an imperfect creation.

Word origins: ‘Atelo‘ from Greek ateles literally ‘without end’, meaning incomplete, inchoate, imperfect. ‘aetroro‘ from the Greek  aetorrous literally meaning ‘creating’.

Atelodemiourgiophobia – the fear of imperfect creative  activity.

Word origins: ‘Atelo‘ from Greek ateles literally ‘without end’, meaning incomplete, inchoate, imperfect. ‘Demiourgio‘ from Greek ‘demiourgia’ literally workmanship, handicraft, meaning creative activity.

Atelodemiourgiopapyrophobia – the fear of imperfect creative  activity on paper.

Word origins: ‘Atelo‘ from Greek ateles literally ‘without end’, meaning incomplete, inchoate, imperfect. ‘Demiourgio‘ from Greek ‘demiourgia’ literally workmanship, handicraft, meaning creative activity. ‘Papyro‘ from Middle English / from Old French papier / from Latin  papȳrus, papyrus plant, papyrus paper / from Greek papūros.

I’m not going to look for the causes (any psychologist would tell you to look back at your childhood – how many encouraging and creative teachers did you have? – and I think they would be right – most adults I remember from my childhood were too serious and lacked imagination!), I’ll suggest a few tips how to overcome these fears.

First of all you have to realise that you are not the only one “suffering” from these phobias. I managed to find Vincent van Gogh’s words: “You do not know how paralyzing that staring of a blank canvas is. It says to the painter, you can’t do anything … Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the really passionate painter who is daring.”

Second – be daring! That doesn’t mean that you have to achieve perfection straight away. Simply dare to draw, dare to paint! Ignore anyone who doesn’t understand your passion for art and creative expression. It might be not their path, yet they should let you choose yours.

Third – start small. If you aren’t confident enough you could begin with little sketches. Do several studies of an object and soon you will see how these improve. Knowing that this is just a sketch, not the “real” painting, will take off the preasure and the improving learning curve will boost your confidence.

Fourth – be persistent and don’t give up. Sooner or later you will create a painting that you will like and this will become that “solid rock”, or in other words just a FACT, that you can do it.

— — —

If you have “suffered” from these phobias and have overcome them, please share your tips on how to be brave. We’d love to hear some more ideas!

Information for this post found on katjohnston.com

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 3, 2013 4:08 pm

    I know exactly what this feels. I hope you don’t mind me posting some excerpts from here. Is that alright? Btw, thank you for visiting and liking my blog–hopefully your experiences can help me and other artists overcome their own creative phobias.

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