Fotini Christophillis

back home
Home / blog / Doubt and Great Work

Doubt and Great Work

By Tina Christophillis

Aug 18th 2012


Alberto Giacometti was noted for saying, "If I don't get better soon, I'll have to find another line of work."  He said this most of his life.  He is one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century and one of my personal favorites.  Why would one of the greatest artists of our time say this?  He was full of doubt and made great work.  He is not Giacometti because he cared about success or fame or wanted to be known as one of the greatest artists of all time.  No, he's Giacometti because was so full of doubt that he worked like crazy around the clock for most of his life consistently feeling like he couldn't quite get it, he couldn’t quite get out what was in his head, what he felt, the way he saw things, and thought if he didn't get better soon, he better go do something else.  That's why he's Giacometti.  That's why we love him. 

Cezanne was known for throwing paintings out of the window.  Picasso would cut canvases right before an exhibit because he wasn’t satisfied.

I believe doubt and great work go hand in hand.  Giacometti is the artist he was because he was full of doubt and dove straight into it, time after time, for his entire life. 

That’s why we celebrate his life and work. 

Doubt is an ally.  Doubt is good for you when you run to it not from it, when you use as fuel to explore and keep trying, when you keep digging because you’re so full of doubt and your need to figure something out is so strong that there’s just no stopping you.

Martha graham said, “No artist is ever satisfied.  There is no satisfaction ever at any point.  There is a queer divine dissatisfaction that keeps you marching on feeling more alive than the rest.”

If there is anything that more accurately describes what it is like to be an artist, this is it.  You’re not satisfied.  You’re afraid and doubtful and intent to figure something out.

Nothing stopped Giacometti.  Nothing stopped Cezanne.  We all know nothing stopped Picasso.  These guys ran into their doubt and they made something great. 

I believe doubt is good for you when you follow it, use it as an indicator that you’re on the right track and onto something and you know it.  Dig into it.  Keep going and if you don’t give up you’ll make something that will feel better to you than anything else will.





Add a Comment

  • Please enter the word you see below:

    Hi I'm Fotini 

    Welcome to my blog!

    I am a painter currently based in Greenville, South Carolina.  Through my work, I seek to communicate an internal narrative using traditional painting processes.  

    Here you will find information about what I am working on, recollections of my process, things that inspire me. I am asking questions about art, writing letters to myself, reflecting, learning, growing, discovering.  Thank you for joining and supporting the adventure.