Monthly Archives: June 2013

Always Seeking Resistance

Creating art requires moving outside of a comfort zone: insight from Seth Godin about the nature of being an artist.

Peace Fountain next to Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

The resistance is the confused and angry noise in our heads that shows up whenever we put our creativity on the line…The resistance is a symptom that you’re on the right track. The resistance is not something to be avoided; it’s something to seek out.
- Seth Godin [1]

At the end of a book publishing conference in New York, I met a friend for an excellent Thai lunch in Morningside Heights. She then offered to show me a neighborhood landmark and one of the largest churches in the world, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The Gothic church is enormous and its edifice is beautiful, but it was the visually interesting statue within the outdoor Peace Fountain that first caught my interest. The statue demonstrates a collage of imagery including angelic battles, animals with distorted proportions, and a sleepy Man in the Moon, interwoven together as if part of some fantastical dream. A plaque near the fountain states that the “Peace Fountain celebrates the triumph of Good over Evil, and sets before us the world’s opposing forces–violence and harmony, light and darkness, life and death–which God reconciles in his peace.”

The contrasting imagery of good and evil the artist conveys with the Peace Fountain statue pushes the observer into a confusion of perception to challenge the mind. This chaotic representation of “the world’s opposing forces” shown in the statue has become a symbol for me of what Seth Godin describes as the resistance: the anxiety born from the risk of failure when sharing something original with the world. Seth Godin explains in his book The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? that in order to create meaningful art “the artist seeks out the feeling of resistance and then tries to maximize it.” [1]

Jason Freeman is the founder of Work of Start.


1. Seth Godin. The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? (New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2012), 133-136.