Re: Science Saturday: Target Panic
I am an artist and an instructor at a leading art school. I have become interested in the subject of "stage fright" in our profession. Leaving out performance art, the term is paradoxical, because we do not physically work in front of the public. So why do we very often see students who present better work at the end of the second and third years of art school than at their final exhibition at the end of the fourth year? Because the final exhibition is a public event, and a public statement. As such it is an introduction to professional art-making, in which an artist is expected to make an original contribution to the field--which will be taken as a personal and professional stand. The statement is to be intentional, which you may stand behind. All academics understand these terms.
I would not worry about a poet or scientist who used drugs, prescription or otherwise to help with his or her work, but I would worry if they need drugs to overcome presentation jitters, to do that exhibition or lecture or whatever. There would be a tendency to override doubts about whether the work actually represents you. There must be a change of perspective. A metaphor from painting: I am mildly nearsighted. I do not wear glasses when I paint, but I wear them when I look at my work, for then I must try to see what other people see.