Sunday, November 24, 2013

Steal Like An Artist

Some books just leap out at you and make you read them. 

"Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon has been one of those kind of books for me --- packed with ideas, quotes, and anecdotes that really resonate with me and my creative practice.

Rather than giving the whole book away in this blog post (which would really feel like stealing) I'll share one idea, one quote, and one way of working that will give you a sense of what author Kleon is up to.

The idea "Don't wait until you know who you are to get started" is one that appeals to me very much. There's a tiny "kick in the butt" inside that idea:  "You're ready! Just start making stuff!"  But there's also something inherent in that idea that as both a parent and a teacher is appealing to me too:  "It's ok if you're young and don't have it all figured out, you can still make/do cool stuff." 

How about this quote from Jack White: "Telling yourself you have all the time in the world, all the money in the world, all the colors in the palette, anything you want --- that just kills creativity." As Austin Kleon, points out, the right constraints can lead to your very best work.  Embrace and work within those boundaries and see what you can make happen.

One of the ten axioms about creative work in Steal Like An Artist is: Be boring. (It's the only way to get work done.) Kleon shares several anecdotes in this section of the book about how regular habits and taking care of yourself (and the people around you) give you the mental and physical fuel to fire up your creative work.  (There's a reason Patti Smith tells young artists that its important to go to the dentist!)

So grab a copy of Steal Like An Artist (It's probably best to buy it at Amazon or your local bookshop, than actually stealing it!)  I think you'll find lots of good stuff inside to drive your own creative practice forward.

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