This week was Book Club and we were discussing “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon. This is one of those books you can sit down and read in one sitting. It is quick and fun and enjoyable. And Austin Kleon has his art work interspersed throughout the chapters so you can see the type of art he creates, and he’s included random quotes from other people that are fun and interesting.
Steal like an artist by Austin Kleon
This book is similar to the one we read last month (Ignore Everyone!). For me, the most important advice is to just get started doing what you do. The rest will eventually fall into place. We have a tendency to wait until everything is perfectly aligned, with all our ducks in a row, all our ideas primed and ready to go, all our children raised, all our bills paid, all our work done, etc etc etc. You and I both know that it will never happen if we are waiting for that perfect moment. So just do it!!!!!! You are ready!
The initial principle is that there is nothing new under the sun. Everything starts with an idea or inspiration from somebody else and then you make it your own. It is why we study the great masters. To learn how they worked and created, so that we can learn how we work and create. But the book has so much more than that in it.
I think the best way to let you know what the book is about is to just list the chapters:
- Steal like an artist.
- Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.
- Write the book you want to read.
- Use your hands.
- Side projects and hobbies are important.
- The secret: do good work and share it with people.
- Geography is no longer our master.
- Be nice (the world is a small town).
- Be boring (it’s the only way to get work done).
- Creativity is subtraction.
Austin says he wrote this book to a younger version of himself. Basically a book of advice that he wished he had known. We all probably have one of those books inside of us, don’t you think. I know I have a few bits of advice for my younger self (if I had a time machine and could go back and have it actually make a difference ). :)
I love this bit of advice he offers:
I think it’s good to have a lot of projects going at once so you can bounce between them. When you get sick of one project, move over to another, and when you’re sick of that one, move back to the project you left. Practice productive procrastination………creative people need time to just sit around and do nothing.
Yes! Validation for stacks of unfinished projects. I’m pretty sure most of us have dozens of projects all going at once. If you look inside my studio it is a huge mess, yet every table and pile on the floor is a different project and different ideas that are percolating. Sort of organized chaos. Most creative people I know work the same way.
Another fun observation:
The artist is a collector. Not a hoarder, mind you, there’s a difference. Hoarders collect indiscriminately, artists collect selectively. They only collect things that they really love.
So when your spouse or your kids or your neighbor starts saying you look like a hoarder, you can answer that you are an artist and are merely collecting things you love. :)
I think this is one of those books that you might want to have around and pick it up and re-read it every now and then. It will remind you of why you are an artist. But it will also remind you of simple and basic everyday things that you need to remember in order to make your art. Each time you read it, you will find something new that helps you along your path.
Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.
Excellent advice! Now go do it!
Next month we are reading “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.
Let Your Inner Artist Out To Play
Blue Twig Studio – 5039 N Academy Blvd – Colorado Springs, Co 80918