Steal Like an Artist

READ this book!  Whether you are a creative or not, this book is on the list of life changing ones for me. I managed to get the ebook on Kindle from the Austin Public Library, but I plan to get a copy for my home library.  I discovered the writer and  heard about the book in October of 2011.  Then I started reading Austin’s blog and following him on Twitter.

If anyone wants to buy me a present, this is it.  I have avoided syncing my kindle app for over a month to avoid losing my highlighted notes.  But, the time has come to move on to new books.  Here are my notes, because I believe in sharing, not hoarding ideas…

  •   “The manifesto is this: 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.”  That’s right, because it’s about YOU!  Not Suzy in Nebraska.  I’ve had a lot of discussions with other artists friends about how people perceive you and being accepted in your medium.  I have adopted more of a Martha Stewart approach.  I really don’t care what other people think.  It’s MY work.  It’s for me.[These last 3 sentences are also applicable to work that people commission me to do with a few exceptions.  I want my client to be happy with my work.  I want to make the piece that they envisioned, but I won’t compromise my style of work, I won’t send an arts and crafts project they sent me from pinterest down the aisle or runway.] “The best way to get approval is not to need it.” -Hugh MacLeod I would love it if you gave me money for my work, but at the end of the day, if I am not happy with my stuff, that’s a serious problem.
  • The internet “it can be an incubator for ideas that aren’t fully formed, a birthing center for developing work that you haven’t started yet.”  This is how I currently view pinterest.  I use my board to store images and ideas that will eventually show up in a project.  I don’t sketch, and I have given up on keeping files of paper clippings,  so this is the best way for me to keep track of ideas.
  • “The only mofos in my circle are people that I can learn from” – ?uestlove Surround yourself with greatness.  This is one of my favorite concepts from Tom Peters. (If you haven’t already done so, nix the self help books, start watching TED talks, and stalk everyone who wrote for FastCompany). Thanks to the internet, we are no longer limited to a tiny circle of friends that we encounter in person.  We have access to people all over the world, with different views and different skill sets/talents.  I fill my twitter and facebook feeds with people that inspire me to do better.  I also try to give back and fill in the missing content in my feed.  I strive to be the change in my newsfeed.
  • Big Fish/Little Pond-  “If you ever find that you’re the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.”  So true.  While it’s fun to be the smarty pants, it doesn’t get you very far.  My recent trip to the classroom has me learning almost as much as my students.
  • “Quit picking fights and make something.”  So true. I get angry.  I’ve been able to manage what my sister refers to as #blackrage by throwing it back into my work.  It’s all about making anger diamonds.
  • “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work” -Gustave Flaubert  I do my most amazing work when I know that I have the money to pay my bills and when I have a fairly regular schedule.

So there it is.  My notes on Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon. I look forward to reading his next book “Show Your Work”.  In the meantime, check out his Creative Mornings talk