In a recent assignment on copyright I was directed toward ‘Steal Like An Artist‘ by Austin Kleon, I found this book incredibly eye-opening to the concept of finding inspiration. I find inspiration in many places and this book basically was like a verification of what I’ve been doing. The concept ‘Steal Like An Artist’ doesn’t mean copying other people’s work it means taking inspiration from the work that other people have created.
In his book Austin writes ‘What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.’ I find elements or styles in other artist work and I compile these ideas together to build the base concept of my work. Its things like this that Austin is taking about, taking inspiration from others is how artist for centuries have created their work.
This is one of my favourite quotes from the book, “The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.” – David Bowie, I love that Austin has included quotes and stories from other creative people.
It’s great to find books like these they are truly unique and are a great guide for creative people, I love the inclusions of black out quotes and pictures to go along with Austin’s numbered guide. Check out his website for his list of ’10 things nobody told you about being creative.’
I also read ‘Show Your Work‘ which was a great guide to putting your work out there in the world. Social media now hold a significant part of self promotion, Austin talks about thinking like an amateur and sharing your processes with your audience.
Sharing my work on social media has been a struggle for me and at times quite overwhelming and I think it’s that expectation of people liking your work and interacting. It’s all based on likes and when you are not receiving them it gets a little overwhelming and you feel like your not good enough, especially when you see some of your favourite artist getting so much interaction and your like where did I go wrong.
For me it got to a stage when I wanted to shut down my social media pages and have nothing to do with it, but in recent times after taking a break I started doing it for myself, for my own development and because I loved doing it. I took away that pressure of likes because I didn’t really care anymore and ‘Share Your Work’ really helped with it to.
It showed me that its okay and that its more important to get my work out there than how many people like it. Before I felt this pressure to be good and a need to make money from it especially with my mental health issues, I felt like it would be my only way of making any sort of income. That is still a goal and I admit it still plagues me a little bit but I want to do this for myself and maybe one day I will be able to make money from my passion but for now it’s not as important as keeping my sanity.
One thing that you may not know about me is that I love art journals like ‘Wreak This Journal‘ by Keri Smith and Anti-Journal are some of my favourites, so when I saw there was a journal to go along with ‘Steal Like An Artist‘ I had to get it.
The ‘Steal Like An Artist Journal‘ really pays homage to what the original book is about and includes pages inspired by or taken from other artist work like Keri Smith‘s ‘Wreak This Journal.’ All pages are attributed to the original creator as Austin talks about in ‘Share Your Work‘ its important to properly attribute the original artist if you are sharing their work. There are some fun exercises in this book that may be just what an artist needs to spark some inspiration.
I totally recommend getting yourself a copy of these books, you can find all the information on Austin’s website austinkleon.com.
I’m going to be doing a series of these inspirational or inspirational books sharing my favourites with you, including my journal collection, colouring books and other inspirational books. What I’ve learnt from these books is that people like to see where you find inspiration and how you create your art not just seeing your final product.
Are there any books or Authors or Artists that you find inspiring? I would love to know, I’m always looking for sources of inspiration so feel free to comment on this post with your favourites.