Friday, June 21, 2013

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Steal Like an Artist.  10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

This little book is full of fabulous ideas on how to jump start your creativity.  Austin Kleon is an artist and in this book he shares ideas on how to live a creative life. Kleon gives advice on how to look at the world as an artist.  The first chapter starts with telling you to steal like an artist.  What does this really mean?  It means nothing is original anymore.  "All creative work builds on what came before." pg 7.  At first this thought made me uncomfortable and I realized it is because I am a teacher and hate when students cheat or copy.  Yet Austin Kleon gives "stealing" and "copying" a whole new meaning.  He says you should create a swipe file and put good ideas inside of it.  "there's only stuff worth stealing, and stuff that's not worth stealing.  Everything is up for grabs." pg. 6

"We learn by copying." pg.33  Every person learns by imitation and my mother always said, that the ultimate compliment is to have someone copy you.  Copying is not the same as plagiarism.  Copying according to Kleon is trying to figure out how something works.  "First you have to figure out who to copy.  Second, you have to figure out what to copy." "Who to copy is easy.  You copy your heroes." Pg. 35  By the end of the process you learn who you are and see things through a different lens.  Your own work then becomes influenced by your heroes.

Steal like an Artist is full of great artwork and inspiration and Kleon is right, no one ever told me these 10 things about being creative.  Kleon really makes you look at the world differently.  Yet he also gives practical advice that is worth hearing more than once, like don't quit your day job, stay of debt and marry well.I read this book one chapter at a time.  I could have easily devoured the book in one sitting but I wanted to savor it and let the lessons live in my brain for awhile so they could work their magic on me.

After reading Steal like an Artist, I am looking at the world differently with a creative edge.  I have already made small changes in my life and am making time in my day to be creative.  I plan to reread Steal Like an Artist often.

Check out this Ted Talk I found by Austin Kleon where he talks about the 10 Things No One Told You about Being Creative.