Lessons from Austin Kleon: Steal Like an Artist

Written byMagaly

Magaly Jacqueline Arocha was born in Caracas in 1968. She lived in the roar of Greater Caracas. She changes house and neighborhood several times and each time it is a new experience which almost immediately makes her understand that travel and change will be an integral part of her life.

2 September 2021

Art is theft

P. Picasso

The American Austin Kleon is an artist and writer, an expert in communication, creative and visual thinking. Former Librarian, Former Web Designer, and Former Publicist. His many consulting jobs include: Pixar, Google, and The Economist.

During the holidays I read the book “Steal Like an Artist” and it enlightened me.

Let’s see why (my free interpretation of Kleon’s words).

1. Artists must understand what is worth stealing, which is not a true theft, but a creative way to use other people’s knowledge.

2. Get rid of the burden of being completely original, you cannot be. Resign yourself: make a smart and creative synthesis of everything you see.

3. Choose only what you really love. It is useless to follow fashion, if it is not your kind of thing.

4. Learn to improve what you copy and in order to do so, study, read, deepen and search continuously and then eliminate everything that does not convince you: less is more, isn´t it?

5. Always carry a notepad and pen with you. Write down your thoughts and observations, because that moment never comes back and can be a source of ideas and creativity.

File everything and when you run out of ideas, check your notes: you will surely find something good.

6. It is in the act of taking actions and developing the work that you discover who you are. Start producing something now.

7. Copying is for learning, while plagiarism is the attempt to pass off someone else’s work as your own.

It’s easy to know who to copy: copy who you like, who inspires you, and who you want to be.

8. Imitation is not veneration. Always bless your little imperfections, they will be the true tribute to the artist you admire

9. Find time to get bored. You will see that to get out of boredom, something interesting will come to mind and, in the worst case, you will have rested a little.

When you lack ideas: go for a walk, get away from work, get lost, wander randomly … for example, I go for a run.

10. Do a good job and share it. Produce every day. For a while the works will be mediocre ones, you will make mistakes and you will correct them to improve. Publish on the Internet, but do not show everything, reveal just a little. You have to intrigue the people.

I believe in sharing one’s work but also in thanking those who inspire and stimulate us

11. Enjoy anonymity. When you are unknown, you are free: there is no public image to safeguard, no risk compensation, zero parasites. The goal may be to lose this freedom, but as long as we have it, let’s enjoy it.

12.Stay away from home. Since the brain is too comfortable in the everyday environment, it is necessary to generate some discomfort: spending time in another land, between people with different habits.

You have to find a place that nurtures you: in a creative, social, spiritual and literal sense as well.

Here I am far from home looking for inspiration in my beloved Sicily, in Erice … Like touching the sky

I already imagine some of you will use this as an excuse to run away from husbands / wives / lovers / daughters / sons / moms / big babies / class chat / gym chat / support group chat / catechism chat / ……

13. Be nice. Make friends and pay no attention to enemies. Kindness makes feel good to those who give it and also to those who receive it. A smile, a word of comfort, encouragement; gratitude is always welcome, as long as it is sincere and does not hide an ulterior motive.

14. Surround yourself with talent. Follow the best personalities that are online: those who are better than you and who are doing interesting things, only then you can improve.

And if you ever discover that you are the best in an environment, you must change your environment (but remain generous).

15. Write letters to people you admire. If you really appreciate someone’s work, write them a public admiration letter.

Express enthusiasm and gratitude without expecting anything.

16. Accept criticism, even bad criticism. When you propose your work to the world, you cannot have any control over how others will receive it.

So it’s better to get used to being misunderstood, belittled, or ignored – the trick is having too much to do with your work to notice.

17. Collect compliments. Read them when someone will denigrate you and not appreciate what you do; they will help cheer you up.

18. Take care. Run a routine. Eat well, do gymnastics, sleep at least 7 hours, pamper yourself and dedicate a fixed time to art. This will help the creative process. If you have a job, keep it and do not despise it: it will give you the serenity that financial difficulties take away from you.

19. Surround yourself with positive people. Choose well the people you will surround yourself with. Not just your partner, but the people you do business with, friendships, and those you spend time with.

Together with my companion of social and life adventures

Here I am with my Vittorio with whom I develop the Friday column: “Let’s learn to draw and paint together” on my Instagram account @magaly_arocha

20. Creativity (also) is subtraction, subtraction. As we already mentioned “less is more” and if you put too much meat on the fire you run the risk of burning it.

Feel free to take only what suits you best and forget about the rest and enjoy!

Did you find this article useful, interesting? ? I’d like to know your point of view ➡️ https://magalyarocha.com/en/contacts/

Source: Austin Kleon: : Steal Like An Artist. Vallardi, 148 pp


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