Ken Manninen
In pursuit of my inner artist


....10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative' by Austin Kleon

I recently read this short book (140 short pages) addressing transformative principles to discover your artistic side.  Some of the 10 principles applied less to me because they were more focussed on gaining recognition.  More important to me at the moment is exploring my inner artist and creativity.  Here are some excerpts that spoke to me from the various princicples.  I've underlined those ideas that particularly resonated.

1) Steal Like an Artist.  An honest artist admits he gets his ideas by stealing them; Figure out what's worth sealing; All creative work builds on what came before; If we are free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something from nothing and can embrace influence instead of running from it; Every new idea is a remix of 1 or more previous ideas.

2) Don't Wait Until You Know Who You Are to Get Started.  The act of doing our work helps us figure out who we are; Nobody is born with a style or voice; Learn by copying which is practice not plagiarism; Salvador Dali said "Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing"; Copy your heroes and look where you differ then amplify this into your own work.

3) Write the Book You Want to Read.  Draw the art you want to see.

4) Use Your Hands.  Work that only comes from the head isn't any good.

5) Side Projects and Hobbies are Important.  What unifies your work is that you made it.

6) Do Good Work and Share.  To become recognized, do good work and share it; To do good work you need to work at it so put in the time.

7) Geography is No Longer Our Master.  Where we choose to live still has a huge impact on the work we do.

8) Be Nice.  Make friends and ignore enemies; The best way to get approval is not to need it; You have no way to control how people react to your work.

9) Be Boring.  It takes lots of energy to be creative so don't waste it; Inertia is the death of creativity so establish and keep a routine.

10) Creativity is Subtraction.  Nothing is more paralyzing than limitless possibilities; To get over creative block, place constraints on yourself.  While this may seem contradictory, limitation means freedom when it comes to creative work; What we respond to in art is the artist's struggle against his limitations; It's often what the artist leaves outthat makes art interesting.

Austin's book certainly provided me with food for thought.  If you are looking for permission to listen to your gut and express yourself on the way to finding out who you are as an artist, then this book is worth the read.  Enjoy and let me know what you think.  And, yay!  It has only been a short time since my last entry.  Maybe I am starting to hear the advice I instinctly already know.