Steal like an Artist

You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences.

Austin Kleon – Steal Like an Artist

I re-read “Steal like an Artist”, by Austin Kleon, this week. It is one of those books that every creative should open from time to time to reset, re-inspire and re-energize. It is a quick read and filled with drawings and other art work. Some of my favorite points:

  • Steal like an artist – Which is the first point and what the book’s title is based on. This chapter reminds us that nothing is new under the sun, and to look to others for inspiration. The push to be original is often at odds with being good. Develop your practice, take what you like from others, and make it your own. It even encourage you to elevate your mentors/inspiration and think of how to remix them. As I have thought in my day job… you don’t have to invent everything yourself.
  • Use your hands – While I am as digital as almost anyone, working with my hands is critical for balance and inspiration. First off it just uses different “pathways” to deal with 3 dimensions, interaction, etc that stimulate new ideas and ways of thinking. I also find hands on work leads to “Deep Work” more easily. For example when welding, distraction can lead to bad welds and burns… both painful in there own way. Further more, when you are welding, there is less of an effect where the “next tab” is calling your name.
  • Do good work and share it with people – This is a big part of the reason I am keeping this log. By taking the time to publish your ideas and work, inevitably it will become better. First by the effect of preparing and framing your work for others to consume, and second from the feedback/interaction you receive from others.

Overall I am a big fan of the book as inspiration. I have read it twice as a digital loan and bought a used copy to have around for those times I need some extra inspiration.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *