Check this out – I just read a book called ‘Steal Like An Artist’ written by Austin Kleon. It hit me hard, like – smack you up side the face hard (in a good way). It broke my ego down just enough and then when I was feeling sorry for myself, it handed me a vanilla latte…with glass in it. Good morning lady. Here’s a warm drink full of glass shards that will cut your self-admiration up a little. It will hurt, but trust me – you’re going to want to get reading.
Messing with my ego makes me mad, but I wanted to make some sense of the title so I started the book and couldn’t put it down.
If you’ve read my blog in the past, you may already know that I have serious issues with artists stealing from other artists without credit. It stems waayyyyy back from childhood when one of my grade school science project’s was destroyed overnight by what my teacher called, ‘A jealous classmate’. It was literally ruined with malicious intent and I can still remember how sick I felt looking at my destroyed photosynthesis / jingle bell made-up science plant because there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The following week, what appeared in my science project’s place was almost an exact replica of what once lived there – bells and everything.
MY project, re-built, in a foreign and unusual fashion.
It sort of resembled a distance family relative – you know the one I’m talking about – the quirky second cousin from Europe, or the elusive uncle that always seems a little tipsy. No matter how confusing it was at the time, as an adult looking back on the situation it still makes my blood boil but also paralyzes me to the point of pure frustration because I still can’t do a thing about it except bitch.
So what could this book possibly have to say about STEALING like an artist? Isn’t stealing wrong? Like, didn’t we all learn this in pre-school? Don’t original ideas take a long time to come up with and don’t those ideas DEFINE who and what we are and our artistic integrity?
Unfortunately, for me and I’m sure many others who have felt like they have been ripped off and according to Mr.Kleon and his Kleon buddies – the answer is a big fat ’nope’.
Ok ok. So I can sort of half accept that my ideas are either totally or subconsciously influenced by external environmental factors, movies, books, porno, (I don’t watch that), etc etc etc, but taking an idea and pawning it off as your own – just wrong, and they actually talk about good stealing and bad stealing in the book.
So although the title struck a ‘sore chord’ within me, the content inside of it has spurred many creative ideas and allowed me some permission for myself to be inspired by others. I’d say it’s a solid read and one that any artist – either feeling lost, or otherwise to have a look at. Thanks for the encouragement Austin and congrats on your NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER accomplishment!
If you’d like to purchase your own copy I’ve included the link HERE which will take you directly to Indigo where you can swipe it for yourself.