I love books, and I love to buy books for other people that I think they should read. Sometimes I even read those books myself.. Recently I discovered Austin Kleon. He is someone I think my son the artist should read. Sonny Jim has oodles of talent and way too much angst. My mother had a favorite expression. She would go to galleries and "steal with her eyes", so I grew up well acquainted with the idea that no creative endeavor began with a blank slate. I desperately need other people's ideas as a jumping off point.
Somehow though, 4 years of very expensive art school has taught him the following paralyzing lies:
1. You must somehow emerge fully fledged before trying anything
2. If you even think you are plagiarizing, you should chop off your own fingers
Ok, that's a little over-dramatic, but today's Wednesday words are for him and everyone trapped in that way of thinking, courtesy of Austin Kleon, who probably stole it from someone else:
Don't wait until you know who you are to get started.
Find things you like to look at, and learn how to look at them. Find people you like to listen to, and listen to them. Find blogs you like to read, and read all the blogs the blogger likes to read. And start doing stuff. It won't be your masterpiece, but it will be something that will lead to something else. Process is a bitch, but it's a very necessary bitch, and one you will thank one day, like your mother. Don't wait till you can FMQ perfectly to FMQ. Don't wait till you have binding down pat. Don't wait till you can design like a pro. Do something. Now do something else. Now you're cooking!
Before the lawyer's letters start pouring in, I'm not suggesting you indulge in plagiarism and copyright infringement! But I am suggesting you get the book Steal like an artist. It's awesome. Here's how awesome: I bought it for Sonny Jim, and at my art quilt guild last night someone else recommended it, and now I'm actually reading it, and stealing from it for this blog post. I hope Austin Kleon would be proud.