Many of these Penguin Classics are the books that you should have read when you were in your teens, but probably wouldn’t have understood fully until you were in your thirties. It is available through the Elliott Fouts Gallery.
Giving these books a try early on in life is good but I have personally found that revisiting them later makes them way more relevant. These books are written by people who had a full spectrum of experiences and knowledge and I am only now finding that I understand where they come from. Read more
I found this book, The Way To Win, and had to add it to my little late 19th Century library of books that reveal the way our people were thinking just over 100 years ago. The book is a very detailed, very long self-help style book from a John T. Dale.
I found a bunch of Penguin Classics that I’ll be featuring in some upcoming paintings — this painting is the first study.
Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of my favourite books. Although it is fascinating, I actually don’t fear that the world depicted in it is the one we live in. It’s more like the one we are afraid we live in, and the truth is we actually live in a Brave New World which seems equally as terrifying.
I like to find obscure books with titles that suggest the subject beyond just a couple of books. Sometimes the suggestion is obvious, sometimes not. I prefer when it’s not as it means the painting can mean any number of things to any viewer. To me they’re akin to haiku poetry – the paintings are to suggest mood and ideas.
Dream Days, a little alarm clock with brass bells sits on a small stack of books, all on blue.
I started painting these clock and book compositions a few years ago. I find the combination to have a calming effect. The shapes are so simple and recognisable. They have an orderliness about them that speaks to me. Read more
Where Steal Like an Artist is essentially a book about creative inspirations, Show Your Work! is about inspiring others. The two books are similar in format — brief with simple illustrations, but well researched and clever approaches to the subjects and ideas.
It’s about navigating the world of social media, creating a strategy and understanding for sharing your work to build a tribe, or join a tribe, of like-minded people. When done right, managing your online life can have meaningful pay-offs, instead of being part of the dreaded noise and deluge of garbage.
There’s great advice for people overwhelmed by the world of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogs, and whatever other passing or grasping media shows up and is forced upon us. If you’re curious and confused about how to balance an online presence as you build your career without committing to a huge tome on the subject, Show Your Work! is the kind of book you need.
I can’t remember how I came across Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon — but somewhere someone shared it and I ran out and picked it up, so I could add it to my pile of artist self-help books I turn to when I’m feeling anxious.
It’s a great little book, with simple illustrations and clear, researched thoughts and ideas. Initially the title seems provocative, the suggestion that artists steal and there’s a manual offering guidance. It’s not the case, obviously. The book talks about how artists (and we’re talking visual artists, musicians, writers, etc) collect their ideas and influences and remix them to create their own work.
The question of originality can kind of haunt artists. Especially now, after a couple decades of the internet, ideas and images move fast and in sloppy, uncontrolled ways. Some people become fiercely protective of their perceived originality. I’ve had to become fully aware that my subject matter is easily found in vintage and antique shops across a couple continents. It’s not inconceivable that one of the hundreds of thousands of painters out there would pick up a common subject the same as mine, let the pieces fall in to place and, voila, produce a painting similar to mine. Eventually we’ll find each other and wonder who came up with the idea first.
Even if we come up with our own ideas and stumble upon other artists work that is very similar to ours, the fact remains we did pick up our own influences along the way. As long as you’re honest about where your ideas come from, you’re golden.