This is a review of the second book I have finished as part of my 13 for 13 list. I started with this book because it lit a fire within my soul.
“Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon has been sitting in my bookcase for months. I ordered it from Amazon last spring in the hopes of gaining some inspiration. Like many of my good intentions, I didn’t really follow through on reading it until this weekend, and I am wondering why I put off something that would so deeply resonate with me, that I so deeply needed for so long.
The book focuses on the 10 things Kleon wishes he had heard before he started out:
1. Steal like an artist.
3. Write the book you want to read.
4. Use your hands.
5. Side projects and hobbies are important.
6. The secret: do good work and share it with people.
7. Geography is no longer our master.
8. Be nice. (The world is a small town.)
9. Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.)
10. Creativity is subtraction.
“Steal Like an Artist” is a light, but powerful read. Kleon distilled these ideas into the essential takeaways artists should have, no matter where they are in their career. He offers practical and real advice on how to connect with the art world, grow as an artist, and generally be an artist. I truly believe anyone who is creative, creating, or desires more creativity in their life should take the time to read this book.
My favorite quote: “Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.” For my whole adult life, I have been stuck on the notion that I needed to figure myself out before I could truly embrace my art. The thing is, I never truly figure out who I am because life is not static. I constantly change; life constantly changes.
For me, this book is a catalyst changing the way I look at myself, and my art. Reading “Steal Like an Artist” empowered me to truly explore how I think about art, creating, and my image of myself. For more years than I can remember, I have created, painted, explored, and studied art, artists, and techniques, but never, ever would I say that I was an artist. It took reading “Steal Like an Artist” to finally have the courage to say, “I am an Artist” without feeling unworthy of the description. While I wish that everyone who reads his book gets the same type of clarity, I recognize that this is a personal reaction. With that, I would like to personally thank Kleon.
Mr. Kleon, Sharing what you wished you knew allowed me to get the advice I needed to hear, and the perspective I needed to have. Your book has truly re-ignited my creative spirit, and given me the courage to label myself as an artist, a dream I have had for as long as I can remember, but denied myself due to self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy. I thank you sincerely.