Steal Like an Artist

Steal Like an Artist

Author and artist, Austin Kleon explains “steal like an artist” best with his 10 rules to follow in his bestselling book “Steal Like an Artist”:

  1. Steal like an artist: The author cautions that he does not mean ‘steal’ as in plagiarize, skim or rip off — but study, credit, remix, mash up and transform. Creative work builds on what came before, and thus nothing is completely original.
  2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to start making things: You have to start doing the work you want to be doing, you have to immerse, internalize, and even dress like the person you aspire to be. “You don’t have to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes,” Kleon urges. Go beyond imitation to emulation.
  1. Write the book you want to read: It is important to do what you want to do, and insert your take on things of art.
  2. Use your hands: It is important to step away from the screen and immerse in actual physical work. “Computers have robbed us of the feeling that we’re actually making things,” Kleon cautions. “Involve your full body, and not just your brains.”
  1. Side projects are important: Hobbies are important because they keep you happy. “A hobby is something that gives but doesn’t take,” Kleon says.
  2. Do good work and put it where people can see it: Sharing your work and even your thoughts about what you like help you get good feedback and more ideas.
  3. Geography is no longer our master: “Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder,” Kleon explains. Constraints can also act favorably – bad winters or summers can force you to be indoors and work on your projects.
  1. Be nice (the world is a small town): Stop fighting and channel your rage into a creative pursuit. Show appreciation for the good things you see around you.
  2. Be boring (it’s the only way to get work done): You can’t be creative all the time, so set a routine – for example, with a regular day job which sets a fixed schedule and exposes you to new people and skills.
  1. Creativity is subtraction: In an age of information overload and abundance, focus is important. Choose what you want to leave out of your key work. “Nothing is more paralyzing than the idea of limitless possibilities. The best way to get over creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself,” Kleon says.

Throughout history, man has been creating. Louis XIV tried to set rules on creativity setting the standards with the French Salon. Paris was the art capital in the world throughout the 19th century. Manet challenged the Salon rules with his “Picnic in the Park”, stirring the Romantic period. The 20th century began with Munch’s “The Scream”, heard around the world. The Surrealists, Cubists, Dadaists and Fauvists opened our eyes to Modern Art. Many works of art were covered by masks during this period. Then the Bauhaus School would expose painting with their philosophy “form follows function.” Joseph Albers, moved from Europe and taught his “Homage to the Square” ideals influencing new artists like Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, setting the stage for New York to be the art capital of the world and calling it Contemporary Art.

Today the winner is Amedeo Modigliani’s “Reclining Nude” oil on canvas (1916), a rehearsed theme, commanding $157.2 million in Sotheby’s Auction, the highest bid ever. Modigliani’s reputation has soared from his poverty sickened, premature death and claiming no style or movement for his art.

“History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions; the study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology.” -W.H. Auden

Artists have long developed their own styles by apprenticing and copying. We yearn to explore the techniques of those we admire and to try our hand (or brush!) at them. Equally so, I desire to tutor others, passing along this grand tradition.

As a Rockport Artist, a SoBA Artist, a Nation Association of Woman Artists member, and a Contemporary American Impressionist, a Boston School Painter, and a Copley Master, my life is fully devoted to art as the expression of life.

Message me and let’s make plans! If I may assist you, please contact me at 843-540-3963 or email [email protected]. Browse my website to learn more about my art and to sign up for my newsletter.


Candace Whittemore Lovely

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