The reading task was to read a given extract of “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon. The following quotes are those I especially agreed with:
“What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”
Even things imagined are based on things seen (whether in real life or in fantasy stories), and styles practiced generally come from styles the artist has seen and found inspiring, eventually forming their own style with similarities to that which influenced them, whether consciously or unconsciously.
“You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences.”
Inspiration comes from all around, and is seen in personal choices (e.g. clothing), personality, and what the artist creates among many other aspects of life. At times, the quality of art produced can be traced back to the quality of inspiration used. If someone only ever looked at inspiration on their same level of skill, they’d never improve, or would only improve slowly, but by looking at and being inspired by work of a higher skill it gives a sense of motivation and a skill level to aim for, aiding in improvement.
“You have to be curious about the world in which you live. Look things up. Chase down every reference. Go deeper than anybody else – that’s how you’ll get ahead.”
Working harder and looking into things deeper, becoming interested in the world or aspects of it, mean the artist will have more contextual knowledge than others which can be drawn on when making art. Some people may draw on the surface level of a concept, but with more knowledge the artist is able to include references and contextual knowledge into their ideas.
“Carry a notebook and a pen with you wherever you go.” / “Go to whatever lengths necessary to make sure you always have paper on you.”
Inspiration can hit at any time, so always having paper at hand is the best way to retain ideas and develop them before they are forgotten. It’s also a handy thing to do on public transport as there’s often a lot of wasted time that could be spent more productively.
(Image sourced from: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steal-Like-Artist-Austin-Kleon/dp/0761169253 )