Austin Kleon’s message is that “creativity is not magic. Creativity is for everyone.” It’s not a talent, it’s a way of operating. A verb, not a noun. The implication is, as Picasso said, “inspiration comes, but it has to find you working.” But Kleon also has Picasso in mind when he says that “art is for life, not the other way round.” He warns of what author Jenny Offill calls, the art monsters, those whose careers are littered with victims. Although bad people can make great art, he reasons so can good people. So, there is no necessity to indulge your demons to be creative, nor should we indulge artists who do.
His inspirational trilogy of books on being a creative, staying creative and enduring as a creative are New York Times Bestsellers. All offer a playful and generous take on the act of creativity. The first, Steal Like an Artist, was Amazon’s top selling book of 2012. You may have seen him at any number of TED style talks and he’s been asked to inspire PIXAR, Lucasfilm, Google and others. He certainly seems like good company. We enjoy his weekly newsletter as well – check it out.
In short, Austin’s distillation of a few concepts to live by – steal well, share, contribute – in concise, witty and fully cited works, cut through all that ancillary over-complication. His influence leads to people getting stuff done, with more joy and in a better world. That’s very 2269. As he writes, “Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started… You’re ready. Start making stuff…”
Thanks Austin for spreading the word. Your invitation to 2269, the greatest party of all time, is on its way.
If I'd waited to know who I was or what I was about before I started “being creative,” well, I'd still be sitting around trying to figure myself out instead of making things. In my experience, it's in the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are.