“Artists love to trot out the tired line, ‘My work speaks for itself,’ but the truth is, our work doesn’t speak for itself. Human beings want to know where things came from, how they were made, and who made them.” –Austin Kleon, Show Your Work! Chapter 5
Remember the old adage “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around, does it make a sound?” I used to think this was an absurd question (“of course it makes a sound!”), but what one approaches the question metaphorically, I have a difference of opinion.
One’s creative output is like the tree and putting in the work (chopping it down) isn’t enough. One must make sure people are around to hear the sound. Show the work, explain the work, analyze the work, accept feedback on the work, learn from the work, and create new work.
It’s not easy and it takes dedication, discipline, and patience, but the potential for growth and reward is great. Besides, if no one at first notices one or two felled trees, they will surely notice the clearing you’ve created if you keep on chopping!
Over the course of my career, I’ve read a lot of books on productivity and organization and Extreme Productivity by Robert Pozen is one of the best. I first read it several years ago, and return to it again and again.
Many of the theories, techniques, and tools employed by Mr. Pozen aren’t new, but they are organized and reasoned through a lifetime of experience and success.
We are all busy and there is no substitute for hard work, but we can all learn to work a little smarter and be more productive.
Last week on vacation I made time to read Austin Kleon’s, Share Your Work and it inspired me to revisit his previous book Steal Like An Artist one year later.
Mr. Kleon’s intelligent, humorous and straightforward observation of the creative process builds a persuasive case for starting work NOW and sharing it with others (one of my professional mentors refers to it as a “bias towards action”). These books are essential reading for any creative professional or aspiring creative. Happy Reading!
Being both a design and film enthusiast, the book Criterion Designs is a 10″ x 13″, 306-page collection of cinema history as well as a fascinating insight into the creative process of some of the finest commercial artists and illustrators working today.
This is inspiring and challenging work that will enhance any studio, office, or coffee table. Check out the book teaser below:
A Site Devoted to Design, Popular Culture, and the Creative Process