This link talks about a lot of the stuff that Austin mentioned at Town Hall last Friday, but they didn’t mention how charismatic he is.
Before starting the talk, he showed his piano skills on the grand piano near the stage. An unexpected treat! He later mentioned how important it is to have a hobby that’s not your job and that’s what music is for him. I was inspired to take up the clarinet again.
This was one of the coolest presentations I’ve ever seen in person and a part of that was his live drawing. He’s always been a man of pictures and text. He claims that he writes picture books for grownups. I think that contributed to his great success. The drawings in his books make them more accessible. I’ve always thought that there is something valuable in simple drawings because they strip away what is unnecessary to understanding the concept. It becomes a diagram with the efficiency of being generated by hand, so straight from the mind without mediation. So in a way, his brain spoke to our brains (with the help of technology).
Someone asked in the following Q&A how he did it:
Intuos Pen & Touch Tablets | Wacom.
He said this with an addendum: He loves Paper by FiftyThree but it doesn’t allow you to draw over images– yet!
He seemed to talk in hyperlinks:
a Hitchens quote-The great thing about writing a book is that it…- (be still my beating heart, I love the Hitch!)
Brian Eno (Genius, And “Scenius”)
THE GAP by Ira Glass on Vimeo
Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories
Barthelme’s Not Knowing
“I have a thing about, like, wanting to learn about parenting myself.” via Fiona Apple: ‘I Don’t Really Have A Plan’ | WBUR & NPR.
“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change: Victor Papanek
Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius (TED talk)
Me, Myself, and Muse – Radiolab. (Gilbert talks about her inspiration Tom Waits) and Oliver Sacks talks about his writing process
“Play It Like Your Hair’s On Fire” Tom Waits Would Be America’s Springsteen – If America Were A Strange Dispossessed Land Of Circus Freaks by Elizabeth Gilbert
I would say that it’s because artists, like scientists build upon their heroes (shoulders of giants). Getting inspiration from great people is one of the benefits from a great information technology system (the internet being a huge part of that). And being part of a “scenius” means taking away from that but also contributing to that.
He said social media is about putting out what you put in. Social media platforms come and go. (Friendster, anyone?) So it’s important to have a blog. A domain. A place where your updates live. Then use twitter, facebook, instagram or tumblr to reach out and share what you’re doing and what you’re inspired by.
Starting a blog might seem a little daunting, but Austin Kleon talked about the daily effort. He talked about Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret that shouldn’t really be a secret. If you want to get better at something, if you want to make a big project, if you want to have a great body of work like Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings blog, it starts with a single day. That day you start the project. Over the course of days stringing together, you begin to develop routines, rituals, habits, whatever you want to call them and it is your brain connecting synapses– this activity after this activity. It gets easier because each time you start, you know what to do.
Get some books from Ada’s:
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative by Austin Kleon
Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon
Newspaper Blackout by Austin Kleon