Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

sentences will be the death of me

I hate writing. What I really love is reading. I tell people I became a professional writer so I could be a professional reader. (Adam Phillips: “I had never had any desire to be a writer. I wanted to be a reader.”)

All the books I recommended on book tour

Thursday, June 12th, 2014


I can’t stand being in a bookstore talking about only my own books and not the books I love.

One of my favorite things to do on the Show Your Work! tour was very quickly cruise through the bookstore before my talk and pick up five (somewhat random) books to recommend during Q&A.

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Mission Statement

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

I write what I want to read

Always circling the same obsessions, I’ll often make a poem months (or years) after that would’ve fit perfectly into one of my books. This one would’ve gone into chapter three of Steal Like An Artist (“Write the book you want to read.”) Originally, it was going to go, “I read what I want to read,” as a screw you to people who try to make you feel guilty about what you read, but I decided I couldn’t pass this one up.

Interview with the Los Angeles Review of Books

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed me when I was in town for the LA Times Festival of Books. Watch the 5-minute video here.

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Interview with HEC-TV

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

interview with HEC-TV

Nice 20-minute interview with St. Louis’s HEC-TV from last month. Watch the video here.

Show Your Work! Tour Diary #6: Tour is over!

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

tour is over

Last week I wrapped up the Show Your Work! tour with a packed homecoming at BookPeople in Austin, Texas. Here I am passing out some of my wife’s chocolate chip cookies beforehand:

Photo by @Ms_Cerda

My wife and I went out and celebrated after — 20 cities in two months made for a pretty hectic home life. Not that I’m complaining TOO much: there wasn’t ONE single dud on this tour. The turnouts were amazing. Thank you to everyone who came out.

If I didn’t come to your town…maybe next time! You can still get a signed copy of the book from BookPeople.

Show Your Work! Tour Diary #5: Houston, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis

Monday, May 19th, 2014

I’m winding down my book tour promoting Show Your Work! See all upcoming dates or follow me on Twitter or Instagram for daily updates.


erik westra and me goofing off 13961195369_440196ac42_z

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Minneapolis: Probably had a little too much fun. Hit up Nye’s, had breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen with my friend Chad Hagen (and once again with my buddy Hawk — great food), signed books at Magers and Quinn, saw the Hopper process show at the Walker and did an interview with Rain Taxi, visited Aesthetic Apparatus and got a test print, then Dan Ibarra took me to the Matisse show at the MIA, gave the keynote at Confab (really awesome conference), and then went record shopping with my friends and ended up signing at the fantastic Electric Fetus.

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New prints for sale from the archives

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

screenprint-agoraphobia (1)

We were digging in our flat files and found some extremely limited-edition prints that we pulled way back in 2010 at Texas State in San Marcos. The first is “Agoraphobia,” an edition of 18 screenprints. Here’s video of artist Curtis Miller pulling them:

The other print, “The Travelogue,” is a lithograph in an edition of 20:


Here’s a close-up of the raw image:


Here’s video of Clif Riley working on them:

You can buy both in our shop.

A brief history of my newspaper blackout poems

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Every morning I try to pick up a newspaper and a Sharpie marker, and I make one of my newspaper blackout poems:

This is what one looks like after I scan it into Photoshop and play with the levels a bit:

in texas there is nothing but texas

(It’s sort of like if the CIA did haiku.)

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Show Your Work! Tour Notebook

Sunday, April 27th, 2014


A few folks have asked me why I haven’t blogged any scans of my notebooks recently.

A few reasons:

1) When I was working a day job, notebooks used to be my primary output — I wrote and drew in them constantly, and since I had a lot of material to choose from, I posted quite frequently. Now that I work in my own studio, a lot of my sketching and writing happens on loose-leaf paper or in legal pads, etc., and those tend to get spread all over the place

2) I got very grumpy in the past couple of years about “Moleskine worship”—that thing online where people only post these perfect drawings from their sketchbooks, as opposed to showing their mind in messy motion, thinking on the page. (I talked a bit about this in my Creative Mornings talk.)

3) As I’ve gained a wider audience for my work, my notebooks have become (as they should’ve always been) private spaces where I go to think on the page. My notebooks are shitholes where I go to dump my brains out, say things I wouldn’t even say out loud to my wife, places to find what I’m looking for, find out what I know. They aren’t pretty.

All that said, I want to show my work, of course, so I was leafing through my travel notebook recently, and picked some pages to scan.

Oh and because I know people will ask: I use a large Moleskine sketchbook because it has heavy bristol-like pages that don’t tear, it’s big enough to stick a boarding pass in the pages, and it has an envelope flap in the back for travel receipts. I do a lot of scrapbooking, so I carry transparent tape, Japanese Washi tape that my wife gave me, and a pair of safety scissors (TSA says under 4 inches is okay).


I doodle a lot and collage clippings from newspapers.


If I’m doing some sightseeing, I like to grab hotel maps and brochures and draw over them.

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