I’m back at the Texas Book Festival tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 6th. The date and venue have changed from what’s in the paper program! I’ll be speaking at noon in Capitol Extension Room E2.036. Details here.
To celebrate Independent Bookstore Day 2022 and the 10th anniversary of the Steal Like an Artist, my publisher Workman and I produced a free 12-page glossy zine called “Read Like an Artist,” with 10 tips for a better life with books.
Here is a very short list of the bookstores who ordered a ton (250+) of copies:
There are literally hundreds of bookstores participating, so check with your favorite local indie to see if they got copies!
If you live in Austin, Texas or nearby, on Saturday, April 30, I’ll be at two of my favorite bookstores here in town, signing and drawing in my books and hand-selling my favorites.
10AM-12PM – I’ll be at Bookpeople, our flagship store in town. Get there early — they should have around 100 zines.
2PM-4PM – I’ll be at Black Pearl Books, my hyper-local neighborhood shop. They’ll have about 25 zines, so they might be out by the time I show up.
Our friends at Bookwoman should have about 100 copies, too, so that might actually be your best bet for snagging one in the 512 area code. (If you’re down south, I just found out that Reverie Books has a handful, too.)
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On Friday, March 18th, I’ll be back at SXSW giving a talk to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Steal Like an Artist, followed by a book signing.
I did not know how my first in-person event in 2 years was going to go, but I have to say, I had a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone who came out — the signing was almost an hour long! Loved seeing y’all.
— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) March 18, 2022
Loved hearing @austinkleon’s ??? words on how we thrive as diverse creatives with many passions and facets.
He signed my copy of #StealLikeAnArtist: “One woman, in her time, plays many parts.” -Shakespeare
Keeping these words in ? and ??
Living it ?@sxsw #sxsw #SXSW22 pic.twitter.com/L2Dcqt4Tmx
— caitlinkrause (@MindWise_CK) March 18, 2022
A few folks did sketchnotes! From @flairflixt:
And from @katydondz:
Thank you to everyone who showed up. (And thanks to Erika Hall for her awesome moderation.) At some point, I’m going to write more here about some of the things we discussed. (Like the “elevator test,” the need for Eyerollers, the benefits of boredom, maybe even our fart zines.) And I’m trying to figure out how I can do something similar in the future.
There are more great authors coming up, too, so check out QBC’s lineup!
My favorite part of the library is the 4th floor, which used to just be storage (hence the sign when you come out of the elevator: YOU’RE IN THE RIGHT PLACE), and is now a gigantic creative lab, with a Zine collection, 3D printers, laser cutters, a vinyl plotter, photography studio, screen printing, power tool, and all sorts of other stuff:
On the second floor, there’s even a full-blown recording studio that you can reserve for a 3-hour session with your library card:
I love doing library gigs so much, because 1) I’m a former librarian and librarians are my people 2) I get inspired by all the amazing ways libraries are adapting themselves as resource centers for their communities.
As I’ve written before in my posts about how much I love my local library, library tourism, and my summer reading assignment, I think of the public library as one of the last spaces in this country where you can go and feel like a real citizen. You’re not being sold anything. You’re welcome to be who you are, or work on becoming what you want to be. The library is there for you.
Here I am speaking with Mayor Andy Berke in the wood-paneled auditorium. (It’s a bicentennial building, built in 1976.)
Here’s a bonus photo of Josh — he teaches marketing to culinary arts students — I loved how his tie matched the post-it notes that were packed all over his copy of Show Your Work! so I asked if I could take a picture.
(You also learn something every time you visit a library: one of the women in the signing line was named Tonette — a musical instrument I’d never heard of!)
Special thanks to Corinne Hill, Mary Jane Spehar, Andy Berke, and the Friends of the Chattanooga Library and the Chattanooga Airport for having me out. (If you’d like me to speak at your library, drop me a line!)
I have a new show called “Keep Telling Yourself It’s Art” opening in San Francisco at Mule Gallery on July 1st from 6-9 p.m. If you’re in the area, please stop by and hang out. (Here’s the invite on Facebook. And here’s how to get there.) If you can’t make the opening, the show runs until August 26.
UPDATE: Browse and buy the pieces from the show:
Some photos from the show over on Instagram.
The folks at Confab just posted video of my chalktalk based on Show Your Work! It’s my last talk of the year, the culmination of all the speaking I’ve done for the past eight months or so. It’s about 50 minutes long, there’s a drawing lesson at 8:14, and the real meat of the talk begins around 13:44. Enjoy!
Last weekend at the Texas Book Festival I had the pleasure of interviewing Joshua Wolf Shenk, the author of one of my favorite books of the year, Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs. I had a hunch that we’d have a lot to talk about, so I recorded our discussion and edited it down (liberally) to the post below. Enjoy.
AK: Let’s start out with The Lone Genius Myth.
JWS: I argue in the book that the lone genius is a mythical creature. Which is not to say that we don’t require solitude and it’s not to say that we might not take sole ownership over our work as you and I both do — we don’t have anybody else’s name on the covers of our books. Yet, there are very often characters offstage who are not acknowledged.
In some ways, I’m probably the worst person to teach blackout poetry. I’ve done it for so long, I don’t even really think about it any more. Making art and teaching art are two different skill sets, and a quick Google search for “blackout poetry lesson plans” shows that there’s a small army of English teachers already doing it better than me, anyways.
That’s not to say I don’t like teaching, it’s just that I’m never sure I’m any good at it.
I’ve done some workshops with a lot of instruction and timed activities, but those always seem just a little bit off. So, this weekend at the Texas Teen Book Festival, I found myself in an auditorium full of teens, and the festival folks had already set out newspaper and markers in front of them, so I just thought, “You know what? Forget it. I’m going to give them as little instruction as possible, and we’ll just see what happens.”
I told the story of how I started blacking out, showed a timelapse video of how I make one, read a few, then told them they should just go for it. I spoke for another 10 minutes, showed some more examples, then I asked if anybody wanted to read theirs.
This is always the moment where I kind of hold my breath and think, “Uh oh. This is gonna be bad if nobody reads.”
But these teens! They started lining up at the microphone. And they read their poems like it was nothing. And they were great. And they would’ve kept lining up and reading if we didn’t run out of time.
It’s easy for an old fart like me to get jaded about everything, especially my work. Doing that workshop was a jolt of energy. It reminded me of Patti Smith, quoted in the book Please Kill Me:
Through performance, I reach such states, in which my brain feels so open… if I can develop a communication with an audience, a bunch of people, when my brain is that big and receptive, imagine the energy and intelligence and all the things I can steal from them.
I stole a lot from everybody in that room. So thanks, y’all!
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