Can’t see the video? Watch it here?
Last week I had the new-to-me-and-slightly-surreal experience of being on three local TV shows — in Phoenix, they did something out of the ordinary: they asked me to draw! The producer found a room with a wall-sized chalkboard, and I talked about Steal Like An Artist while drawing some of the concepts in the book in chalk, and the team later edited the clip and sped up the tape to show me drawing. The effect is really cool:
I’ve spent the past three weeks on the Steal Across America tour — other than my iPhone, my sketchbook is the most important thing I carry. 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’m on the move a lot, so I don’t have a lot of time to sketch while I’m walking around, but I do have time to collage when I’m back in the hotel room, so I’ve started carrying transparent tape, Japanese Washi tape that my wife gave me, and a pair of safety scissors (TSA says under 4 inches is okay).
Here are a few pages from over the past three weeks:
I’m on book tour promoting Steal Like An Artist. See all upcoming dates?
Lexington, KY: grabbed some great Cajun on paper plates at Bourbon n’ Toulouse, stopped by Morris Book Shop and signed some books, then gave a talk at the University of Kentucky.
Chapel Hill, NC: upon my arrival I demanded a pulled pork sandwich, admired the beautiful trees, visited the NC Museum of Art, met my internet friend @ayse in person, and had a really great audience at the marvelous Flyleaf Books.
Atlanta, GA: had breakfast at the OK Cafe, toured the High Museum’s Picasso to Warhol exhibit, hung out with the Mailchimp gang at their offices, had an amazing burger at Bocado, talked to a class of students at SCAD’s Ivy Hall writing center, drank an old fashioned at Leon’s in Decatur, met my online brother from another mother @mlarson, then talked to a full room at the Decatur Library and sold completely out of books!
Savannah, GA: spent most of the day just walking around looking at the trees (the great thing about touring in spring) and the architecture and the cemeteries, had a civilized lunch at the Pink House, bought a marker in the awesome Primary art store, broke down and wept in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist (tired/homesick/overcome), walked to the SCAD art museum, checked out the Candy Chang “Before I Die” installation, hung out with a group of grad students who showed up to the Ex Libris bookstore signing, checked out a Louis Menand lecture on Andy Warhol, then got dinner at Local with the writer Rob Walker and his wife Ellen Susan, then walked home through Forsyth Park at night. Beautiful city.
And here’s a couple bonus photos from when I got home to Texas:
I feel lucky that I’m three weeks deep into tour and I’m still healthy and (somewhat) sane. This week I’m taking a much-needed break, but then it’s off to Portland, Tempe, and San Francsico. See the dates?
I’m on book tour promoting Steal Like An Artist. See all upcoming dates?
After a flight cancellation and some major delays, Columbus, OH was a whirlwind, but the event at the Ohio State Barnes & Noble was a kind of homecoming — I grew up just 20 miles south in Circleville, so I got to see my parents, my best friend, my college roomate, aunts, uncles, cousins, my 7th grade English teacher, and even my kindergarten art teacher! Signed a lot of books. Got some Max & Erma’s room service. Columbus is a much more vibrant and happening place than I remember it from my childhood.
I had a nice couple of days in Kansas City — a TEDx talk at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, a fun radio interview at KCUR, eating BBQ and visiting the cool arts district with my new pal Dick Brown (that’s him in the freight elevator), more eating in repurposed gas stations, and hanging out at First Friday.
Next week: Lexington, Chapel Hill, Atlanta, and Savannah! See the dates?
Had an incredible start to the #StealAcrossAmerica tour this last week.
Monday, I flew to NYC, wandered around that night, wrote a sappy little piece about NYC in a diner, and had a few whiskeys at a place called Jimmy’s.
Tuesday, had a terrific plate at Szechuan Kitchen, had my first real photo shoot with Complex Magazine, ate Shake Shack with my publicist, gave a talk at the Columbia bookstore wearing the same outfit as my editor, and took the Amtrak to Philly.
Wednesday, I walked all over Philly, ate a delicious falafel sandwich at Mama’s Vegetarian (can’t imagine a cheesesteak tasting better), toured the amazing Mutter Museum, walked Rittenhouse square, and my handler Joan took me for sushi at Pod. While we were eating, my editor called to tell me that we made the New York Times Best Seller list. (!!!) Gave my talk at the Penn bookstore, went back to the hotel and collaged and watched Game Of Thrones.
Thursday, Deena Gerson, a museum guide I met at the Penn reading who happens to collect my prints, gave me a wonderful tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, including the Zoe Strauss show and the incredible Cy Twombly room. Deena was even nice enough to drive me to the airport! On my flight with spotty wi-fi, conducted my first 10,000 ft. Q&A. Got into San Diego that night, and my wife Meg flew out to meet me. Had some delicious midnight deep dish at Berkeley Pizza in the Gaslamp district.
Friday, our friend Jed Sundwall drove us around, and then we spent the day at the zoo and Balboa park. Fun day.
Saturday, we spent mostly at the AIGA Y Conference, and later that night we hung out and watched the sun set over Pacific Beach. I met a ton of nice people, but I really dug the work of Andrea Dezsö. Check her out.
Sunday, we had a helluva adventure, walking down to Black’s beach, climbing up the treacherous stairs to the gliderport, and checking out the Salk Institute.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the readings and to everyone who shuttled us around and helped us find the good spots.
If you want to follow this week’s adventures, follow me on Twitter.
Something to look forward to:
Book tours are excellent things, and one is lucky to get to go on one, but they have a way of leeching away one’s will to live. The point of a book tour, basically, is to travel around telling everybody about how great you are, but you’re constantly underslept and hungover, and after awhile you start to have creeping doubts as to your own greatness.
Next Monday I embark on a two-month long stretch of travel and talking to support Steal Like An Artist. I’m sitting here with a sore throat after a day-long radio interview marathon, and at this point, I’m seriously doubting my ability to stay healthy and sane through such a schedule. But there’s no turning back now, so it’s vitamins and sleep and prayers…
Couple of ways to keep up with me over the tour:
- I’ll be posting new dates and info on my events page.
- I’ll be collecting bits of ephemera on the tour diary page.
- I’ll be making the occasional post on Tumblr.
- As always, the best way to keep in touch is to follow me on Twitter: @austinkleon
Unfortunately, as many cities as we’re hitting, there are some geographical holes in our itinerary. We might fill them in, or we might have to hit ’em next time.
Polaroid via The Impossible Year
At SXSW Saturday afternoon Kirby Ferguson and I showed clips from his video series Everything Is A Remix and then had a conversation about creativity, influence, and theft. I collected some of the tweets, photos, and other reactions, and
there’s already a video online of the whole 55 minutes. (I think SXSW requested that video be taken down, but they have audio of the conversation online.)
Maybe best of all, a small army of visual note-takers were there sketching. Here are notes from Craighton Berman:
It was a helluva turnout — some folks couldn’t even get in and had to listen outside. (So sorry about that, y’all!)
Thanks so so much to everyone who showed up!