I would give this book 3.5 out of 5, for quite a few reasons. And yet I like this book and got quite a bit from it. So, let's go through why!
It's funny that after his book was mailed to me, I kept getting his ads on Facebook which, to be honest kind of set a weird tone for before opening the book because of the way it was done. Nevertheless, the book is very intriguing to me.
This over 200-page book is broken down like this:
The introduction is the Myth of the Starving Artist.
Part I: Mind Set
1. You aren't born an artist
2. Stop trying to be original
3. Apprentice under a master
4. Harness your stubbornness
Part II: Market
5. Cultivate Patrons
6. Go join a scene
7. Collaborate with others
8. Practice in public
Part III: Money
9. Don't work for free
10. Own your work
11. Diversify your portfolio
12. Make money to make art
I find #9 very interesting in a grr sort of way because I am reviewing this book as a blogger NOT getting paid to give my opinion on it. Yet, he is comfortable with that given what he is preaching. I will be waiting for my check then for my review of your book....
However, I will still give this book the light of day because I am very intrigued, still.
While I am all for the hope and true realisation that anything is possible, his snuffy attitude that "it's soo easy to make money as an artist" is full of crap to me. That is just being honest. While he has REALLY GOOD POINTS he also has this attitude that I don't think is completely founded. If it were so easy, why are there plenty of people struggling? Just because we have more access to the world, ie the internet, doesn't mean that a person has all the tools nor the capacity or ability. Now, does it mean stop working for it? Absolutely not. You do!
Mindset is something I think he is completely right on though that mindset and can be everything if we are not careful. If we allow ourselves to be confined then we will be. Slowly, in this new renaissance he is talking about are we able to learn more about what creativity is and can look like. For that, I am very appreciative of this book.
Actually, I think this book would be great accompanied by another book I just reviewed which was the Red Teaming. Mainly because they are both rule guides to moving forward and looking at things in a different way and red teaming will help with that.
"Before You Can Create Great Art, You First Have to Create Yourself"
When you get past some of the attitudes that may set a bad tone, in my case, the Facebook ads that was trying to sell me things and or products of his mainly because of how it was done, and the start of the book, then you will get some great information and guidance from it.
This book, though it tries to be, isn't a step by step guide, it is more like an advice column from someone who considers themselves an artist. And that there is always good knowledge to get from that. You just must be willing to make use of what you can in a conversation or book.
In this case, there is a lot of really good information and stereotypes he is trying to break around artists and I applaud that.
For chapter 2, I think he sets a dangerous ground. Influences are much different than stealing. This terminology irks me because while he is trying to be blatant in what he is saying to get his point across it misses the mark a little bit. He uses Jim Henson has an example. That his start up as Sam and Friends, was really stealing things like sewing skills from his grandmother. Like, really? Influences and skills learned, yes. Stealing, no.
The stark irony of this is I learn the stories of many other artists through this book including but not limited to Jim Henson and Elvis but have not heard much about Jeff Goins, the artist. I find that striking actually. Not that it takes away from his book but I find it very very interesting. This only becomes more pronounced when you look at the end of the book with the pages and pages of sources he used to write this book.
There are a lot of inspirational moments in the book that definitely will get an artist thinking both in and out of the box. However, while there was nothing profoundly new in this, the way it is laid out is neat and nice as well. It's a cross between a college paper, research paper, and all the advice columns in one. I don't know how else to describe it.
It is still worth a read but just take it with a grain of salt and get from it what you need to.
I struggle between 3 and 4 stars because of several things:
a) The title is a little misleading though there are some great pieces of advice given
b) His Facebook ad asking me to buy something from him before I have read the book
c) Some of his terminology in the book and references to an artist' life
d) Lack of connection between his artistry by example and experience and what he is saying
e) Lack of connection between concept and practicality in today's world (while it does touch on it, it is more historically founded but based on the cover, that's not what I would have expected)
Other than these things, it's a good book, honestly.
steal from your influences (don’t wait for inspiration), collaborate with others (working alone is a surefire way to starve), take strategic risks (instead of reckless ones),
make moneyin order to make more art (it’s not selling out), and apprentice under a master (a “lone genius” can never reach full potential).