I actually picked this book up when I was doing some research for the part time Art course I am doing. However, it really belongs in the ‘self-help’ section rather than Art.
Will Gompertz is the BBC Arts Editor and usually writes books and articles about artists and their work. This book is a little different in that he takes a look at the characteristics artists seem to share that make them flourish and how we all can learn lessons from them.
The characteristics he looks at are:
- Artists are enterprising
- Artists don’t fail
- Artists are curious
- Artists steal
- Artists are sceptics
- Artists think big picture and fine detail
- Artists have a point of view
- Artists are brave
- Artists pause for thought
It really is an interesting read and I think most people can learn something from the ideas he proposes.
As for myself:
- Enterprising – I do try and find new ways to succeed and make money. I have been independent in terms of money from a very young age. I started my first part time job age 13 and have always worked in some capacity. I started my own business when I didn’t have a job and this is something I am trying to set up again. I am much happier and settled when working for myself as it makes me feel more in control of my life and I can take rest days when needed. I don’t do well in a 9-5 regimented job.
- Failure – I have failed many times but the key point in the book is that mistakes aren’t failures, failure is not trying again. Artists do this all the time, they rarely paint a masterpiece at the first attempt, they keep trying and experimenting until they get it right. I do try to keep on trying, there have been many times I have felt like giving up but at the moment I am trying.
- Curiosity – yes I am a curious person, I like learning new things and I love reading how other people do things.
- Stealing – in the book this is mainly how artists use other artists as their source of ideas and inspiration, not theft in the criminal sense. I love to read and I will ‘steal’ the ideas from the books to try out in my own life.
- Sceptical – yes this is me, I question everything!
- Big Picture and Fine Detail – this is something I need to work on. I focus on the big picture a lot but forget about the small important steps to get there. Take my weight loss for example, I am too focused on the big goal but often neglect the tiny every day decisions. I know I won’t get there without focusing on the small details too but this is an area I find difficult.
- Have a point of view – I am secretly opinionated but I don’t often share them in real life as I lack confidence. Writing on a computer is different and I am far more myself on here than I am in real life sometimes. This is something I can work on
- Bravery – people always make comments like ‘oh you’re so brave for sharing that’. I don’t feel brave. I feel quite cowardly hiding behind a pseudonym and blogging anonymously but I know for now that the right path.
- Pausing for thought – this is something I am trying to accommodate with my daily mindfulness.
The book is quite short, only 200 small pages so it is very readable and I would recommend it for anyone wanting a slightly different style self help book 🙂