Austin Kleon’s book, “Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative,” was a book that I had been dying to read since it’s release date in March of 2012. I constantly saw the book in my favorite hipster store, Urban Outfitters, however, for some reason I thought it was a fake book — a cute fake book nonetheless. While on my trip to Portland and the awesome bookstore Powells, I finally got my hands on the little book. To be small, the book is filled with lots of helpful tips to allow you to explore your creativity. Some tips were things we know as humans, while others were not so common sense.
With the book, Kleon focuses significantly on the difference between being creative and using influence for inspiration instead of stealing ideas. This is detailed through ten different concepts.
I found this book to be very helpful in helping me explore my creativity because I feel like a lot of times as creative people in whatever profession, we are trying to figure out something that sets us apart and makes us different. As a writer myself, I struggle with this a lot. I want to be known as a journalist with a respected opinion like my idols — Danyel Smith, Lisa Ling and Raquel Cepeda, but I didn’t want to be like them. I want to define my own style. After reading Kleon’s book I realize that I still have to define my own niche but looking to them as guidance, as well as their idols for guidance is fine and a good way to get inspired.
After reading the book there are some additional principles that I will take with me such as the following:
1. Keep your day job I know that this is a thing that I should do, however, every day I go to work I want to quit. Granted, I work four hours a day, but, man — I hate working for and with other people. They kill my vibe, especially all of their personalities. Kleon says, “A day job puts you in the path of other human beings. Learn from them, steal from them.”
2. Leave your home “Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings. You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend some time in another land, among people that do things differently than you. Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder.”
3. Write what you like “The best advice is not to write what you know, it’s to write what you like. Write the kind of story you like best — write the story you want to read. The same principle applies to your life and your career: Whenever you’re at a loss for what move to make next, just as yourself, “What would make a better story.”
4. Save your thefts for later “Carry a notebook and a pen with you wherever you go. Get used to pulling it out and jotting down your thoughts and observations. Copy your favorite passages out of books. Record overheard conversations. Doodle when you’re on the phone.”
I would definitely recommend this book — it’s a fast read, but good and informative nonetheless. Plus, the compact size of the book helps to make this book a functional read a well that you can put in your purse, backpack and etc.
Purchase the book here
I’m always a fan of a good cover like Kimbra’s “Plain Gold Ring,” which was originally done by the legendary Nina Simone, or Jessie Ware’s cover of “What You Won’t Do For Love,” which was originally done by Bobby Caldwell. Added to that list is this pretty cool cover of Semi Precious Weapons’ track “Aviation High” done by Southern California based vocalist Jarell Perry.
For the track, the MTV Buzzworthy artist, gives his take on the track, however still keeps some of the original appeal of the track. The track is produced by Hassan it has more of a pop-like vibe than the original. Definitely a great cover, and I love Perry’s voice.
Perry will be releasing his debut LP Simple Things, later this month on March 18th. Can’t wait to hear what else he has to offer.
A few days ago while on Pitchfork, I got introduced to the awesomeness which is Glass Candy. The tracks which were introduced by Johnny Jewel (Chromatics) of Italians Do It Better, will find their home on the forthcoming compilation After Dark II. I must say, I am in love. I have to find out more about Glass Candy, however in the meantime check out these two super cool tracks.
“Geto Boys” is an old track recorded in 2008 which samples The Geto Boy’s classic track “Mind Playing Tricks On Me,” which was released in 1991. The track also samples Isaac Hayes “Hung Up On My Baby” and Sugarboy Crwaford’s “IKO IKO”
On Friday evening, I got a chance to check out Toro Y Moi live at The Independent in San Francisco. I’ve been to the venue hundreds of times , however, I have never seen it so packed. Everyone in the show seemed to generally want to have a great time — people in front of me made sure I can see, people walking around said things like excuse me — it was pretty interesting. Below are some videos from the show with two of my favorite tracks, “New Beat” and “Still Sound.”
You can also read my show review via The Examiner here.
Vocal powerhouse Alice Russell, is gearing up to release her new project To Dust, April 30th. The album which is the follow up to her 2008 release Pot Of Gold, seems to be shaping up into something beautiful and funky. Following the first single from the project the soulful, “Heartbreaker” (listen here) Russell released her new single “Twin Peaks.” The track, is a beautiful and emotionally raw track and addresses why Russell is one of my favorite voices. Pre-Order To Dust here and listen to the stream below.