Amanda + Kristin couldn’t have planned any better that episode 69 (wink, wink) of the podcast would feature our very first MALE GUEST: the one, the only, AUSTIN KLEON! Laaaaaadies! We made it happen!
Austin Kleon is the New York Times bestselling author of three illustrated books: Steal Like An Artist, Newspaper Blackout, and Show Your Work! His next book is Keep Going, a guide to staying creative in good times and bad. His books have over a million copies in print and have been translated into over two dozen languages.
He speaks about creativity in the digital age for organizations such as Pixar, Google, SXSW, TEDx, and The Economist. In previous lives, he worked as a librarian, a web designer, and an advertising copywriter. He grew up in the cornfields of Ohio, but now he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and sons.
Austin Kleon talks to A + K about his new book Keep Going and how it’s a bit of a corrective to the first two books in his three-part series.
Austin also shares his thoughts on library tourism, the importance of sharing the work of others, and his eye-roll reaction to the phrase ‘creative journey’.
A + K + Austin also discuss (1) how participating in a rich, creative life without the pressure of monetization can be a way to ‘build up your immune system’, (2) how feminism is the way for men to be free from their nightmares, and (3) how you should metaphorically try to ‘be your own gardener’.
FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THE EP //
Austin on how important it is to be ‘kept in check’ as a creative person :
“I wonder who says ‘NO’ to J.K. Rowling…and as a creative person, that is a HUGE liability. …When you’re starting out, you’re like, ‘That’s what everyone dreams about.’ They’re like, ‘If I had a million dollars, I’d make this & that & blah blah blah’ and it’s like, no: What you need is - early on - you need to find people who can say ‘no’ to you in a constructive way. …and people who really care about you and really care about your work and can kind of…keep you in check a little bit and be editors - real, strong, editors - and then when you get famous or rich, you need to keep those people around you….those are exactly the people you want in your crew because they will keep you from doing stupid things…like, Kanye West need those people…”
Austin on feminism :
“I think true feminism is a vision of the world in which hierarchical structures are broken down and there’s a kind of egalitarian thing that goes on and the way that I would put it is: my idea of feminism jives really closely with what I’ve discovered about art, which is the traditional notion of art is that it comes from the great genius, that there are these special people in the world - and they’re always dead white guys - and they come and they visit us and they grace us with their brilliance, and the rest of us are the audience, we witness…and the vision of art I always thought was a bit of a corrective was the idea of scenius.
…and God, I don’t want to sound like I’m man-splaining feminism…(but) for me, feminism…is literally a breaking down of the patriarchal, hierarchical structure…you’re collapsing that whole idea that there are people ‘on top’ and there are people ‘on bottom’.
…I just see feminism as a ‘way out’ for everybody. Like look: if you can get down with this, it’s gonna free you, man. This is gonna take you out of your own nightmares. It really will, like, TRUST ME.”
SHOW NOTES //
• Keep Going
• Show Your Work!
• Steal Like An Artist
• Austin’s ‘The Gulp’ blog post
• Anthony Bourdain
• George Lucas
• THX 1138
• American Graffiti
• Coppala on Lucas & Star Wars
• J.K Rowling on twitter
• Marsha Lucas
• arrival fallacy
• Groundhog Day
• Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
• Daily Rituals: Women at Work
• Austin’s weekly newsletter
• A Warning to my Readers by Wendell Berry
• Bill Murray belly
• Hannah Höch
• Sally Mann
• George Orwell essay on England
• Austin’s scenius idea + ecosystem
• Brian Eno on Genius and Scenius
• Ursula Franklin
• Austin’s Fevered Egos blog post
• Hold Still by Sally Mann
• 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write by Sarah Ruhl
• The Argonauts: A Memoir by Maggie Nelson
• Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
• Sarah Manguso
• Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Lynda Barry, Corita Kent
• ‘bro’ culture
• Roadhouse Garden by Prince
CURRENTLY ROUND //
(inspired by Kristin's CURRENTLY CARD)
WATCHING: Queer Eye, Sex Education, Spinal Tap, Billions
READING: Less by Andrew Sean Greer, Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken, The Library Book by Susan Orlean, A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn
LISTENING TO: Cocteau Twins - Heaven Or Las Vegas, Mulatu Astatqé – Éthiopiques, Dorothy Ashby, Carly Rae Jepsen’s new single, Robyn - Missing You, Honey, Lizzie - Good As Hell
MAKING: the days disappear
PLANNING: The Book Tour!
LOVING: my wife <3 <3 <3
AFTER-CHATTER SHOW //
Head to our Patreon page to sign up for just $5 a month and hang out backstage with Amanda, Kristin, and Austin to hear the conversation continue. xoxo