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Art Heroes Review
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Austin Kleon was my first guest on Art Heroes Radio and he's back this week to talk about his recent runaway hit How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 other Things Nobody Told Me). When I first read How to Steal Like an Artist, it struck me as probably the best thing I'm likely to read this year— it's the kind of essay you don't see all that often that just nails it.

In the first part of the conversation we discuss some of the ramifications of having a piece take off so massively. I cut some of the technical details but left enough to give you an idea what happens when you get a major hit completely unexpectedly. The rest of the conversation expands on the essay and gives some of the back story for where the ideas came from.

If you enjoy this discussion, you should listen to Austin's previous appearance on Art Heroes.

Austin Kleon is a writer, cartoonist, and web designer. He's best known for his Newspaper Blackout Poems—poetry made by redacting words from newspaper articles with a permanent marker. His first book, Newspaper Blackout, was published by Harper Perennial in April 2010. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Meghan, and their dog, Milo.


Learn More about Austin Kleon
  1. www.austinkleon.com
  2. Get to know Austin on Twitter.
  3. How to make your own Newspaper Blackout poem (video)
  4. Purchase Newspaper Blackout on Amazon
  5. Austin's art and writing on his blog.
  6. Photos and in-progress works on Flickr.
Further Resources:
  1. Austinkleon.com: How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 other Things Nobody Told Me)
  2. Austinkleon.com: Letter to a young collage artist
  3. Newspaperblackout.com: Tumblr site for submitting your own Newspaper Blackout poems
Show Highlights: Excerpts From the Conversation

Once the transcription is completed I'll include some of the best portions here.

United States
explicit content


00:00:00hello and welcome to Our Heroes radio this is John T hunger and my gas today is Austin kleon author of the book newspaper blackout poems and more recently a brilliant essay that's been spreading like wildfire on the web how to steal like an artist and 9 other things nobody told me hey Austin welcome to the show so you know a lot of the times when you post things you probably didn't expect right I don't know at all I had no idea the last time I asked you and this was like a week ago and it's been it's honestly it's been like a really big happy mess it up
00:00:56it's been like a really big happy mess you know when I first posted the article it was just you know I love how those 37signals guys they always talk about selling your by-products right well I mean that the post was just byproducts of the speech I've given at a little Community College in Upstate New York. They paid me to come up there and talk at their convocation so it was really interesting cuz you know it's funny cuz I actually I work on the speech more than any other speech I've ever given you know usually when I get speeches and make sure I have a really nice slide back right but then you know I don't really worry about it I kind of I kind of wing it and read the room and sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't work right but this time there was something really terrifying to me about being in front of a bunch of like 18 to 20 year olds
00:01:57and trying to talk about I just I was really really nervous about this one like you were handing them their future what you have to look forward to and that's kind of a big responsibility and I really wanted to put my money where I'm trying to think of how to say this like I've been kind of outspoken about what I think about higher education these days which is like I think it's really going in the wrong direction and I just really wanted to give something of value to these stupid you know I just thought you know they're going to hear nothing but crap you know so I can to make up for the four years of stuff they've been given and you know and I and I just really wanted it to be good so this speech I really it sounds so common sense but I really are
00:02:57first I mean I I I wrote it out like like like on actual you know I actually typed it and you know had had it it was constantly editing it and then once I had it all together I could slides you know like I actually had a script first and then I did slides what you normally for me I mean I'm usually have slides first and then I build a speech around that which is really now that I've done it this way I like I think I totally know I'm always someone who like the visual comes first a lot of the time I'm starting to believe when it comes to talk like that I really want to in a really hammering it out the text first is really was really important for this one but I don't know I want to go off on tangents be kind of interesting because you know when we talked about the ideas in the post I mean people can read the post on the internet and I can get it right but the back door is actually kind of interesting cuz nobody knows this
00:03:57yeah I mean you know there's a little note on there that's like hey this is a little this is edited down from the speech I gave it a community college closely or did you just have that for the structure so you knew what you were going to improvise I actually had my like I had my slide notes on the I have my slides on the laptop and I actually used my iPad I actually exported like a PDF with really big font on my iPad and was sleep cuz I was like a little teleprompter so I could just like use my finger to just go I want to do a post about the iPad as a presentation device right cuz I've used it twice now I've used it as an actual like hooked it up to the projector and used it for slides and then to draw a live which is been really awesome yeah but I also think it's really good as like a teleprompter
00:04:57bias in a way because you can actually make last-minute edits and then you don't have to carry this like messy bunch of papers around in like sort through them and stuff you just like tap it with your finger you know you can adjust the text size and make it brighter you know version got behind on email and all of them you know so it's it's one of those funny thing was where something takes off and it's both a blessing and a curse just not ready for it. The most interesting thing to us is that we have friends on the Internet or you know friends from real life who happen to be on the internet who who don't have any connection to you at all who are like into it and I actually took this part out because I I really wanted the
00:05:57blog post to be really lean which I know it's it's it's really funny cuz it's so long but I really wanted it to be lean and kind of cut some of my more talking points out but like one of the point I made to the kids or that's do not want to call them kids some of them were 50 years old and going back to school but the point I wanted to make them was like you can take out the word artist in the word rider in the speech and insert like plumber astronaut you know and I think like I think a lot of this will apply and so far it's been really true I mean all kinds of people you know all kinds of people have been posting it and it's really funny to see the patterns and like what people say about it like one of the people say it's like you should read this even if you're not creative that's part of which is so funny to me cuz I think everyone's creative I can't imagine like
00:06:54I mean maybe like I I I hate the fact that actually says I have a new member copywriter now and it says on my business card creative like I said and I always want to modify it somehow you draw something next to it like is creative creative you know everybody's got same as the day I mean you know but it's it's been amazing how kind of processor disciplinarian like I just all kinds of people have found stuff and a 10 I'm just like totally shocked by the amount of people of all ages who have written to me and then like this change like how I was thinking about my work or like I started drawing yesterday or when I haven't drawn in like years or like I started a blogger you know I mean
00:07:54I was really depressed and thinking about quitting and this helps and you know it's like it's a huge gas you know I mean it's amazing how much are you able to actually personally respond to all of these emails because you want to but I know that in my case I can't always you know you know I'll send them back a line gee thanks you know that's great for me is that when I was 13 this post is actually up on the Block to it's called letter to a young collage artist when I was 13 I wrote to this collage artist I really liked guy named Winston Smith he's a collage artists out in San Francisco hey I'm living in the small town and I just like it's really hard to be an artist when you're you know
00:08:4513 and 11 the slope hecktown the like I just wanted to know these things about your heart tell you I love it and blah blah blah you know just whatever you just sent me this like amazing 20-page letter back it was hand-written I contacted him like a year or two ago and I said hey you know would you mind would you mind if I scan the send and put it up I mean still one of my favorite ladders and it meant so much to me and now that I'm actually an artist and he was totally cool he's like will let me read it first and make sure I don't like slander Escalon but then we put online it was on letters of note which is one of my favorite sites on the teachers letters from all kinds of different people but it's always been really important to me to write back especially the young people yeah just cuz
00:09:45I know what a big deal it meant it was to me the problem is is it's so easy to send an email now that you have to kind of be a little bit selective and I try my best to respond to everyone if people have actual concrete questions I always respond to that so I can ask you know if they ask me a question that really
00:10:11that's concrete and I can answer like I'll get on that the one the one thing that's really helped it's funny cuz you and I have talked before about like there's not really it sounds so like oh yeah nice props to this is it this is a sentence that's come up a lot like in the past two weeks nice problem to have right you saying I like all that's a nice problem to have and I'm like what yes it is a nice problem to have problems so require time effort and sometimes money too tall exactly but the big thing that's going to help for me recently and I hate the name of it cuz it sounds so bad but it's a Gmail canned responses you can actually save messages that you send a lot I do the same thing with big files in mail. App and actually I've been I'm glad I actually went back and was I reread all of Merlin man's inbox zero articles I know he's working
00:11:11book on that right now so I'm interested in what that would be like but like all those articles are really good on how to handle the stuff but yeah so I made up these templates that have like really basic information cuz I was eating out when you're selling are online you always get all these questions that are right there on the site that's the same stuff that's in your FAQ really knows a little bit and then so I think I've done a pretty good job responding actually the ones I've been really bad at responding to are all the speech requests and like to spend too much to handle it's a real problem I mean cuz you know I think I think you you you were this way to you're an artist whose life tried to be so available online yeah and that's a big part of who you are and your work I mean you put your phone number on your website
00:12:11email address you've got to use the form the help me I think that's kind of brilliant I don't know I hate talking on the phone I know you like it I just hate talking on the phone but faster especially if the if one question is going to lead to another request or stuff like scheduling or whatever that's okay I'm going to be like contact it's like emails best for this Twitter is best for this my PO Boxes for this and I finally put a disclaimer on my on my contact form that was like I am not a Critic nor am I creative writing Professor you can stand me your novel you can send me your poems I'm not going to tell you
00:13:11but I think about that I refuse I don't do that you know somebody who's a writer I don't remember who it was who specifically says you know don't send me your novel or your screenplay or whatever because I don't want to get sued later if you claim that I ripped you off I also put a little cartoon on my contact form that's a it's called how I look at my inbox the email. Nice that if you if you look at your email at the longer the paragraph the more likely it is that the person is crazy
00:14:09at least really disorganized which is really disorganized and doesn't know what they're asking you either way is a giant time sucks for you I really like shit and bullet points which is why I'm such a Twitter fan but you know it's all give me your questions I will give you the answers the more specific your question the easier it is to answer in the more likely I will do it in a timely fashion and I even started like I even started I start numbering things in emails especially questions scientists are Klay Thompson post about this guy I talk to sometimes he just like breaks down all his thoughts on the email with number 20 kind of really intense especially good like you know I think actually we should we wrap this part of the call up and it's especially good when you're dealing with somebody like your accountant or something and make sure everything
00:15:09I didn't mean to get in too much into the mechanics how you deal with like a shoot at the same time I think the effect of writing something you know everybody who reads something like how to steal like an artist on some level
00:15:30they're going to wish they wrote something like that or something that performed that well write 20 by 200 you know Modern Art I could do that plus you did I really want I really want to underline that like it's been a total it's been totally awesome work for years because the stuff doesn't happen overnight you know and it's it's the result of thinking about it for a long time and refining it down and then you put it in the format where people can really get it and they get it and they love it and they talk about it and you're like oh my God that's so cool
00:16:28there's not a lot
00:16:31I thought it would be funny to do another post where I took the I took all the points and just pointed to places where I'd said all these things before on the blog Ashley said everything in this in this post before it's funny because I don't really do a Q&A format but the one question I was going to ask is like so none of this is really original is about them you stole all of us right people or it's literally stolen from other post that I've done so it's just funny I just presented in this package right yeah I mean you kind of boiled down a whole lot of work over the years and a whole lot of observation and thinking about it into a really conveniently sized you know if you've turned it from Corning to Whiskey and it's got the things you know it's quick and you know it
00:17:31Longwood it's really quick it's like it's punctuated by images and you know it. I think that's why it works I think so too I think the formatting really is a big part of why I took off so on that note that you've sort of stolen it from others and yourself I mean let's let's get into the last in the first one is steal like an artist and that's probably the trickiest and most Troublesome for people to understand right it is cuz I mean I've heard so many people like when people get pissed they're like they think I'm somehow like advocating for plagiarism right you know and then one of the best things about the internet says it's it's made it so easy to exposure to the world but you also end up with coffee cats and that's not what you're really talking about
00:18:19yeah no not it's not copy other people's work it's you know it's a different thing it's you know you you're right about nothing being original and every new ideas I'm a shopper Remax of previous ideas and I think you know that bears out pretty pretty well every now and then I see something that might actually be up first time ever thing but it's still based on things that have come before right right I think is really important is the artist is a collector yeah because it really struck with me with cartoonists like I've studied a lot of cartoon us over the years and they all collect this little shit like they're all like actually collect like little Trinkets and stuff like like people like Chris Ware and Dan Clowes like they have all these like fucking little trinkets in their house like if you see their Studios like they literally are collectors
00:19:17Rite of like these knickknacks but they're also you can tell that they're collectors of you know art and ideas too but the reason I think that's so important it's like they don't necessarily tell you that in school that you know if you take like a creative writing course they don't tell you to be reading it might tell you to like look for a format that you can like I will pay attention to the way introduces his character or whatever but they don't really like tell you that actually the reason you look at our is he just look at it so that you can figure out what you can take from it looks like it's almost like it's just a different way of looking at our it's just you know most people when they read a book they just want to like dive in and like you know just be absorbed and how to take them somewhere you know if your right or in your reading a book you trying to get that experience to but you're also
00:20:17I was trying to steal everything you can from this person you know I'm kind of like soak it up you know early in a career before you really learn the value of criticism you know you think I know if I pay too much attention to the way that it's done I'm going to miss the story but but really I think that when you get comfortable with it you get so much more out of the story when you also see how it's being done in it and it's hard I mean it makes me a really slow reader like it's really hard for me to read back I mean this is this is it's funny cuz cuz I'm my wife really loves garbage what I called like kind of trashy fiction like she loves like the she loves like the shop line Harris books that were made into True Blood and she loves like she read like all the Twilight books like a really quick and she is like one of the smartest I mean she was one of the she is literally one of the smartest people I know and she's a
00:21:17terrific writer and reader but she's also a speed reader but she can blow through Pros really quick and it actually read a lot of articles about kind of like the shade riding and trashy writing that bad writing in a way it's like hieroglyphics it's like short again so like if you say it was a dark and stormy night yes it's a cliche but we immediately know like oh we're like in some Soares you know tail like it completely takes you there right by the way okay I know where I am kind of thing looks like it's shorthand like it's really change the way I think about kind of trash fiction well it's funny you can trust that would something like that you know first five pages of Five Hundred Years of Solitude one of the richest five pages I've ever read it just totally freakin sucks you in but it's not sure
00:22:17and right now it's just it's like an alien world or see I just completely rips your head off and for that book and it does suck you in but at the same time you are you know nails are screaming stealing an artist you know it's it's it's not about it's not about you know copying but it's about learning what you can from everybody that's gone before you and finding away I don't the important part is finding a way to make it yours though well that's why I think the part where I talked about like a genealogy of ideas important because like what I found out real quick is like I don't need to read the history of I don't need to read every book out there for one thing it's and it's impossible
00:23:14Fred I'm saying like it's not going to Tyler and very early on as writer and an artist that I was going to be it was going to be a lot more helpful for me to have a completely immersed kind of like deep knowledge of my favorite artists it would. I was going to be as valuable to me as knowing the complete history of art I totally agree no no maybe you're missing something but it's just been my that the deeper I follow someone the more intensely I know their work the more I pull out of it and where I can use as a writer I don't like the American the English language before 1900
00:24:14the only book I can think of that was written before the 20th century that I liked was beyond good and evil cuz the language was great but I wasn't it 99 yeah you know it's the same thing I'm not multilingual which would be nice it would be nice to speak a second language but I speak English I have enough English vocabulary to make up like five languages so I'm just going to speak the one language really fucking well like it but the same thing and figuring out what it is that appeals to you and that kind of comes up later and in your in your piece but you know really going for the absolute depth instead of the broader exposure
00:24:58yeah I mean in the end you need to read I mean you need to be open to that Radha World cuz you never know what it likes older it's way in but I just think like the most the the basic piece of advice and it was actually my friend Brandon who who is who's been even writing so much longer than me and he's been I mean he wanted to be a ride or since he's like 10 but he told me I asked him what he was working on this one summer you know after we were out of college and he said I picked three of my favorite writers and I'm reading everything they wrote and then finding out what they wrote what they read yeah I know I'm reading all of that and that's like my life summer which really sounds more like a lifetime yeah I remember you know back when everything was on paper and reading the bibliography some tracking stuff. Yeah yeah I feel like I'm not
00:25:52and I've done it with my you know like men so I just tried to do that now like when I find a writer I really like I just read everything they've written and then I just figure out who they read my read all of that you know exactly when the other thing I really like is reading them correspondence from hardest to writers admire yeah that's right so much out of that because you see them developing over time especially if you know their work it means even more to you exactly don't wait until you know who you are to start making things and that's also a really nice that's really good advice yeah I mean this one this one really was a response to that Rainn Wilson video and you know I think rain will sound like I mean Soul pancake seems cool
00:26:44I don't know that much about it but I mean he seems like a cool guy I just and I'm not trying to like say always full of shit or anything it's just he literally said like if you don't know who you are or what you're about you believe in it's pretty impossible to be creative like that's what he said and he was like you should get away from everything you should totally like stir up your life and it just sounded more and more like that kind of romanticized
00:27:15crap that I've heard from people that keeps them from not doing stuff but just like oh one blocked you know I need to I need to divorce my wife and go travel the world for a while now it's just like no you don't you just need to make stuff
00:27:37I've always gone back and forth about craft you know everyone talks about craft and you know craft is like crap is the one thing they teach in like writing school now they always talk about Crash will you need to work on your craft and basically it's like you get all these stories that are like oh yeah this is a workshop story you know it's like this is written very confidently and it has all the parts and you know and I'm totally bored by it right you know and it's not like
00:28:12you know I think James kochalka was just one of my favorite cartoon is he he he wrote this really like hyperbolic piece called craft is the enemy knows this little mini Manifesto where he was just like I read all these message boards with these kids and they're all asking me like what Winsor Newton brush I use and like what paper I use all the shit in like it's just like just just tell you're just tell the stories in your you know just just like get to it you know just start working actually I haven't quite phrase this my head this way before but actually craft isn't about writing it's about editing
00:28:56that's that's really interesting every syllable matters not really doesn't for sales copy or whatever bye so that way I can't break the habit but it's like I'll bang it all out then I go into edit that's what I usually kind of had it on the Fly which is why I take so long to let you know but it's like the ideas down and and get the raw passion and power of it and then you can go in and say always this really the word I want oh does he know does this read aloud while or whatever
00:29:38I I know I would go for that because because because otherwise it's going to hold you back but I'm so freaked out about how I'm saying it Let It Go eventually unless I abandon it you know because I can move on to something else oh and of course the really important part of that you know that item was the fake it till it till you make it to me has been such a like I said mount my wife Megan it's in grad school and there's actually this is very very rampant real thing that kids are diagnosed with called imposter syndrome they literally can't internalize their accomplishments cuz a lot of these cuz a lot of people in grad school have literally been in school their whole
00:30:38you know a lot about McKesson she took she took yours off to work and like she said she's like had more experiences and some of the people she's in school with but like they literally can't internalized their accomplishments so what that means is they just feel like Sony is constantly and of course I'm listening to the bottom line is like literally you know when I was younger I just when I was a kid I just thought I'd like me and adults have it so together like it whenever they take care of everything while my parents are so awesome and then you get to this you know then you get older you realize holy shit they were just there whey in it just like me no idea
00:31:38Kevin Smith had a really great Twitter rant about that a couple of months ago. Where this is what happened to him he was like I want to be a filmmaker and his sister was like well then just be a fucking filmmaker
00:31:51you know make some films you know you know what you've made some films so now you're a filmmaker it's like by virtue of having you know whether I can brighten your novel or painting your picture or drawing a cartoon or whatever okay now you can say you may not be the best cartoon writer or you know artist or whatever in the world but that's why you keep doing it again and eventually you know you'll have a body of work and you'll get better at it and and hey now you can now you can justify having said that you are an artist for 20 years you know I also like you had a really nice line in there talking about all the world's a stage and needing a stage and I cost you in a script about your work space but I love the line you wrote the script is just plain old time an hour here or an hour there a script for a play is just time measured out for things to happen
00:32:50yeah you know that's one of the things I wrote and I was like I had no idea I was just like you know what this guy makes sense to me but I've always there's this there's one of my favorite movies is Wonder Boys which is adapted from Michael Che Vons book I love the the professor in that movie has to wear his. That awful pink bathrobe right that he puts on
00:33:27you know when you go to readings people always ask these writers like what do you write on a typewriter or do you write longhand do you like type in Microsoft Word or like what you know why and I've always thought like what is stupid fucking question who cares who cares how they were you know like that's so so don't but now I'm like no you know what that is what people really want to know they really want to know what the ritual is right cuz what they really want to know is like how do you get in the zone cuz everybody's got their own say you like candles or do you like how do you like it in the zone the coolest thing that I've heard recently released the mighty python guy he did this presentation he said work is all about boundaries of space and boundaries of time he's like you need a space to work in India
00:34:27time to do it and I'm just I've been like totally obsessed with that you need you need him some cases in some way the materials to equation from a time space and materials and if you have only two of those you're getting nothing done
00:34:44yeah I know that's you have time and space but nothing to work with your fact if you have time and materials but no space you're still fucked space in the details but no time it's really takes all three and you've got to commit to all 3 to another like our friend cute all he needs is a nice pen and a business card whereas I need a giant ass metal Studio that's kind of expensive so choose your medium wisely I done the math I might have done something else anyway so you know your next point in the in the essay was write the book you want to read instead of instead of writing what you know and I thought that was really good that's lifted pretty much wholesale from this guy named John Gardner the writer I mean he has a point in
00:35:44he has a point in the art of fiction where he talks about how just exactly what I said is like you know he's he's never ever ever ever use that about advice right what you know because it's just like especially a creative writing Workshop you for your teaching like 19 year olds we don't know anything yet unfortunately year olds but you know I'm not too far from there but you know he was saying 20 you never done anything for anybody I was like yeah you went on some school trip to Nicaragua and bought a house like you were more of a pain in the ass than you were a hell. It's really funny but that that actually the whole guy I had written a blog post in 2008 called Write the book you want to read which actually came out of the fact that I had posted
00:36:44is letters to a young poet I posted a couple of things out of there and one guy was just like oh God the whole right what you know cliche cuz that's what Realty says and then and then I dug up that John Gardner quote and then I came up with the right the book you want to read but that's pretty much lifted one of the other actually took notes for the show a little bit but I was like you know it almost it almost works with that
00:37:15cliche I don't know much about art but I know what I like. You know that I think you can always tell when somebody had fun making the are they went through something you know I sell when someone really felt something when they were making it cuz if you don't I mean I can look at the brush Strokes from the Old Masters and be really impressed with the technical proficiency but portraits of people 300 years old don't do a lot for me but the subject matter is just boring totally
00:38:10images of so burned in our Collective thing I really like in that post something that again it was just a tweet I made which is all fat L fiction is fanfiction you know the more I've talked to other Riders you and you ask him like what are you in like why why would you why would you write a book you know why would you why would you try to do this why would you try to like write a novel and the only thing that I that I found is like we love novels yeah you know it you find me some this is this is how I could always tell someone who sucked in my grave running classes when I was in college you get these kids would come in here and they go
00:39:07well I really I really like to write but I don't like to read yeah tonight and I was just like what you might as well leave cuz I know you're going to be bad you like to write and you don't like to read oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah well and I always tell people like I mean you know
00:39:36what does that even mean a kid emailed me and said Hammer film student would you like I try to read books and stuff but do you consider watching movies reading and I was like well you can read it film I mean you can see the film just like you can read a book if you know what you're looking for looking Tarantino I mean like you know one of our greatest directors living directors his education was watching a bunch of movies in a video store I mean that's that to me is the equivalent of reading now I mean you're reading fan eating and reading doesn't have to require text now it's sort of a dress that in the first signs on the road you know read the faces of Scranton and it's true it's like it's not reading it's paying attention
00:40:31it's looking at him what he's seeing you know it's funny because I find myself you know it's funny because you know I'm on the one hand I'm so jealous of you and really bummed because I don't get to read literature the way I did when I was a writer and that was all I had to do but on the other hand it's like I'm talking with people like I'm I'm I'm going to hire some Design Consultants to work on taking this new fireball design into a manufacturing capacity basically hiring industrial designers to make it easier to manufacture this thing right we just passing actually and it's I'm learning every bit as much as I would have learned from reading a good novel it's just a totally different context the art on all different kinds of level you know not just the material levels but I mean even the way that meaning is conveyed
00:41:31stopping us
00:41:33you know I'm so it's interesting cuz I don't get I mean obviously I could set aside time somewhere to read more literature but the time to think about it right now I will again but right now I'm just reading a different part of the world every year at the end of the year I get really guilty because I make my best of 2010 list. This is dumb that I'm even doing this list the best things I read it could have been a tweet I mean it could have been a blog post it could have been a New Yorker article that didn't even read in the magazine like why am I listing these 10 but like 10 books I read that we're good right like this is this is this is silly so I don't know if I'm going to keep doing it although it is it is nice to have the record but it's like you know I've only read I read so few actually spin
00:42:33so few bucks now you know and it's but I ate you know I'm reading all the freaking time you want me to get some of it last you know but we're for instance on I was going to tease you about this too because after newspaper block out I think you told me you never wanted to do another book but I could totally see if I owe you yes yes that's what we're working on right now option on my Nextbook so they have to say yes or no and then I never go shopping around 5 I've heard from got some nice emails from the somatic nervous at different houses so I was wondering I figured I'd go for it cuz you should I mean it's one of those things where it's just like God you know it's like do I really want to do this again but I've had so many people say I want this is a book
00:43:33you want to go you know go deeper and I think that is what made a really great but being able to expand on the ideas is great too and you know I feel like it's kind of like if people I know have kids after about 2 or 3 years like Auntie nice to happen and I'll remember you know they will have a nice filter nice to have another one so we'll see what happens I know it's theirs there's always a
00:44:14you know it's already done or I'd Kickstarter is next in line but those are important I agree with that a lot because like so so the newspaper blackout site that is just dedicated to other people well I mean I post my stuff on there to site that's just fine actually hasn't done donating now I finally got that switched over so it's newspaper blackout.com if actually where you know like people just send in their own stuff and it's all about like opening up the process to talk to everyone that was like a mark it wasn't a marketing scheme but it was it was almost like I wanted to offload all that stuff on to another site so I didn't have to put it on my own side cuz cuz as much as I've been open about the the process
00:45:14I'm like I am not posting someone else's poem on my site this is hard enough now people think that stuff that I put up on the other side is mine right which is made me even more territorial for the book came out in February last year is now my most popular site has circulation of I mean it gets more eyeballs than like most layer a journals nice you know I mean so like
00:45:55and that was just something that was like yeah we should have this let's just build it let's put it up right totally just and now it's almost like a main thing it's I mean it's it's a very like it's a really good what started out as something that I just thought was like a side note is now this thing that has tons of followers and like it's been up to this really cool site and it's one of the first ways people actually know if they go on Google the book that's like the first thing they see now he had actually don't see my side it's the first return Ryan set alarm at 2 in there that you know one of the things you've learned does that you know the side projects are the ones that blow off and and that you know that's where a lot of the creativity happens and I can get my true yeah it's so true I mean newspaper blackout itself was just me trying to come up with some ideas for short stories you know and then it turned out that like
00:46:55something and you can meet us
00:46:59yeah you know and it's it's I don't know you know I mean a lot of the most creative stuff I do now isn't the art that I do for a living necessarily sometimes it's not even hard you know it's it's other stuff it's it's some of the business stuff for whatever that gets creative and and that's actually fun for me totally you know so I think number 6 on your list is actually one of the most important yeah the same thing basically in front of people but but the secret do good work and put it where people can see
00:47:36yeah you know pretty sitting outside and see it really is of no value of the work isn't good absolutely you know I used to be it was really hard to show people your stuff right and it was even hard to I mean let's even say
00:48:04you know I mean you're you're really talk about distribution in a way I mean you know just literally be I mean you know like it like I said you know what I don't even need to go into it that's out there enough but it's also the one that looks like you know if you don't get this you're fucked yeah I can understand this you are fucked what is the doing good work hard I think that's everybody gets that the internet makes distribution possible but what I think people don't focus on enough is is the quality of work sometimes actually it's funny cuz I just had Lila fever was in town and we went out to dinner and we were talking about this this point which I become obsessed with lately which is
00:48:56airport couple people have written about online I think Lee Road about it like way back in 2007 this concept of stock and flow okay I was like your tweets your Flickr photos you know it's the timely stuff it's like it's like you're constantly putting out there and your stock is almost like You're Timeless stuff going to stick around for a while so if you like a really good blog post or poem are really nice photo or something you know and the thing about the internet is everybody thinks the internet is all about flow everybody thinks the internet is about all this like really fast like sharp you know as it happens stuff right. Actuality is like if you look at the traffic on my site
00:49:50like most of the traffic that comes to my site is stuff that I wrote like years ago yeah I like stuff lives on the internet it has a life on the internet the internet is way less not permanent it's way less ephemeral than you think it is oh yeah absolutely. You started copyblogger you know he wrote some really amazing stuff you know about headlines and this and that but just brilliant stuff that will never stop being relevant yeah you told me and even stuff that you don't think would be relevant
00:50:32itsfunneh likely told me that their most viewed their most viewed video still or like up on top of theirs is there explanation of the difference between a message board in a blog wow it's really fascinating to me but you know someone who's constantly flooding you know involved in the flow you know stuff out there you know the stock is just really important and what's interesting to me though is that how you can build flow up into stock right and the way I think you do that is you I'm like a really meticulous tagger so every time like I have these obsessions and whenever I post something nice
00:51:32exit cinematic session at Agate right so then when it comes time to do a big puss like this are comes time to do a speech like I've got this and Matt Mass Archive of stuff that I can look through that slow gets turned into this it's archived in a way that helps me turn into stock that's nice I do a similar thing except that I'm not posting most of it it's like you know I'll go back at the end of the year and read all my tweets and pull out a lot of those become the outlines for bigger things like I come up with some really good like just one liner ideas right then I want to use later on Twitter actually just made a sub domain in my site that's Twitter. Austin kleon. Com it's just it's just my Twitter archive and so I've got that I know you are I don't have a good way to bring them into Thai pad so I'm
00:52:32but at least that way I've got them you don't actually going back the end of the year and looking at them it because it's the closest I don't Journal you know I've got emails kind of my journal cuz it's the most comprehensive record of what I've been up to but going back and reading all your email at the end of the year I mean no way nobody wants to do the things I like about having the Twitter archive and WordPress is like then I can hack the pages so i y want to read it chronologically right now so I want to see the I want to see January 1st yeah now and I want to just read the whole year and stuff so yeah it's it's just like like archiving your flow in a way that you can turn into stock I would love to have a better way to do that you know the next point is another one that I think is pretty simple geography is no longer our master I don't know how much I really
00:53:32I feel like it's important point I think it could be debated you know almost all of my sales around State and that's because of the internet and so that's great right and that's just you know a lot of talking about it's just it's distributed worldwide I can do that I can make a real living instead of you know depending on local galleries are even Regional galleries or you know whatever about the point you made that was I think more important is that time you were saying 90% of your mentors and peers don't let you know in Austin where you are they live on the internet because I love I still live in a rural area I don't have a lot of people to talk to hear in the kind of dope that we're doing right now right right but all day everyday
00:54:32I'm in contact with really Brian people all over the world that it just wouldn't have been possible before that that really kind of because like I live in Austin and everyone talks about how wonderful Austin is as a you know it's such a creative town it's not like I mean is there are tons of people doing really interesting stuff here but it's not necessarily full of the people who are really really learn a lot from right it's full of people that want to like hang out and drink beer and eat tacos with and hang out as friends and go see their work and you know but it's not necessarily the people who are really really want to who I really really get the most stuff right
00:55:29thought on Twitter the other night when I was like you know part of the reason I don't read as many books as I used to is because most of the people whose books I'd read are friends of mine and I have these conversations with them while they're right at you know it's like I've already had the conversation with the author yeah it was funny or friend to McLeod's and he was lying to you I'm looking forward to reading your book and I was like you don't need to read my book you you read me all the time you know I get the stuff all the time you know Idols who wrote books it's like I would have given anything to sit down and have a beer with them and shoot the shed but it wasn't something I could really make happen
00:56:29like Vonnegut or something I read him in this way that like I wish you was my grandpa I really wish you was my grandpa and he was sitting around and bullshiting me I mean that's why I read him I would have loved to go carousing would like Hunter S Thompson or something right now which is interesting cuz you know it really strips away some of the guns home if you know then people probably would have guessed he was a lot more compassionate to remember with him he wanted to be a novelist you know I think that's what school is is that the people in the world right now who are the most interesting to me who 20 years ago would have been somebody I'm reading their book and
00:57:29wishing there was some way to connect it's like a lot of these people are now friends part of why I bust my ass to make good work is so that I kind of learned that friendship to you know I mean like if you want to be pierced With Your Heroes you've got to have something they want to hear you have a conversation with you with building reputation was access to
00:58:05cool brands that sideways into the next Point yeah which is be nice the world is a small town and I have my shirt that my friend Chris had that says here to make friends that's literally the only reason I do anything nobody wanted to talk about anything interesting I fell completely out. I had a few really good friends but otherwise like I just could not wait I could not wait to go to see it's funny when I talk to kids about going to college today that's like a lot of them it's like Hillary am going to college or whatever to me college was like my life was going to be saved but I was going somewhere where like people want to talk about stuff they want to play music then went to look at our at the point to read books like
00:58:59apologize I was looking forward to college for like 18 years yeah me too so but but now I tell people you know I had a really good professor in college who said there's only one right guaranteed reward you get from being an artist and that is you get to be an artist you get to make our he said yeah he said there's only one guarantee rewards from being an artist and that is you get to a car but the other thing is it's that he interested you'll be interesting right which I think is Dale Carnegie probably this one that I I finally was able to say it's like if you want to be friends with someone on the internet not only like we said do you have to like you know do you
00:59:59to make stuff that would actually interested let's talk nice about him yeah that's one way to do it the other thing is like if you don't like someone on the internet just ignore them literally the best way to destroy your enemies on the Internet is to completely ignore them cuz like it's always funny when people write posts about me or like totally like another like negative or whatever cuz I'm just like well good job idiot you just link to my blog right now this is yeah fuck this guy and then they're going to click through and are going to see the work going to be like actually I kind of like this people retweet stuff now like this sucks I'm like oh good job idiot you are exactly because you know it's like it's fun to be snarky I mean everybody likes to be
01:00:59but you know it's really true I've just learned accidentally and it's kind of funny that the internet taught me diplomacy you know and that's like the last place you would think you would learn it because it's so full of trolls right you would buzz but but I just realized that you know
01:01:20even when you want to call something out there's ways you can freeze stuff positively instead of negatively you know I like I have a friend on Twitter who not going to say who but but most of his tweets have kind of a negative town right and there a specific people not like
01:01:41you know it it kind of bums me out you know cuz I'm like you could make you could make the same commentary about what really bothers you without calling out this person you know and I also like I forget who it was recently I feel bad that I forgot who it was I put it up on my site I'll have to look at it back up but there was a guy who wrote a post it was called the way to complain about softwares to make better software exactly and that's so true it's like you don't like someone's art and keep your freaking mouth shut and go make some better are you back when I used to go around a lot of calories cuz I was living in Chicago on they were accessible you know I'd go I'd see maybe one thing I really love that see a lot of stuff that I didn't like either way I would go home and make more art if I saw a sign I really loved I go home and try and beat it because it was a challenge right but if I saw a bunch of
01:02:41I just thought was God awful and I hated it I go home and make more art because I was like Kathy's party galleries need better stock no matter how good or bad the artist that the end result is I go make more
01:03:01stop that's what you constantly have to figure out it's like how to take all the stuff that bothers you and instead of just bitching about on Twitter pour it into the work exactly find a bitch a little on Twitter but I mean the real thing to do is to just do better work replace the stuff with something better one of my favorite quotes of all time came from my wife who said quit picking fights on the internet and go do something okay let's go on to the next one be boring it's the only way to get work done the other one that just makes people really upset controversial one next to the how to steal the last thing they want to hear cuz the stuff they do not want to hear the stuff
01:04:01terms how interesting is it to watch a writer write a book yeah you know if you're watching Hemingway type of buck I mean okay there was just a slideshow of authors with typewriters that everybody linked to in love cuz beautiful authors beautiful typewriters right and yes it's fun to look at a picture of it how much fun would it be to look at a video of it
01:04:21and you can attend yeah it's boring and it's funny it's funny cuz like whenever someone was like all like romantically inclined for it towards an artist like my God can you imagine what it's like to be his wife exactly one of the reasons I'm not a writer anymore it's cuz I'm such a fucking dick when I don't want to talk to anybody I love you go away I'm right at do not talk to me I'll kill you that it's a little here in the studio cuz I can work with my hands and still talk and talk at the same time
01:05:04no but you know I have done my whole theory of being a writer was living interesting life and write it down I was one of them because I don't do fiction very well but the problem is if your life is really interesting you got no time to write if you have time to write your life is not very interesting the other thing about life is you don't know when the story is over no you don't you don't know like how it works out in like that's why I like so many of the really good Memoirs are written so much longer afterwards yeah nothing taking good notes or having a Dremel or a Twitter feed or something would help with that you know a lot but yeah really I mean you've got the flow Baracoa which I love you regular on the orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work which is like one of my all-time favorite art quotes did that the other one that said it well as that aren't takes a lot of energy to make and you don't have that energy if you're wasting it on other stuff yeah
01:06:04don't like is the day job thing right and I was going to I really wanted to talk about that one too because like I think I didn't last time we talked we probably fought over that one you know it's it's it's one of those things where it's completely contextual because if you're talking to a room full of 20 year olds they should all go out and probably get day job right they don't have any experience or they need to go make that you know it's like the bottom line is like if you want to be a normal reasonable like if you want to be a
01:06:40I don't even know how to phrase it it's just something that's work for me it's just work for me so far now do it do I like I mean it's it's almost like people do I like having a date you know like if I could not have one that would be awesome I just haven't figured out a way to make it work yet right well and you know what I've told people before on this podcast is like when my day job went away I told you I used to working out 8 hours plus a 2-hour commute I'm going to work 10 hours in the studio and sleep like 4 hours right not necessarily healthy but I was young enough I could do that yeah although I still only about 4 hours but I'm not working all the time but on the other hand you know when I lost the job I took those eight hours that we're bookmark for that and I put that into the business side of the art and that's what made it possible I was like okay instead of spending this time looking for a job or working at a job I'll use this time to make money with the art that I made the other half of the day
01:07:41but I'm I'm going to revisit this idea because when I read this I started thinking back and I was like you know when I had a job I was so pissed off about the time wasted in the office just came back to the studio
01:07:57I worked a lot harder because I was angry at my life I've got to get it back yet and I'm certain level when I look back at the work I was making in 2000 which is totally different from what I make now but it was so much more
01:08:23I put so much more into it in a way
01:08:27and part of that was cuz I was starting out I was trying a lot of different stuff and whatever and it's not like I'm not still developing new things but there was something about having that foil of the day job that really made it so important to get into the studio
01:08:44yeah I'm no matter what no matter how I felt I think this is also a choice that you make to is that
01:08:53I made the choice a long time I mean I made the choice that I want to live as long and healthy of a life as I can and I want to be a normal person I want to be married I want to have you know kid I want to have a decent place to live I I am not interested in being Kurt Cobain I'm not interested in being Ian Curtis or our best you know I'm just not interested in being those guys who were brilliant and burn out you know I'm just not interested in doing that I'm much more interested in being you know the guy I like even if I don't ever do anything that really cuz in this is just this is just my opinion like this is just me what I'm saying it's like I don't give a shit whether I put out the thing that changes art right I just want to be I just want to make work
01:09:53and live a nice life and I just don't care I don't care about you being a genius or you know it's just me I just don't care to meet me like I want to be I want to make good work and someday it would be awesome if I could just stay home and make work and that's how I make my living but I just want to have a bunch of friends and do work and be a normal person and be a good guy like I want a lot of people to come to my funeral and say he was he was a good dude right you know like that's something that like I've just it's just something that you have to decide if you want to be an asshole and my Go full bore and burn everything around you in the hopes of like creating this one thing
01:10:43that's you know that's fine when we sell romanticize the artist to do that right. That there's a lot of movies about artists actually but they're mostly guys that died young aren't they and it's and it's not that every artist did die young Live artist live long lives but we love that image and I think you know it sounds the other thing is when you're 20 and you've got no real
01:11:17when when you're making these decisions when you're 20 and you like I'm going to live forever cuz you just think you're going to live forever right you know and it's like you know actually Hugh has been big about this unit quit smoking drinking he works out he's like you know he's sort of you know but he looks a lot better he's producing more work yeah you know so it's just the thing that changed it and this is actually I mean this is another one of my if I do another book I want to do a book about art and marriage and that's kind of what I'm researching right now but what happened for me is just like I met if you meet a real artist who is also a terrific like husband and family man like it changes you outside your like I Met George Saunders in person George Saunders the short fiction writer just an amazing writer I mean his tuba
01:12:17that you cut out a civil war land and Pastor Alliyah are just like some of the best short fiction written you know I mean it's just so good and it meant so much to me when I was in college and then I found out that he was just this you know he's just this guy with two kids and a wife and he just you know teaches at Syracuse and he has is quite low life and I asked him like how are you I actually went to one of his Reading Eggs everybody's asking all these questions I asked him I was like how do you make such good work and you're also such a good family man and he said the same thing he said when I was in when I was getting my MFA I was studying under Tobias Wolff and I had a huge Kerouac boner has he put it and he's like I thought I had to be
01:13:17how old to be a good writer and then I meant Tobe wolf and he was just this amazing father an amazing Family Guy and I realize like that was complete crap yeah that's interesting cuz you know I know actually the only couples I can think of who I really you know there's me and Marcy I know we're going to last there's there's you and Megan there's Lee & Saatchi LeFevre I think there are really healthy couple and they work together you know with what they do but it's like part of you know what I'm finding now that I finally found Marcy who actually likes my quirks and can tolerate you know no question but it was like the things that they liked about me mostly had to do with me being an artist but they the exact same things that brought them to me took them away
01:14:17he's so exciting and blah blah blah they're like oh my God does he ever shut up who really gets you and is supportive and you can be mutually supportive cuz I think that's important like 5 hours of the day they're just frost on the phones in the internet are turned off that's awesome and we're hardcore about it I mean that's awesome about we eat dinner and we watch a movie and we hang out or whatever you know but that's like my downtime at our time together and that's rad up to that working on our own stuff and we're not really talking but yeah when when when it's time for dinner it's like okay shut off the world
01:15:17good thing on the thing is it's like when you've got that I mean the sort of ties into the whole you know what you're saying about you know being a stable but I mean when you've got something like that it makes it possible to go through
01:15:33y'all getting the work done and you know there are things I do for her there's things she does for me but but knowing you've got that frees you up to deal with the other stuff I could never do what I do without her at this point that's the same it's just think about how much energy that those young artists all so wasted young frogs and chasing tail and think of what we could have had I know right and it's like the other thing is you know when I was like young and broke and poor and whatever it was like there were so many projects I wanted to do and I couldn't do them because I didn't have the cash for the materials or whatever right if I had a fucking day job I could have bought those things yeah you know and I felt like I needed all my time
01:16:29and I'm in a lot of ways I kind of did that got me here right now I don't need all my time but you know yeah there were so many opportunities that I couldn't take advantage of because you know I was just too busy pissing on Fires standing next to them getting you know smoke damage
01:17:02like this David Foster Wallace stuff is just really bothering me because I read this just a bit devastating interview with Karen green his wife and you just eat your reading it and you're thinking it wasn't worth it it couldn't have been worth it it couldn't have been worth it for him to write all those big bucks that all these nerds read now that's like it changes their lot you know I just don't I'm like you know what is it would have kept him alive to not be a writer and end for him to be at I don't know there's just part of me that just thinks like that poor mother fucker I just I feel like you know all these P always such a genius blah blah blah and it's like it's just so like me and I will let you know in a way when I read that interview with his wife I was just like God I wish you would have just stopped you know I wish you would have just stopped
01:18:02inside I'm not going to write another book I'm going to teach and maybe do some nonfiction pieces you know and it's weird how I like
01:18:13I don't know some of those guys I mean you always look at him you're like what if you know I mean I look at some of my Kurt Cobain and I think that man if he could have figured it out I mean you look at the stuff Dave Grohl did later yeah and then you look at like unplugged in New York which I think is actually their best album I just like the next Nirvana record at that would have been amazing and I have that cut short by all that stuff is just like I'm just I'm just curious as to I know that there are people who are like you're insane how can you love our how can you be such an art lover and say it's not worth someone's life to have this masterpiece but I really feel that way I really feel that way that aren't is not worth losing your life over and there are people who would say that you're not a real artist and I said well that's fine if that's your measurement by of a real artist someone that will lose his life for art then that's fine I'm not a real artist
01:19:13I'm completely fine with that you know I'm just fine with that well let me know what the fuck you're happy you're doing what you're doing people are digging it it's like it really doesn't matter if you're not really doesn't it just blows my mind how people get sucked into the myth of the self-destructive thing for one thing I did it too I mean like I had a big Cadillac motor to sure I mean I got me a dozen times but the world I mean you can't really you're not really if if there's nothing wrong with the world there's nothing to do about it so you're just kind of I mean those are the people that just eat KFC in watch cable and zone out you know that the people who are perfectly happy with the world and how it's going there not going to make art cuz like art is about like improving your environment
01:20:13you know taking a step further evolving you know yeah you know making a better world making a better world on the flip side of that is you get all these people are just Misfits right I mean there's a difference between being a misfit he's got some Talent who works really hard and liked make something and then just a misfit right you know I'm always I'm always joke like one of my jokes is that art requires a certain amount of misanthropic be after 8 what's going on to want to make something cuz otherwise you just be like all this is great let's just drink beer or just missed it so they just want to be they want to be called something and they don't actually want to do anyting future career
01:21:13those are the people who are going to leave the great comments. They're just pissed off and they want to strike out it's making me about creativity is subtraction which is the correct phrase I speak in this weird like Collective we like I don't know who this other person that I mean like a lot time I I mean I think of it as Meg but I feel like you have this thing and even though it's just you it's like a Wii
01:22:13but anyway may be part of that because I actually think of it is Marcy too and I mean part of that because we're so heavily partnered in this but you may be part of it is the audience to because yeah maybe that would have been involved maybe it's just all of us to have a sort of nice not to feel alone so I could just be that it's a really Snappy like Fame which is pretty much sums up or thumbs up like the work and also sums up the kind of I just think it's like a really important lesson for today like there's too much stuff out there there is never going to catch up you're never going to read everything you're never going to truly be in the know so
01:23:00you just said you got to like you just have to cut things out of your life in order to really it's like you said you know you got to turn off all the screens and turn your Gaze on that person is the most important yeah yeah and I like that better than what I was going to say which was you know it goes back to what you were saying about just going into depth in the things that you the thing was in the writing of the art that you love absolutely I mean you just I just know that like you know there's going to be stuff that I'm just not going to read or to eat what you love to say garbage in garbage out I used to hate it
01:23:48call Mary I was just calling about the but whatever but if you want to know if you want to make really good stuff or even if you want to make a certain kind of stuff you've got to like soap immerse yourself in that end in the your gear the genealogy you want you know cuz you don't get to that was the other fun things for me to ride it's like you don't get to pick your family right it's a pic everything else yeah you know and that's a big deal to logic we have in our culture shock it is you know what I mean you know I mean you know you can even write off members of your family if you have to you know and sometimes you do do that another I mean there are other cultures and time and place where you cannot do that you literally end and there's good things and bad things about that exactly
01:24:47but that's just our reality you know but I think it really comes down to it away you know making choices about you know what do you want to have in your life you know what what sustains you and what feeds you and you know and and the better the better you tailor your diet to that but it'll actually you know if you feed yourself a good diet you're going to get better ideas and work out of here I mean it really is a diet it's a good way to think of it so garbage in garbage out when do you understand yet so far it's kind of cool because I mean I haven't done a podcast in like months cuz I've been too busy and you were the first guess I had on so it's kind of cool to have you back too funny I mean you know it's funny when we when we first met I was love remembering this cuz you're like finally someone who likes to talk as much as I expected
01:25:46DJ dress clothes on I think is like I'm I'm going on 28 I do not pretend to know what it takes it's just like this is where I am right now and the thing is is like I've had incredible mentors you know like I've watched like you and Q and all the people that like you know that I follow in the trenches and this is just this post is just like the combination of like what I've learned up until this point it's not finished it's not set in stone and and hopefully you know in 20 years I'll look back at some of the stuff and say actually that was bullshit here sorry that's not good point I'm always telling people I hope I'm wrong because otherwise
01:26:46wants to know what's going to happen or know everything I mean that's no fun at all this is just like right now this is what it is awesome thanks so much for doing the show again Austin

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