Jan 21, 2020
Convinced that “copy paste” is the foundation of art, writer and artist Austin Kleon has turned his thesis into a way of life. He defines himself as “a writer who draws”. His first best seller “Newspaper Blackout” is a book of poetry, which he created by re-editing newspaper articles with a permanent marker. “They look like haikus made by the CIA,” Kleon jokes.
He grew up in the corn fields of Ohio. He worked as a librarian, web designer and advertising copywriter. But his success came after giving a presentation called “Steal like an artist”: “Picasso said that art is theft. David Bowie considered himself a tasteful thief. Bob Dylan said, ‘Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.’ And I made this my own because I’m not original at all,” he argues. His talk went viral and he turned it into an illustrated manifesto, the seed for the trilogy that also includes “Show your work” and “Keep going”. In his work, Kleon teaches readers strategies to explore their artistic and creative side, promote their work and also suggests ways to continue being creative.
The work of the U.S. artist has been published in media outlets like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Over a million copies of his books have been printed and translated into 20 different languages.