I think most creatives know the importance of sharing their work. Whether that's in a gallery, exhibition or online, showing people what we do is the first step in finding new clients and collectors, not to mention colleagues and students.
I think what Austin Kleon manages to do in his book 'Show Your Work' is to look at this practice and bring it into the modern age. If you use social media or the online world to share your art, this is the book for you.
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Arranged into 10 tip filled chapters, Show Your Work goes into how to showcase your creativity and network with other likeminded creatives. This book doesn't contain technical advice or promises that it will make you rich... it just puts you on the right path to get the most from your own particular journey as an artist far away from outdated stereotypes and limitations.
For me, it's power lies in Kleon's understanding of the modern art world and digital, online life. I've read plenty of art business guides that vaguely recommend using a website or sharing on social media but Kleon embraces this new world with open arms, and most importantly, with authority. He follows his own advice and this speaks for itself.
Some of my favourite points in the book include:
Think process, not product.
Kleon makes a really good case for the belief that artist's should share their working out. I love watching artists at work, even in completely unrelated fields to me. It's so interesting! From the artist's point of view it also provides a constant, shareable stream of content that you can show to your collectors, clients and colleagues. Seeing the final product is only one part of the story. Share the rest.
Share something small every day.
One of my favourite ideas from Kleon's other book Steal Like An Artist was the logbook idea. I now keep a notebook logging everything that I do creatively. Everything that inspires me. Everything that I make. And this helps me share something small every day. Even if it's just 'I've been really busy today with family stuff'- that kind of honesty is important to sharing a good picture of who you are as a creative and helps connect you with like minded people. Social media and SEO also rewards regular consistency too #justsaying.
Teach what you know
Sharing our work, what we know, helping others and looking for help in return is what will keep our industry and community booming. I LOVE watching other artists work. I LOVE watching other artists succeed. Ask me anything. There are no trade secrets here. Why wouldn't you share what you know? Even if we have to pay for it? I can't be the only one who gets suspicious when artist's keep secrets...
Kleon is a one of my new favourite writers. This quick easy read is a fantastic follow up to his previous book Steal Like An Artist. Both of which, in my opinion, are essential to any artists library. Please grab a copy and take a look. You can purchase it here: