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Instant New York Times Bestseller
"Inspiration leaps off the pages from Jerry Saltz's new book on creativity. . . . This book is for the artist or non-artist, for the person who gets plain English, for the person who understands that practical talk can coax out the mystical messages that lie underneath." —Steve Martin
Art has the power to change our lives. For many, becoming an artist is a lifelong dream. But how to make it happen? In How to Be an Artist, Jerry Saltz, one of the art world’s most celebrated and passionate voices, offers an indispensable handbook for creative people of all kinds.
From the first sparks of inspiration—and how to pursue them without giving in to self-doubt—Saltz offers invaluable insight into what really matters to emerging artists: originality, persistence, a balance between knowledge and intuition, and that most precious of qualities, self-belief. Brimming with rules, prompts, and practical tips, How to Be an Artist gives artists new ways to break through creative blocks, get the most from materials, navigate career challenges, and above all find joy in the work.
Teeming with full-color artwork from visionaries ancient and modern, this beautiful and useful book will help artists of all kinds—painters, photographers, writers, performers—realize their dreams.
About the Author
Jerry Saltz is the senior art critic at New York magazine and its entertainment site Vulture. The winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, he has lectured at MoMA, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, and many other museums, and at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and elsewhere. Saltz lives in New York.
Praise for How to Be an Artist:
“An imaginative “handbook” for creatives of all kinds, full of wit, exercises, and insightful advice.” – The Cut
“Saltz has a rare ability, useful for a critic, to speak declaratively without coming off as pushy or didactic. . . . The overwhelming impression is one of urgent generosity. . . . While others have written about the fear of failure that lies at the heart of any creative pursuit[,] few have offered such concrete advice for overcoming it.” —Slate
“Saltz has not written a book for insiders, but for the novice enthusiast – something all of us have been at one time. Valuable insight on the creative process [with] a surprising amount of solid advice.” —Frieze
"The creative salve you need to assuage self-doubt and find inspiration." —Fast Company
“How to Be an Artist dispenses practical wisdom, inspiration, humor and honesty to nourish the artist in all of us. For those already taken by Saltz’s passionate criticism and witty storytelling—as well as those looking to persevere in creative professions—the book will prove to be a beautiful resource.” –David Graver,Cool Hunting
“Saltz is to be applauded for his direct confrontation of issues of personal trauma, systemic sexism and financial hardship – and for proclaiming, in the fifth tip, that ‘All art comes from love’. Joy is palpable in these pages. We are told to connect with our raw emotions, to admire the constant creative work our artist’s brain is undertaking, to learn from our mistakes and to shake off criticism. Saltz even tells us to dance. We need such thinking right now.” – Apollo
“An excellent read for any would-be artist who's looking for a blast of uplifting and inspirational advice[,] grounded in the real world.” – Creative Boom
"Trim, brilliant. . . . Whether you’re a proud amateur or a frustrated expert, these are words worth taking to heart. Saltz’s knowledge veins run deep, and his voice is crisp, frank, intimate and urgent." —BookPage
“Saltz offers ebullient, practical, and wise counsel to those who wonder, ‘How can I be an artist?’ …A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Inspiration leaps off the pages from Jerry Saltz’s new book on creativity. One wants to say he’s revealing secrets, but really, he’s revealing intuition—intuition formed from decades of thinking about art. This book is for the artist or non-artist, for the person who gets plain English, for the person who understands that practical talk can coax out the mystical messages that lie underneath.” —Steve Martin
“How to Be an Artist has relevance way beyond the art world. With his typical clarity and compassion, Jerry Saltz outlines a path for anyone who wants to dedicate their lives to chasing something they believe in. Even as a chef, I have Jerry’s advice ringing through my brain at all times.” —David Chang
“In How to Be an Artist, Jerry Saltz is so right-on it scares me.” —Cindy Sherman
“Jerry is an impassioned lover of all art and all artists, heartbroken when they’re not good and joyous when they are. You don’t read so much as bathe in his prose, turbulent but clear, emerging each time as hopeful as this morning.” —Peter Schjeldahl
“ A ferociously positive and exuberant primer on being an artist. . . . Divine pragmatic advice with hope and intelligence.” —Maira Kalman “An inspiring guide to making your art, putting it out into the world, and dealing with the consequences. I found a lot to steal here, and you will too.” —Austin Kleon
“What is an artist? If most things make you bored or sad, but creating things makes you feel better, that's a sign that Fate is ushering you over to a tiny, rickety chair with a sign overhead that says, Hey, you. You might be an artist. The challenge then is, how to be a better artist. And Jerry Saltz is right: The truest answer is work. Practice. Make mistakes. Tear it up. Do it again. Get better. Keep going.” —Roz Chast
“I am so blown away by [How to Be an Artist], because it takes the tools of the literal masters and offers them to whoever wants them. Any reader would be lucky to escape their self-doubt to indulge in this straightforward, funny, and delightful guide.” —Jill Soloway
“Being an artist is a lonely pursuit—twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the rest of your life. Most of the time it hurts. This book will help the pain.” —Tracey Emin
"How to Be an Artist is such a fun and juicy read for artists of all kinds. ‘Artists are cats,’ he says—such a simple but brilliant description of the artist’s relationship to the world. I read this and thought, I guess I am a real artist!" —Kim Gordon
“I was so moved by Jerry Saltz’s incredible new book, How to Be an Artist. . . . Deep and beautiful insights into how humans create.” —Amy Sedaris