Real Artists Don’t Starve | Jeff Goins

Summary of: Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age
By: Jeff Goins

Introduction

Get ready to challenge everything you thought you knew about being an ‘artist’ as we delve into Jeff Goins’ insightful book, ‘Real Artists Don’t Starve’. Debunking the long-standing myth of the ‘starving artist’, Goins provides us with timeless strategies for succeeding in the New Creative Age. In this summary, you will learn about the importance of hard work and persistence, how to live a stubborn life, the benefits of apprenticeship, the value of working in supportive communities, and the essence of finding a patron. Goins also emphasizes the significance of audience engagement, refusing to work for free, and safeguarding ownership of one’s artistic work. Welcome to a new era, the New Renaissance, where artists are not limited to one craft but can embrace and excel in various fields.

Debunking Misconceptions About Artists

The book debunks common myths about being a true artist. It emphasizes that natural talent is not a requisite and that one need not create something wholly original to succeed. Taking inspiration and combining it with dedication can lead to a successful career in art.

The book “Debunking Misconceptions About Artists” challenges the commonly accepted notions about what it takes to become a successful artist. Contrary to popular belief, natural talent is not a prerequisite to become an artist; what is essential is dedication, persistence, and hard work. The author cites the example of John Grisham, who started devoting just 30 to 60 minutes each day to writing one page of his first novel while working as a lawyer. Despite receiving numerous rejections from publishers, Grisham persisted and eventually found success as a writer.

The book also emphasizes that artists need not create completely original work to succeed. In fact, taking inspiration and combining it with their own creativity can be an effective approach. The author cites the popular quote by Picasso: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” However, it is essential to maintain a code of conduct among artists while taking inspiration from others’ works and pushing them further.

The Muppets is a great example of how taking inspiration from other artists can lead to creating something new and exciting. Jim Henson combined the puppetry of Burr Tillstrom and the humor of other artists like Ernie Kovacs to create something unique, original, and beloved by millions.

In summary, the book debunks popular myths about what it takes to become a successful artist. It emphasizes that with dedication, persistence, and the ability to take inspiration from others, anyone can become an artist and find success in this field.

Persistence and Humbleness in Art

Being an artist is not easy, and rejection is inevitable. However, one can overcome these hurdles by staying persistent and true to oneself. Creative types are often misfits and rule breakers who struggle to fit in at school. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story is an example of persistence paying off, even when faced with rejection and criticism. Humbleness is a crucial quality for an aspiring artist to seek an apprenticeship under a true master. The key is to expand one’s skill set by being willing to learn and remain open to new ideas.

The Importance of Collaboration for Artists

The myth of the starving artist working alone in solitude is romantic but not accurate. The truth is that artists benefit from being part of a vibrant community that nurtures creativity. Collaborating with other talented individuals across different fields can help artists create powerful works of art that they might not have come up with alone. Michelangelo was a great example of an artist who worked with others, while Elvis Presley was catapulted to stardom with the help of a patron. To thrive, artists must seek out patrons, whether they are critics, tastemakers, or anyone who can help move their career forward.

Building an Audience as an Artist

Building an audience is a vital step to becoming a thriving artist in today’s world. Fortunately, there are various ways to get noticed without resorting to marketing and advertising methods that feel uncomfortable. One of the most common methods is to maintain a blog that provides an insight into your creative process. Stephanie Halligan’s experience illustrates how an artist can successfully develop a following. After college debt forced her to abandon her animation dreams, she started Empowered Dollar, a blog containing effective financial tips. As the blog grew, she slowly added her cartoons to its content, which gained popularity and enabled her to connect with her audience on a personal level. She started receiving offers from banks and universities who admired her motivational cartoons, and she gradually established her career as an artist.

The internet grants artists numerous opportunities to interact with their audience directly. For example, musicians and artists can share their works-in-progress via various mediums such as the website Bandcamp. This builds a powerful connection with their audience while simultaneously honing their skills as an artist. In conclusion, the key to becoming a successful artist is to practice in public, because this is how an artist can not only improve but also establish relationships with their audience.

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