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Austin Kleon: “Show Your Work” (Review)

Austin Kleon: “Show Your Work” (Review)

A while ago, I was at the American Book Center in Amsterdam with a few artist friends. They recommended Austin Kleon‘s books Show Your Work and Steal Like an Artist to me – I bought them both and am glad I did. Kleon’s writing is witty, to the point, smart without becoming preachy and provides some solid advice for artists and creators of any kind. 

Sharing = interaction

I finished Show Your Work first (I read bits and pieces of both books over a longer period of time) so that is the one I’d like to discuss – it’s all about sharing what you have to offer with the world, which may not only advance your career on multiple levels, but also helps you cultivate amazing friendships with like-minded people.

Kleon basically discusses ten ways to share your creativity with the world:

Austin Kleon Show Your Work 10 Ways to share

Of course, I won’t give you spoilers about what all these mean exactly – that would kind of ruin the fun of reading the book! But I will share what I enjoyed about it.

I really liked how Kleon constantly focused on human interaction and reciprocity. Sharing is not about shouting your ‘message’ into the void and expecting some form of validation to be thrown back at you – it’s about interacting with others, giving and receiving art, knowledge and feedback and paying it forward when success finds your way. It’s about finding compelling ways to tell your story and make the act of sharing fun for both yourself and your audience.

This perspective on sharing emphasizes that those you share your work with are not a faceless mob, but individuals who might well make the process of creating / sharing art and, well, being alive all the richer. To many of us this may seem obvious (“Yeah, I get it, don’t be a self-promoting douche“), but even if that is the case, Kleon’s perspective on the matter is both entertaining and insightful to read.

More sharing! 😀

I have believed in the Power of Sharing for quite a while now (that is what you get when working in content marketing) and I’ve been doing it on my Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter for a bunch of years now. Even so, Kleon’s book reminds me that there are plenty of ways of sharing my work that I have not embraced yet and that there are things I could take fuller advantage of.

Here are some of the ways of sharing discussed in the book I’d like to do more of or get started with:

  • Actively engaging in conversations in online art communities (any good ones, artsy readers? :));
  • Making process shots and videos of the things I make;
  • Posting something small every day (I think I post on social media 1-2 times a week, on average).

I am going to try and link some of these ideas to some specific goals for the months to come 🙂

Share how you show your work?

Creators (visual artists or otherwise!) – how do you show your work? What media do you use and which do you prefer? Are there any online art communities you would recommend?

Images courtesy of Austin Kleon’s Blogger Kit on Pinterest.

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