June in books

Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling your Creative Career, Elizabeth Hyde Stevens (audio)
Henson’s approach to money is probably what appealed to me most about this book. According to Stevens, the accumulation of money and wealth was never Henson’s goal — his goal was to just make art. Henson saw the accumulation of money as merely that thing that fueled his ability to continue to make his art. With that as her central theme, Stevens tells ten lessons about Henson’s approach to running a business that is based on art and creativity. This is definitely more of a business book than it is one about art/creativity, making it not quite what I expected, but there’s still plenty here to enjoy and learn from.

Living and Sustaining a Creative Life, Sharon Louden (editor)
The latest contender for my favourite read this year, this is a wonderful collection of essays by 40 working artists. The essays deal with all the joys, pains, complexities, and trivialities of being a working artist, covering everything from how to actually get the work done, the creative process, creative blocks, and the usual self-doubt that goes with being an artist, to juggling relationships and family, money, gallery representation, and being a part of a creative community. There’s a lot to celebrate in these essays, but also a lot of plain talk around things like money and how to earn enough of it to live on and sustain a career (I didn’t count but it certainly seemed like most of the 40 artists featured spoke of having second jobs to supplement the income they earned from their fine art practice). These 40 essays are filled with passion for creativity and artistic practices, with a generous dose of reality tossed in. It’s a really excellent read.

A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf
It occurred to me recently that with all the books I’ve been reading on creativity, I should reread this one because it’s been about twenty years since I last read it and it’s such a classic. This book is a brilliant exposition on what it takes to be a female writer, written with tongue often very firmly planted in cheek. Let this serve as a reminder to myself to not wait another twenty years to read it again.

The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, Sarah Lewis (audio)
The Rise is a collection of stories and anecdotes held together quite loosely by the thematic thread of creativity. Lewis has a fairly readable prose style that I enjoyed, but it almost seemed like she was trying to tackle too much with this book.

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