Looking for some artsy book or podcast recommendations that will inspire you? Here's what I've read and listened to over the past couple of years that have really helped me out of some paralyzing artist block! Please, please add any and all recommendations in the comments! Feedback and contributions warmly welcomed and encouraged.
1. Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age by Jeff Goins. Inspiring, right, helpful, motivating, this book is a must for any creative to read. My dad gave me this for Christmas and it's been such a great reference.
2. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
The quickest read that will light the fire under your butt to just get to work. Discusses the very liberating idea that nothing is truly original, everything is borrowed, but describes how to properly take inspiration from external sources.
3. Frida by Hayden Herrera
Here I go...She is the queen of all queens. If I could meet anyone alive or dead it would be this woman. Honestly when I think about her I get emotional, often stuck in bed due to some horrifying injuries and miscarriages, she overcame these traumas and a pretty rough, intense marriage and remained a hardworking, authentic, fierce, creative genius, and she did it all in costumes with a tequila bottle in hand. Her life reads like magical realism. Before you buy into the Frida brand, that is so trendy and widely accessible, understand her as the colorful, complex force of person she was. Frida, is my patron saint, whenever I'm stuck I ask myself WWFD? Sorry if this review is a little aggressive I just love her so much!
4. Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (in That Order) by Bridget Quinn There are an insane amount of female artists who don't get the recognition that they definitely deserve and this book includes some greats. One of my favorite birthday gifts, it's made me feel pretty ashamed of myself from an art history knowledge standpoint.
5. Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
I listened to this as an audiobook and Diane Keaton narrates and her writing is just so inspired. It's her famous collection of journalism which defines the state of America, specifically California, during the sixties revolution. The essays feature things like drug abuse, bombings, mass murders ,kidnappings, and John Wayne, and describes what happens when the "center cannot hold". I love how she describes people, her words really helped shape some of my artwork. Also her documentary on Netflix is dope. Such a tiny, inspiring lady.
6. Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
Don't really need to say much about this. He's the master and it's important to learn the basics from the very best. I originally checked this out from the library (book is pricey) but had to quit after a "who am I kidding?" moment similar to the one I had while attempting to read Anna Karenina "for fun", and listen to the rest as an audiobook.... it's really long because he is arguably one of the most mysterious and fascinating people in history, but it's nice to paint along to. British narrator is a plus.
7. Favorite Podcast: Art History Babes
Listen to 4 Art History Masters drunkenly discuss everyone from Basquiat to the very problematic Gaugin and brush up on your knowledge of major movements in art history from Abstract Expressionism to the Renaissance, I listen to this as I paint and feel like I have friends. It helps with the loneliness that comes from solitary painting (that sounds sad, but true) and also helps you look at artists from a feminist, socially correct, and educated approach that is just so right (like why we should just never use the word "primitive" when describing really any artwork or say crap like "my 5 year old could've made that" when describing abstract art). Spoiler Alert: your views on some of your favorite artists will drastically change.
8. The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art
JUST started reading thru this, thanks to my very thoughtful n supportive boyfriend who got me this for my b-day, so here is the Google review: Ever wonder about the abundance of naked male statues in the Classical section of your favorite museum? Did you know medieval convents were hotbeds of female artistic expression? And how did those "bad boy" artists of the twentieth century make it even harder for a girl to get a break? Thanks to the Guerrilla Girls, those masked feminists whose mission it is to break the white male stronghold over the art world, art history -- as we know it -- is history. Taking you back through the ages, the Guerrilla Girls demonstrate how males (particularly white males) have dominated the art scene, and discouraged, belittled, or obscured women's involvement. Their skeptical and hilarious interpretations of "popular" theory are augmented by the newest research and the expertise of prominent feminist art historians. "Believe-it-or-not" quotations from some of the "experts" are sprinkled throughout, as are the Guerrilla Girls' signature masterpieces: reproductions of famous art works, slightly "altered" for historic accuracy and vindication. This colorful reinterpretation of classic and modern art, as outrageous as it is visually arresting, is a much-needed corrective to traditional art history, and an unabashed celebration of female artists.
This 1996 film is a classic and David Bowie plays Andy Warhol, that's really all I need to say. Also, if you haven't seen The Radiant Child, it's on YouTube and also a good one. He makes me so sad, but I love him.
10. Genius: Picasso
This show is on National Geographic and all episodes are free online or on demand. While at times, cheesy, I love Antonio Banderas, and his depiction of Picasso is entertaining. There is a lot I didn't know about Picasso... I still love his work and work ethic after seeing this show, I still think of him as the prolific, energetic, crazy passionate artist that I've always loved, but really didn't know how awfully he treated his leading ladies...so there's that. Not to say that this show is perfectly historically accurate, but it did make me question some things.
11. Anthony Bourdaine: Parts Unknown
All episodes on Netflix. Whenever I feel trapped and stir crazy, I put this on in the background of my "studio" and pretend I'm on these travel adventures with one of my idols. He was the best interviewer and definitely worth watching if you haven't seen it!
12. The Barefoot Contessa
Read it, watch it, live it, love it. Ina is a hero to all. She wears pretentious so well, and Jeffry's commentary never gets old. "How easy is that?!"