March Giveaway: Steal Like an Artist + Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

If you have been wanting to take your creativity to the next level, Austin Kleon can show you how.  His tumblr is a rich resource full of quotes, recommended readings, and what his process for his endeavours looks like.  His newest book, Show Your Work!, is a guide on sharing your creativity and its predecessor, Steal Like An Artist, is about stealing influence from others.  A few days ago I got to meet Kleon for his book talk in NYC and was able to get signed copies of each of these books to giveaway for one Artlux reader!  See details below!  *We can still only accommodate U.S. entries at the moment.*

ALmarchgive1 ALmarchgive2

The Details (U.S. entries only please)

There are four ways to enter using the form below.  All entries are due by March 31, 2014.  We’ll randomly announce a winner on April 1st (no joke!).  Best of luck!

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Weekend Links


Taking a “Think Week” sounds great right about now.  Learn about what it’s all about, as well as creative apps and messy desks, below:

1.  Why You Need a “Think Week” Like Bill Gates

2.  Famous Modern Artists’ Work Transformed Into Stunning Architecture

3.  Learning to Think Outside the Box: Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline

4.  App Smart: Creativity – three apps that can help with the creative thinking process

5.  Why Creative Geniuses Often Keep a Messy Desk

6.  Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Crucial Difference Between Success and Mastery

Playlist: Pathways

It’s the first day of spring in the western hemisphere and this season is known for rebirth, life, and growth. To start off this time of renewal here’s a playlist of 10 songs about life reflection, perspective, and making choices.  Happy Spring Equinox!

In Every Direction – Junip

Silver Timothy – Damien Jurado

Biggy – Warpaint

Apocalypse Dreams – Tame Impala

Pieces of What – MGMT

Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.) – Monsters of Folk

Maybe Not – Cat Power

Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes

White Oak – Kalen Nash

Paz – Zoé

Austin Kleon Draws and Talks About His Book “Show Your Work!” in NYC

Earlier this evening, Austin Kleon gave a book talk about his new book Show Your Work! at Kinokuniya Bookstore in NYC.  As he introduced the book, which is a guide on sharing your creativity, and throughout his 20 minute talk, Kleon drew on a tablet so that the images appeared on a TV screen for his audience to see.  He started off talking about perceptions of a genius, depicting one as a god-like figure (with hair blowing with the wind, a lightning bolt, and everything) and how we often don’t see the process of what it took a genius to produce work.  He then brings in a concept from Brian Eno called scenius, which involved more of a community of talent rather than one individual.

Kleon made a point of not wanting to only talk about his own book and in the spirit of sharing process and things of interest, he presented a few books that he’s really into and recommends:

Japanese Death Poems: Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death

Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions and Drawings by Yoko Ono

Shovel Ready: A Novel

The Freddie Stories

I Like It. What is it?: 30 Detachable Posters

How to Look

In the questions part of the talk someone asked about making a living out of something and Kleon asserted that  no one can be guaranteed to make a living out of writing or art or anything really.  But doing those things equates to making a life rather than making a living.  He then said that showing your work can also mean meeting your wife, your best friends, and important people in your life.  His talk and book provided great advice on sharing creativity and process, whether it be to further a career or make a meaningful life and connections.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a chance to win signed copies of two Austin Kleon books!

Hari Kondabolu’s Brilliant Album Release Show at Union Hall

Photo via Kill Rock Stars


On Thursday, Queens-bred and Brooklyn-based comedian Hari Kondabolu performed his first of two sold nights at Union Hall in celebration of his debut album, Waiting For 2042, released last week on Kill Rock Stars. The album’s title references the year in which white people are expected to represent less than 50% of the United States’ population, a concept Kondabolu mines for pure gold.

A former immigrants rights organizer and Human Rights graduate of the London School of Economics, Kondabolu brings forth material that is every bit as informed and forward thinking as it is hilarious. People first started taking note of his talent in 2007 after appearances on Jimmy Kimmel and the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and he has since performed on Conan and various Comedy Central standup shows, including a half-hour special of his own. Kondabolu also wrote for FX’s Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, co-hosts the Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Podcast alongside his brother Ashok (aka Dapwell of the now defunct Das Racist), and occasionally guest hosts Wyatt Cenac’s weekly Night Train at Littlefield (he hosts tonight with Ashok).

Kevin Avery acted as host at Union Hall and kicked things off with a 20 minute set emblematic of the evening’s intelligent racial humor. Surprise guests Janeane Garofalo and Ted Leo also performed brief sets at the intimate Park Slope venue, with standing room only audience members jostling for views at the rear bar. Avery and Kondabolu – outliers in a scene where comedians of color all too often whore out their cultures for cheap laughs – respect the audience’s intelligence by not dumbing down their sociological material. A Kondabolu line from Waiting For 2042 sums it up succinctly: “People always say I’m obsessed with race… You can’t be obsessed with race in America. There’s racist stuff that happens all the time. Saying that I’m obsessed with race and racism in America is like saying I’m obsessed with swimming when I’m drowning.”

Though he’s been on the indie comedy radar for nearly a decade and developed an impressive resume, 2014 could be the year Kondabolu blows up. His wit is razor sharp, his command of the audience is remarkable, and there are few comics in America with material half as funny or intelligent.

Weekend Links


This week we have links on making things to meet people, a manifesto, a way to break creative blocks, and more:

1.  To Resolve Project – resolutions as iPhone backgrounds.  You can even submit your own design/resolution.

2.  Want to Meet More People?  Make Things. – “People remember tangibles, not ideas.”

3.  First Things First Manifesto – a renewal of Ken Garland‘s essential manifesto for designers, developers and technologists, working for the betterment of humankind.

4.  Island Hill House Artist Residency – 2 to 4 week emerging artist residencies in a cabin in East Jordan, Michigan.

5.  Oblique Strategies – Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s cards made to help artists break creative blocks in the form of an app.

6.  How to Manage the Chaos of Creativity – and promote creativty in a company culture.

Amtrak Offers Residency for Writers with Some Fine Print

Image via Amtrak

After offering two writers a test-run for a residency that was initiated on twitter, Amtrak has opened up its residency for writers program to the public, which includes round-trip train fare on an Amtrak long-distance route and a private sleeper car with a desk, bed, and window.  The application can be found on their blog an is accepted on a rolling basis for residencies from  March 17, 2014 to March 31, 2015.  The comments section in the application form have sparked concern over the Grant of Rights for Amtrak’s official terms, which state:

In submitting an Application, Applicant hereby grants Sponsor the absolute, worldwide, and irrevocable right to use, modify, publish, publicly display, distribute, and copy Applicant’s Application, in whole or in part, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and marketing, and to sublicense such rights to any third parties.

This section of the terms is regarding application materials, which include writing samples.  No clarification has been made regarding these terms despite much confusion and attempts to contact Amtrak by current and prospective applicants.  If you have a writing sample to spare, this could be an opportunity to work in a “fruitful work environment,” as writer and Amtrak residency test-runner Jessica Gross puts it.  Just make sure you also have a Twitter account – it’s required.

Weekend Links


Here are some links about ads replaced with art, the creative mindset, and focusing on process:

1. Paris Street Artist Replaces Advertisements With Classic Works of Art

2. Advice from Artists on How to Overcome Creative Block, Handle Criticism, and Nurture Your Sense of Self-Worth

3. 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

4. The secret to creativity, intelligence and scientific thinking: Being able to make connections

5.  The Playfulness of Invention

6. Think Process, Not Product


10 Great Directorial Debuts You Can Watch on Netflix

Take a look at where some of Hollywood’s best and brightest got started. (All of the following ten titles are available for stream on Netflix instant.)


1. Hard Eight (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Paul Thomas Anderson took the independent movie scene by storm with his successful breakout film Boogie Nights in 1997, but it was his first movie Hard Eight (alternatively titled Sydney) that launched his career one year earlier. Expanded from the 1993 short Cigarettes & Coffee, which earned an invitation by Sundance to make a first feature, Hard Eight contains all of the early stirrings of the prolific and talented PTA making movies today. The premise is simple: an old man meets a young man outside a diner. The two hit it off and proceed to share casual conversation over cigarettes and coffee. The young man needs money and the old man can teach him how to get it. A quasi father-son friendship develops, repeatedly tested by a series of rather unfortunate events, but this movie isn’t one driven by plot. Instead, Paul Thomas Anderson flashes his dexterity at constructing a subtle yet nuanced story with convincing characters and transports his audience to life’s classroom to learn a light lesson about human nature, all the while delivering a thriller with brilliant style. It’s not difficult to see why the young director was granted the privilege of final cut with only his third feature Magnolia.  (Edit: this title is no longer available on Netflix Instant)

2. Following (Christopher Nolan)

Christopher Nolan is the Hollywood Renaissance man responsible for acquainting art house filmmaking with blockbuster moviemaking. It is equal parts enlightening and engaging to experience the modest 70-minute movie that precedes box office hits such as The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception. Nolan shot his 1998 debut Following on a budget of just $6,000, assuming screenwriting, directing, editing, and photographic responsibilities, and allotting the majority of his money to 16mm film stock. A proven master of mass appeal, Nolan exercises obvious early abilities here by crafting an accessible movie with an immediately engaging storyline. Following traces the steps of a man named Cobb, a young thrill seeker who thrives off of infiltrating the lives of strangers. He breaks into homes and burglarizes at random, defending his criminal activity with the assurance that his actions teach his victims to reevaluate their lives. Nolan’s established auteurism is already evident in his first feature, with emphases on nonlinear structure, unreliable narration, cinematic realism, and distinct visual style.

3. Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino)

Widely renowned for his cult classic Pulp Fiction, which catapulted independent cinema into its golden age in 1994, Quentin Tarantino established himself as one of film’s frontrunners two years earlier with his first feature Reservoir Dogs. Both movies explicate Tarantino’s trademark style: nonlinearity, glorification of violence, heavy pop culture reference, genre mixing, and obvious homage to neo-noir aesthetics. Reservoir Dogs is a pure, unabashed crime film that depicts the events before and after, though not actually during, a diamond heist. The movie opens with group of eight men, most of whom mask their identities with aliases, seated around a diner table discussing organized crime over breakfast. The rest plays out as an erratic conversation intermittently interrupted by stressful confrontations and graphic assault. Though Reservoir Dogs was mostly met with immediate praise and later gained regard as one of the greatest independent films ever made, Tarantino knows his abrasive and provocative style isn’t for everyone. In a 1992 interview for The Seattle Times he explained, “for some people the violence, or the rudeness of the language, is a mountain they can’t climb. That’s OK. It’s not their cup of tea. But I am affecting them.”

[Read more…]

The Real Spike Lee Story


Photo via Agência Brasil, Wikimedia Commons

Contrary to what was covered in the media, Spike Lee didn’t just address the issue of Brooklyn gentrification last Tuesday at the Pratt Institute in Clinton Hill. The famed film director critiqued Black youth culture’s relation to education, discussed the politics of accurate depictions of people of color in film and talked about his come-up in the film industry. However, instead of contextualizing the discussion, the media sensationalized Lee’s remarks. Then, three days after his frank observations about racial, economic, and cultural transformations of Brooklyn neighborhoods were published on all major news networks and blogs, from CNN to Gawker, Lee’s father’s home in Fort Greene was vandalized. “Do the Right Thing” and the anarchy symbol was spraypainted on the street level of their brownstone.

“Why does it take an influx of White New Yorkers in the South Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better?,” was the quote that lassoed the crux of his passionate remarks on gentrification. The question seemed relevant as Lee was addressing an audience at one of the premiere art and design schools in the nation that has facilitated much of the gentrification in Clinton Hill and its surrounding areas. Most news outlets described it as an emotional “rant,” another outburst from an angry minority and left it at that. But those remarks were couched in a hotbed of information about Lee’s background growing up in Brooklyn when there weren’t cake-pop stores or fancy vegan, gluten-free bakeries. In the Fort Greene of Spike Lee’s adolescence, Myrtle Avenue was called Murder Avenue. [Read more…]