Book 2 of 2019: Art Matters by Neil Gaiman

Image result for neil gaiman art matters

There are three excellent reason to pick up Art Matters.

First the message: Art matters. Ideas have the ability to change worlds, both the surrounding society and the ones that exist in each individual human. Art allows these ideas to flow freely and spread from one person to another, without the two ever having to actually meet. Gaiman writes with crisp simplicity of the journey of creativity, personal and global.

Second, Art Matters is small enough to fit into the back pocket of standard American jeans. This may seem like a frivolous concern but it’s absolutely essential when picking an emergency book. Art Matters offers the best practical advice for literally any circumstance, lifted from Gaiman’s 2012 Make Good Art commencement address. What to do when your husband runs off with a politician, when your leg is crushed and eaten by a mutated boa constrictor, when the IRS is on your trail, when your cat explodes, or someone on the internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid.

SPOILERS: You make good art.

It’s a simple message but it’s worth remembering, especially when you’re suffering from doubt and hunger and considering hanging up the thing that gives you the most joy or meaning.

Third: Chris Riddell’s illustrations are charming. They feel personal, like drawings you made with your friends when you were supposed to be learning Spanish or Algebra, passed around for your own benefit and amusement.

There are more reasons but it would save a lot of time if you just picked up Art Matters for yourself. It’s only 100 pages, it won’t wear you out.

4 thoughts on “Book 2 of 2019: Art Matters by Neil Gaiman

    1. No, definitely not.

      To understand, my art these days consists mainly of sex jokes and puns. On my more literary days I might organize my rants into essays or put a sex pun in a story about witches and/or aliens. A lot of people quibble about whether it counts as art and a lot more people will say, to my face, that it doesn’t matter.

      Fortunately they aren’t my target demographic.

      Art doesn’t uniformly the same matter to all people but if you have an idea that demands to exist in the world, then it matters to you. Creativity begats creativity so even if an idea doesn’t come out the way you need, it’s another layer of sediment building up to where you want to be. You can’t get that foundation by worrying if what you do counts as art, or if this participant piece matters.

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