Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 59: How To Be An Artist by Jerry Saltz

Podcasts have become my other favorite platform for content alongside books.  I can listen to a podcast on various subjects and the long form interview from 30 minutes up to 2 hours is an excellent way to go deep on a topic. The Dave Chang Show is one of my favorite podcasts and a regular listen for me every week.

Last year, Dave interviewed Art Critic Jerry Saltz about cooking as an art and it was one of the best podcasts I have ever heard.  As a writer, I got so much inspiration from that podcast that I keep it as a bookmark on my computer for repeated listenings. I found out that Jerry Saltz released a book earlier this year titled How to be an Artist. I had to read it.

Saltz provides sixty-three principles on how art is for everyone.  He declares that in the introduction and goes on to explain how it is possible in six sections of the book. The most powerful takeaways from the book came from the fourth section of the book where he writes:

“Courage can’t be measured. Each of us does things in our life and work that require real courage and sacrifice, even if others may never see them. We brave fears, doubts, and demons even when others might not notice. Every good work of art has courage in it somewhere.

Grant your own art that agency. Put your faith in it, let it stave off cynicism and clear a path for you to proceed. Showing your work in public, asking others for guidance, and looking for mentors requires tremendous faith. Courage is a desperate gamble that will place you in the arms of the creative angels.”

“To be an artist it helps to be persistent, obstinate, and determined. Persistence, determination, and obstinacy give you energy. They’ll get you through hell, taking you from wanting it to doing it to living it.”

Those paragraphs summed up what takes to be artist.  Saltz was writing this book directly to visual artists. However, as a writer I took inspiration from his words and could apply them to my own writer’s journey.

I highly recommend How To Be An Artist for all artists whether you write, draw, play an instrument, or cook.  The same basic principles translates across all artistic mediums. I have never read a book from an art critic before and without a podcast I would have never heard of Jerry Saltz. Thanks Dave for having him on your podcast!

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