How to Be an Artist

Jerry Saltz (Author)


Irreverent and inspiring advice for awakening your creative potential, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic.

Jerry Saltz is one of the most influential-and popular-culture writers working today. As the witty and passionate chief art critic for New York magazine, he is approached constantly by artists, both amateur and professional, asking him for advice: How do I get started? How do I get better? Is what I'm doing even art at all? They want to know, in short, how to be an artist.

Now, expanding on his viral cover story for New York magazine-and drawing on his decades of immersion in the art world-Jerry Saltz has the answers. How to Be An Artist is an indispensable book of practical inspiration for creative people of all kinds. Brimming with dozens of brand new rules, prompts, exercises, and tips (Tell Your Own Story and You Will Be Interesting; Imagination Is More Important than Knowledge; Make Art for Now, Not for the Future; and Finish the Damn Thing ) designed to break through creative blocks, ignite motivation, conquer bad habits, and help artists of all kinds-painters, photographers, writers, performers-realize their dreams.

This beautiful and useful small-format hardcover-teeming with full-color art, sidebars, and contributions from art-world legends and everyday creatives-How to Be an Artist is a book for anyone who's ever yearned to make the arts a part of their life.

Product Details

Price: $22.00  $19.80
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Published Date: March 17, 2020
Pages: 144
Dimensions: 5.3 X 0.6 X 7.6 inches | 0.6 pounds
ISBN: 9780593086469
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Jerry Saltz is the senior art critic at New York magazine and its entertainment site Vulture. The winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, he has lectured at MoMA, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, and many other museums, and at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and elsewhere. Saltz lives in New York.


"Inspiration leaps off the pages from Jerry Saltz's new book on creativity. One wants to say he's revealing secrets, but really, he's revealing intuition--intuition formed from decades of thinking about art. This book is for the artist or non-artist, for the person who gets plain English, for the person who understands that practical talk can coax out the mystical messages that lie underneath."
--Steve Martin

"How to Be an Artist has relevance way beyond the art world. With his typical clarity and compassion, Jerry Saltz outlines a path for anyone who wants to dedicate their lives to chasing something they believe in. Even as a chef, I have Jerry's advice ringing through my brain at all times."
--David Chang

"In How to Be an Artist, Jerry Saltz is so right-on it scares me."
--Cindy Sherman

"Jerry is an impassioned lover of all art and all artists, heartbroken when they're not good and joyous when they are. You don't read so much as bathe in his prose, turbulent but clear, emerging each time as hopeful as this morning."
--Peter Schjeldahl

" A ferociously positive and exuberant primer on being an artist. . . . Divine pragmatic advice with hope and intelligence."
--Maira Kalman
"An inspiring guide to making your art, putting it out into the world, and dealing with the consequences. I found a lot to steal here, and you will too."
--Austin Kleon

"What is an artist? If most things make you bored or sad, but creating things makes you feel better, that's a sign that Fate is ushering you over to a tiny, rickety chair with a sign overhead that says, Hey, you. You might be an artist. The challenge then is, how to be a better artist. And Jerry Saltz is right: The truest answer is work. Practice. Make mistakes. Tear it up. Do it again. Get better. Keep going."
--Roz Chast

"I am so blown away by [How to Be an Artist], because it takes the tools of the literal masters and offers them to whoever wants them. Any reader would be lucky to escape their self-doubt to indulge in this straightforward, funny, and delightful guide."
--Jill Soloway

"Being an artist is a lonely pursuit--twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the rest of your life. Most of the time it hurts. This book will help the pain."
--Tracey Emin

"How to Be an Artist is such a fun and juicy read for artists of all kinds. 'Artists are cats, ' he says--such a simple but brilliant description of the artist's relationship to the world. I read this and thought, I guess I am a real artist!"
--Kim Gordon

"I was so moved by Jerry Saltz's incredible new book, How to Be an Artist. . . . Deep and beautiful insights into how humans create."
--Amy Sedaris