In December of 2019, Rebecca posed a question on Facebook for the artists who follow her page. She asked, “I’d love to hear about art books you recommend -- those you keep close at hand, have helped you in some way, broaden your perspective, and/or just make a good read or a visual feast. I would define “art books” as anything related to art forms, artists, art movements, creativity, or anything that has inspired your work.”
There were dozens of replies, covering a broad range of topics, which was somewhat unexpected. Rebecca had assumed that there would be a handful of repeated titles mentioned--well known, familiar, and often referenced books that could be considered a canon from which artists could draw knowledge and inspiration. But clearly, those who responded were inspired and intrigued by a wide variety of topics and genres, and are probably representative of artists in general. Rebecca decided the best way to talk about artists' love of books was to organize the titles that were mentioned into broad categories. The specific titles are also important, and we will discuss those in our next podcast. For now, however, our focus will be the roles these books play in creative life.
Many artists have enormous collections of art-related books. These collections are an investment in the growth of an artist’s creativity and career. They demonstrate curiosity and a desire for deeper understanding. Some artists joke that collecting books is a bit of an addiction. Even a small collection of relevant books can have a profound impact on your thoughts and intentions, and can help us understand our own work, as well as other’s work better.