Book Review: How Artists Work


I don't know how Overdrive the eBook service that my library uses knows that I'm an artist, but it came up with an interesting recommendation for me. "Daily Rituals: How Artists Work" by Mason Currey came up as a suggestion for me. It seemed like someone was reading my mind for I had been thinking more and more about how to schedule my art around my life.


This book through research details the work habits of 161 artists which included some living contemporary artists. Before I read the book, I thought that there must be a consensus on what artists do that I could gleam infinite knowledge from. That assumption was far from the truth. Just how each one of us is unique so are the artists detailed in this book.


One of the things that surprised me was the number of artists in this book that used a combination of benzodiazepines and amphetamines to get through their days. It is not a big secret that many artists abused alcohol, but there was a large amount of artists written in this book that abused drugs to make it creatively through their days.


I was disappointed that a majority of the artists in the book were writers and not visual artists. The visual artists that were written about for the most part had routines that were not written as in depth as some of the writer entries. I also thought that there was a lack of women represented in the book, however the women artists that were included had fascinating entries. I was pleased that one of my favorite artists Georgia O'Keefe was included. It was noted how she took a walk every morning near her New Mexico home and killed rattlesnakes with a walking stick she carried. She kept the rattles in a box to show visitors. This story fits my image of the kind of woman that O'Keefe was!


From looking at Goodreads, I learned that the author has written another book about women artists. I definitely am going to put that in my "to read" pile.


Thanks for reading!



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