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(Book Review) Art Matters

Author Neil Gaiman has written some of our all-time favorite stories, including Sandman, Good Omens, American Gods, and The Doctor's Wife.  He's got a wonderfully creative mind which has led us into worlds of darkness, fantasy, and whimsy, and he strikes a chord for us in a way that is distinctly Gaiman-esque.  We consider him a creative role model in many ways, so that's why we were excited to check out his new book: Art Matters:  Because Your Imagination Can Change the World.  (Release date:  November 20, 2018.)

The book is a collection of four previous Gaiman essays, which are paired with illustrations from Chris Riddell.  The chapters are titled: "Credo," "Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading, and Daydreaming," "Making a Chair," and "Making Good Art."  Together, they combine to make a moving argument for the power and importance of ideas and creativity.

"Credo," written following the Charlie Hebdo shootings of 2015, speaks in strong defense of free speech, even when a message seems wrong, offensive, dangerous, or worse.  "Libraries" conveys the fundamental importance of having each generation value reading fiction so that they have the tools to understand the world around them from a different perspective.  "Making a Chair" is a funny story of the time Gaiman made a, you know, chair, instead of writing, but there was still value to his actions.  Finally, there's, "Making Good Art," which was a personal favorite.

"Making Good Art" is an empowering essay about finding your creative outlet, being brave enough to trust your voice (regardless of medium), even when if the world throws all sorts of distractions and challenges at you, and enjoying yourself along the way.  Anyone who has ever faced times of doubt, rejection, or other adversity in their creative paths (in other words, everyone) will connect with Gaiman's message.

Chris Riddell's illustrations are a terrific complement to Gaiman's words.  They're a mix of dark and powerful, encouraging and optimistic, and funny and adventurous, depending on the essay.

Art Matters is a quick read, but it's the kind of book you'll repeatedly refer back to when you need a moment of inspiration.  The book is a wonderful call for boldness and light, which is especially timely in a world that often seems so dark.  It would make a terrific holiday present for anyone.

 

Neil Gaiman Art Matters November 26  2018A terrific bit of motivation.  (pic via harpercollins.com)

 

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (November 20, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062906208
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062906205

 

 

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