HOW Design 2013 in review: Part one

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I am attending the HOW Design Conference 2013 in San Francisco, California. Below are my notes from the opening session I attended on Sunday.

HOW Design Conference 2013 6:30 pm-8:00 pm – Opening Keynote – 1. How to Steal Like an ArtistAustin Kleon, Best-Selling Author
Nothing is completely original, and all creative work builds on what came before. Based on Austin Kleon’s best-selling book, Steal Like An Artist, this inspiring opening keynote will teach you how to embrace influence, establish a creative lineage, and think of yourself as a mashup of what you let into your life.

  • Twitter: @austinkleon
  • “Paper doesn’t crash.”
  • Favorite artist as a kid: San Francisco collage artist Winston Smith (see: SF punk scene, Dead Kennedys logo, Green Day fourth album art)
  • “Idiotic persistence will get you somewhere.”
  • 1. Steal like an artist
    • Newspaper blackout poems (creative ancestry: Humument by Tom Phillips, the cut-up works of William S. Burroughs like Junky, Brion Gysin, Tristan Tzara … all the way back to Caleb Whitford, who was the neighbor of Benjamin Franklin)
    • 250-year-old history of people finding poetry in the newspaper
    • Nothing is original
    • Genealogy of ideas: you are the sum of your creative influences
    • See yourself as part of a creative lineage
  • 2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started
    • It’s in the act of making things that you figure out who you are.
    • Fake it ’til you make it.
  • 3. Write the book you want to read
    • Write what you know like.
  • 4. Use your hands
    • Don’t always work on the screen. The computer brings out the uptight perfectionist who edits before he has finished creating.
  • 5. Side projects and hobbies are important
  • 6. The secret
  • 7. Geography is no longer our master
    • You can find artistic community online.
    • But do leave home sometimes. Insight increases with distance.
  • 8. Be nice. (The world is a small town.)
  • 9. Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.)
    • “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” – Gustave Flaubert
    • “The key to eternal happiness is low overhead and no debt.” – Lynda Barry
  • 10. Creativity is subtraction
    • Especially in this age of information overload.
  • Steal from everyone you meet. Be generous and put your stuff back into the world for others to steal from.

Time to head to the HOW Design Live exhibit hall for the opening reception. One free drink, snacks and excessive quantities of SWAG.

Continue to HOW Design 2013 in review: Part two »

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