Keep Going by Austin Kleon

Keep Going by Austin Kleon

Author:Austin Kleon
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Published: 2019-04-02T16:00:00+00:00

“Let’s slow down, not in pace or wordage but in nerves.”

—John Steinbeck

It’s impossible to pay proper attention to your life if you are hurtling along at lightning speed. When your job is to see things other people don’t, you have to slow down enough that you can actually look.

In an age obsessed with speed, slowing down requires special training. After art critic Peter Clothier discovered meditation, he realized how little he was actually looking at art: “I would often catch myself spending more time with the wall label in a museum than with the painting I was supposed to be looking at!” Inspired by the slow food and slow cooking movements, he started leading “One Hour/One Painting” sessions in galleries and museums, in which he invited participants to gaze at a single artwork for one full hour. Slow looking caught on, and now several museums across the country hold slow looking events. The ethos is summed up on the Slow Art Day website: “When people look slowly . . . they make discoveries.”

Slow looking is great, but I always need to be doing something with my hands, so drawing is my favorite tool for forcing myself to slow down and really look at life. Humans have drawn for thousands of years—it’s an ancient practice that can be done with cheap tools available to everyone. You don’t have to be an artist to draw. You just need an eye or two.

“Drawing is simply another way of seeing, which we don’t really do as adults,” says cartoonist Chris Ware. We’re all going around in a “cloud of remembrance and anxiety,” he says, and the act of drawing helps us live in the moment and concentrate on what’s really in front of us.

Because drawing is really an exercise in seeing, you can suck at drawing and still get a ton out of it. In a blog post about picking up the habit of sketching later in his life, film critic Roger Ebert wrote, “By sitting somewhere and sketching something, I was forced to really look at it.” He said his drawings were “a means of experiencing a place or a moment more deeply.”


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