STEAMed Magazine January 2016 - Page 23

Unassuming. Confident. Protective. Expansive. Mysterious. Simple. All of these words could be used to describe creativity. They could also be used to describe one of the most interesting artists and authors I’ve had the pleasure to interview, Austin Kleon. Austin is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the breakout hit Steal Like an Artist and the follow up, Show Your Work. Currently, he’s just released a new journal in the series to help others prompt their own creative thinking and begin busting through the blocks that sometimes cause us humans to stop creating altogether. In our interview, I wanted to get Austin’s thoughts on what role he sees creativity playing in the future, as well as how we can help to foster the creative process in schools without strangling it altogether. STEAMed Magazine: How would you describe “what you do for a living”? Austin Kleon: I call myself “a writer who draws” — I make art with words and book with pictures. 
 SM: What does your artistic process look like? AK: I like to think of it as a process of input and output — I read a lot of books, magazines, and websites, take lots of walks, go on trips, and then I scribble in notebooks, tweet, blog, and write books. Rinse and repeat. 
 The original brainstorm for Show Your Work. Photo credit: 
 SM: How can teachers help to foster a creative mindset in their classrooms?
 AK: I think being creative is mostly about giving yourself or your students time, space, and materials. So, giving them a space to work in, materials to work with, and a set amount of time, and then letting them go.
 SM: What role do you think failure plays in schools and in the arts ? Creativity is all about process, not product, and I think our educational system, on the whole, is tilting dangerously towards product — students get rewarded for “success,” or getting the right answer, and then they do everything they can to avoid “failure,” or getting the wrong answer. A lot of the creative process, of course, is getting things wrong until you arrive at something that isn't necessarily “right” answer, but an answer that works.   
 STEAMed Magazine 23 January 2016 Edition