The journey of an artist is one of constant learning and evolution, as emphasized by artist Leilani Bustamante in a previous interview. Bustamante, who was largely self-taught until college, highlights the wealth of resources available to aspiring artists today, especially through online platforms.
In a digital age where information is at our fingertips, one avenue for artistic growth that often goes overlooked is the world of audiobooks. As a hands-free and convenient medium, audiobooks provide a unique opportunity for artists to enhance their creative processes — even while doing creative work at the same time. In this article, we recommend four titles that can enrich your artistic journey.
Why start with audiobooks?
Audiobooks offer a pleasurable and accessible way to absorb literary and instructive content. According to Edison Research, the audio format allows listeners to escape eye strain, a common concern in an era dominated by excessive screen time. For artists engaged in the visual arts, this is a significant benefit.
Audiobooks enable the absorption of information while actively engaging in the creative process. In fact, features like offline mode on audiobook subscription service Everand ensures that these audiobooks can be enjoyed on the go when an internet connection isn’t possible. This is an especially useful feature for artists seeking inspiration in remote areas or residencies. Local libraries are also an excellent resource for those on a tighter budget. If you are a student of NYU, you can easily access extensive book collections from the New York Public Library using the SimplyE app. If you are a student elsewhere, then you can easily check links to “Digital Collections” or “Online Resources” on your library’s homepage to get started.
Four audiobooks to fuel artistic growth
“Raphael, Painter in Rome: A Novel” by Stephanie Storey
Stephanie Storey’s historical novel provides a captivating exploration of the life of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, the renowned Renaissance painter. By delving into Raphael’s ambitions, fears, and the intensely competitive art scene of the Renaissance, the audiobook offers a vivid narrative that immerses listeners in the artist’s journey.
Storey’s storytelling prowess breathes life into historical characters, making it an engaging and inspiring experience for artists. The novel not only provides a glimpse into the artist’s personal struggles and triumphs but also paints a broader picture of the cultural and artistic landscape of the time.
“Hot, Cold, Heavy, Light, 100 Art Writings 1988-2018” by Peter Schjeldahl
This collection of essays serves as a comprehensive guide to various artists and their works from 1988 to 2018. Unlike traditional art criticism, the essays read more like thoughtful reflections in a balance of accessibility, lyricism, and wit in a style that Peter Schjeldahl painstakingly refined for nearly six decades.
Each essay provides insights into the artist’s motivations, techniques, and the cultural context of their work. The diversity of topics, from Pablo Picasso to Cindy Sherman, Old Masters to contemporary masters, paintings to comics, and saints to charlatans, ensures that listeners can explore a broad spectrum of artistic styles and movements.
“Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency” by Olivia Laing
By examining the role of artists during times of crisis, from the AIDS crisis to the climate crisis, Olivia Laing sheds light on the power of art to respond to societal challenges. Thus, Funny Weather not only delves into the lives of specific artists but also provides a broader commentary on the social and political contexts that shape artistic expression.
Laing’s nuanced approach to storytelling and her ability to connect seemingly disparate elements make this audiobook a thought-provoking and inspiring companion for artists seeking to engage with their work on a more profound level.
“The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art” by Sebastian Smee
“The Art of Rivalry” delves into four pairs of artists, namely Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, Edgar Degas and Édouard Manet. By examining the betrayals and breakthroughs within these relationships, Smee provides a nuanced understanding of the artistic process.
However, this audiobook not only illuminates the intricacies of collaboration and competition but also highlights the profound impact these relationships had on the evolution of art. Smee’s narrative skill ensures that listeners are captivated by the drama and depth of the stories, making it a compelling resource for artists interested in the human aspects of artistic creation.
With audiobooks as a companion to your creative endeavors, knowledge and inspiration can flow seamlessly into your artistic process. For more on the fine arts, check out our other articles on Miroir Magazine.