Creativity is Subtraction

I became a fan of Austin Kleon’s work a few months ago after reading his ideas on stealing like an artist. An artist and writer living in Austin, TX, Austin wrote a book called Newspaper Blackout, based on his Newspaper Blackout poetry. A somewhat self-explanatory concept, here are a few favorite examples of mine:

(Makes me think about brushing my teeth and how few men I’ve actually shared that experience with.)

I love the lesson in this subtraction poem, especially for those looking for their creative side. Creativity doesn’t have to start with a blank page or canvas. Sometimes the sifting, editing, and deleting what already exists is how you find and create something new.

These poems make me want to blackout old magazines, junk mail, credit card offers…if I still worked in an office, I’d take markers to all those memos, agendas, reports, policies…

Want to give Newspaper Blackout poetry a try? Visit Austin’s Newspaper Blackout blog for tips and for submitting your own poems to the site.

In the meantime, I’ll be anxiously awaiting Austin’s next book, based on his “How to Steal Like An Artist” post. His post and Amy of Pikaland’s post on “creativity, competition, and copycats” pretty much sum up how I feel about the whole copying/stealing/original ideas topic.


P.S. If you create a Newspaper Blackout poem, I’d love to see it! I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

1 Comment

  1. Those are really sweet!
    And given that I have a bitter ex-newspaper-reporter’s heart, that’s saying something. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Comment