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Written with the characteristic exuberance of Will Gompertz, this entertaining, inspirational and captivating volume stimulates the reader to some thoughtful questions: how do artists think? Where does their disruptive creativity come from? And how do we learn to be more creative?

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Why does it seem like it's easier for some people to come up with brilliant ideas? And how do you turn them into profit? After years of friendship with some of the world's greatest artists, BBC art expert, Will Gompertz, discovered distinctive features common to artists’ practices. Basic methods and techniques that not only allow artistic talents to flourish, but also give other people the inspiration to put their ideas into practice and help them achieve extraordinary goals. Gompertz invites all of us, in our area of activity, to try to behave like artists. Artists will certainly not save the world, but they can certainly improve it. 

 

BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz. Photo credit Adrian Lourie

 

What is creativity? What distinguishes artists from ordinary people? In his book, Will Gompertz opens with this very question: "How come some people seem to be able to come up with fresh, brilliant ideas effortlessly, while others don't? Are they just creative subjects with a different approach or is it more about behaviour and attitudes?". Gompertz’s book tries to answer this age-old question by telling in 10 lessons what we can all learn from artists of all times, from Picasso to Caravaggio, from Andy Warhol to Leonardo, from Ai Weiwei to Vermeer.

The book’s pages are amusing, absorbing but also thought-provoking, controversial and disorienting as they partly dispel the myth of the poor bohemian artist. The internationally renowned artist Van Gogh is described by Gompertz as a shrewd entrepreneur, while Monet, Manet and Cézanne are the ones who learned that failure does not always put an end to a project. In fact, how many times have their paintings been rejected in official exhibitions? In addition, reading some of Leonardo da Vinci’s letters, the reader understands that Leonardo often described himself more as an engineer and inventor than as an artist. This indicates that opting for a plan B is not always a fallback, but rather it can mean finding one's true vocation. 

 

Will Gompertz, ‘Think Like an Artist: And Lead a More Creative, Productive Life’, Book Cover.

 

Passion, curiosity, experimentation, inspiration, courage: it seems that it takes little to become an artist, or to understand the secrets of great artists’ mind. We all have imagination, inventiveness, ingenuity, creativity, which are innate talents, intrinsic into our minds. Gompertz's book is particularly valuable for exploring alternative ways to thinking. The author shows us the way of art, by telling us how artists appeal both to rational abilities and to their own emotional resources in the realization of their works. Therefore, it is necessary to explore new methods to understand the reality that surrounds us, giving legitimacy to all our capacities to elaborate on our innate artistic vein. Gompertz shows us artists' approach to understand reality, their methods, their points of view, their behaviour. He tells us how artists are able to extract an essential form from a complex reality, thus revealing their creativity. 

 

Cover image: BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz. Photo credit Adrian Lourie

Written by Maria Eleonora Piva 


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