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You Are An Artist will go on sale April 14, 2020! Preorder a copy here: http://bit.ly/2kplj2h. This book brings together a selection of assignments gathered during the course of making this series and a number of new ones, expanding on the ideas presented in our videos and creating a valuable resource for all, regardless of whether you call yourself an artist. #youareanartist #theartassignment #art

Thanks to our Grandmasters of the Arts Vincent Apa, Josh Thomas, and Ernest Wolfe, and all of our patrons, especially Rich Clarey, Iain Eudaily, Frame Monster Design Laboratory, Patrick Hanna, Nichole Hicks, Andrew Huynh, Eve Leonard, David Moore, Gabriel Civita Ramirez, Constance Urist, Nicholas Xu, and Roberta Zaphiriou. To support our channel, visit: http://www.patreon.com/artassignment.

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So… you are an artist.

You might disagree with that statement, but hold on let me tell you what I mean. You are an artist as long as you’re making things that you or anyone else might consider art.

And I draw my art boundaries really widely. For me, art doesn’t need to be one of the major disciplines like painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, ceramics, or the like. Those things are certainly art, and I like them, too.

But for me, art is also a bicycle wheel, plants growing on a form, fluorescent light, and sound. It’s condensation, purple smoke, gunpowder, a giant crater, an arrangement of hanging panels, and a bench that moves when you sit on it. Art can be a crack in the floor, spray paint on a train, a billboard, pantyhose filled with sand, a multi-story slide through an art museum.

It can be a sunburn, a video game, a cookie, a meat suit. I could do this all day. There are so many working and successful artists who make things and experiences that fall outside of the traditional categories of art.

And we’ve featured a lot of them on this show! Over the course of three years, we gathered sixty assignments from artists all over who demonstrate beautifully and inspiringly how there are lots of ways to be an artist. And I’m thrilled to announce that many of those original assignments and a bunch of new ones are going to be a book!

It’s coming out next spring, and will be published by Penguin Books, and it has this amazing cover, and it’s available for pre-order at the handy link below. You do not have to consider yourself an artist for this book to be relevant for you. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to know how to draw well, or even at all, to be an artist or to follow the prompts offered in this book.

There are so many non-drawing related activities that are ways of making art. Like when Fritz Haeg showed us how he’s taken strips of old t-shirts and bedsheets and hand knotted them into rugs. We also saw how he brought those rugs into the notoriously cold, hard spaces of museums and invited others to contribute to them, as part of his wider practice exploring what it means to make oneself at home.

And Michelle Grabner shared with us how the paper weaving activity her son brought home from kindergarten one day became a multi-decade art-making endeavor, allowing her to explore pattern, repetition and variation, and how small changes can affect vast systems of order. The Guerrilla Girls showed us how complaining can be art. And not just any kind of complaining, but strategic, original, well-thought-out, and sustained complaining.

When we visited JooYoung Choi, she showed us how she conceptualizes and constructs the characters who populate the paracosm she calls the Cosmic Womb. Her assignment encourages you to make your own imaginary friend in whatever medium you choose, and build out their world, and maybe even introduce them to others. Some of the artists featured in the book are very good at drawing.

Like Toyin Ojih Odutola, who makes astoundingly elaborate and detailed drawings at large scale, portraits of herself, others, and recently two fictional Nigerian families whose personas and worlds she’s brought to colorful life. And Molly Springfield, who gave us a window into her meticulous and laborious process making graphite drawings of photocopied text. And also showed us how you might make art using only a photocopier and a little persistence.

The first artist I ever met even contributed an assignment to the book! Lonnie Holley is an accomplished visual artist and experimental musician originally from. Birmingham, Alabama, who did a workshop with my class when I was a kid.

These artists are not asking you to make exactly the kind of art they’re making, but to respond to an assignment that reveals something about their way of working. If you have mad drawing skills and want to use them, you will indeed be able to in your responses. But for most of these, all you need is your attention, maybe possibly your wits, and the wherewithal to source materials you already have or can easily find.

Because to be an artist, all you have to do is start making things. You don’t need to be touched by the divine gods of inspiration. Nor do you need to be the type of person that other people or even you consider creative or “artsy,” one of my least favorite words in the English language.

But what you might need is a prompt, and that’s where these assignments come in. The thing I really want to pass along to you with this book is not particular skills, but ways of thinking. By following the leads of these artists, you’ll do something you wouldn’t normally do, and which might open up new ways of thinking and making for you.

It might be frustrating at times and what you make might look ugly, but come on people, by following one of these assignments you’ll find your band. I’m being serious when I say that some of the assignments in this book have changed the way I look at the world. Like Odili Donald Odita’s deceptively simple assignment of finding and comparing and observing objects that could all be considered “white.” And Lauren Zoll’s assignment asking us to look for images in screens that are “off.” The book expands on our original assignment videos and adds many new assignments from artists including Wendy Red Star, Genesis Belanger, Dread Scott, Julie Green, Gillian.

Wearing, and more. In the book, you’ll learn about why these artists are offering each assignment, how it relates to their work, and what works from art history might inform the activity. It also includes some of the outstanding responses that have been made to some of the assignments, as well as a bunch of new tips and cheats and variations.

So whether you’ve seen every single assignment video or have no idea what I’m talking about, there is something in this book for you. You may not be making art right now. But you could be.

The artists in this book are real people, who do take their work seriously, but who aren’t overly self-serious about it. Many of them have made real life part of their art, and show you how you might do that, too. When the book comes out in April, we’ll release some new assignment videos on this channel, and encourage you to make your own responses and share them with us.

In the meantime, pre-order a copy! Because here’s the thing: Art needs you. It needs more voices from more places and from a wider variety of backgrounds.

This whole enterprise we call art can make your life more meaningful, but it can also be a way for you to share some of what you know with others. Because you are an artist. Or, at least, you can be soon.

Thanks to all of our patrons for supporting The Art Assignment, especially our grandmasters of the arts Vincent Apa and Ernest Wolfe.