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Art Matters

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Combining Neil Gaiman's extraordinary words with Chris Riddell's deft and striking illustrations, Art Matters will inspire its readers to seize the day in the name of art. Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. Drawn together from speeches, Combining Neil Gaiman's extraordinary words with Chris Riddell's deft and striking illustrations, Art Matters will inspire its readers to seize the day in the name of art. Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. Drawn together from speeches, poems and creative manifestos, Art Matters will explore how reading, imagining and creating can change the world. A creative call to arms, the book will champion freedom of ideas, making art in the face of adversity and choosing to be bold. It will be inspirational to young and old, and will encourage glorious, creative rebellion.


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Combining Neil Gaiman's extraordinary words with Chris Riddell's deft and striking illustrations, Art Matters will inspire its readers to seize the day in the name of art. Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. Drawn together from speeches, Combining Neil Gaiman's extraordinary words with Chris Riddell's deft and striking illustrations, Art Matters will inspire its readers to seize the day in the name of art. Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. Drawn together from speeches, poems and creative manifestos, Art Matters will explore how reading, imagining and creating can change the world. A creative call to arms, the book will champion freedom of ideas, making art in the face of adversity and choosing to be bold. It will be inspirational to young and old, and will encourage glorious, creative rebellion.

30 review for Art Matters

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    The answer is not 42 after all. The answer to life, the universe and everything is: MAKE GOOD ART. Which of course may well be what Douglas Adams did, hitchhiking his way through the universe in a bombastic show of creative power. So 42 and "MAKE GOOD ART" could be seen as synonyms. A mutated boa constrictor is harming you? Time for making good art. This collection of passionate essays by Neil Gaiman and outrageously funny drawings by Chris Riddell will be my "Annoy-Everyone-Until The answer is not 42 after all. The answer to life, the universe and everything is: MAKE GOOD ART. Which of course may well be what Douglas Adams did, hitchhiking his way through the universe in a bombastic show of creative power. So 42 and "MAKE GOOD ART" could be seen as synonyms. A mutated boa constrictor is harming you? Time for making good art. This collection of passionate essays by Neil Gaiman and outrageously funny drawings by Chris Riddell will be my "Annoy-Everyone-Until -They-Read-It"-treat for this season. I knew it before I received my own copy, and I made sure to have a stack of five ready to spread the message quickly. I will most definitely read it with my classes, and two of my children already stole copies of their own from my shrinking stack. WHY does it matters so much to me? Because it is funny, to the point, gets a message (or two or three or four) across? Because it makes perfect use of my two favourite ways of communication: drawing and text? Because it reaches the heart without ever preaching? Because it sums up the issues we deal with every day in our era of digital addiction, and it makes a case for embracing the adventure of novelties without ditching the good old company of books - making a case for BOTHNESS, rather than WORLD BOOK DOOMSDAY? Because it contains a credo for freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of argument, while completely, unambiguously denouncing any violence? We may all ignore or argue against other people's stupidity, but we may never ever hurt or kill those who call us out on our own weirder thoughts. If all kept to the diversity without violence credo, the world would be an adventure that you could actually survive for a while. I LOVE this book to bits for its stance on libraries and librarians. And I am biased of course, spending most of my childhood in libraries in a variety of ever changing small towns, and then morphing into one of those strange powerful beings between the shelves and behind the desk myself. School librarians around the world should read this NOW. It is encouraging, heartwarming, and necessary. I love it because it offers a hilarious take on how not to write if you happen to have a box with a chair-yet-to-be-constructed at home, and how that strange set of skills can be turned into humour and art as well. I love it for the passage where Gaiman describes his time as a young man, trying to succeed in freelance. Chronologically challenged! The best joke ever. Read the book to find out. It would be worth it for that alone. Without further ado: ART MATTERS. READ IT! And then make a drawing or write a poem or a song about it. Spread the gospel and let others argue with you. Argue back. It is our right to think and express thoughts in art.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    "Make good art. I’m serious." This is a collection of four essays, each forceful and energetic, that directly address why it is so important to read and write and, more importantly, they impress upon you why children should be doing it too. This is not new material but has instead been published in various magazines and online publications, some of them even appeared in The View From the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction. The essays are as followed: 1. Credo 2. Why Our Future Depends on "Make good art. I’m serious." This is a collection of four essays, each forceful and energetic, that directly address why it is so important to read and write and, more importantly, they impress upon you why children should be doing it too. This is not new material but has instead been published in various magazines and online publications, some of them even appeared in The View From the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction. The essays are as followed: 1. Credo 2. Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming 3. Making a Chair (more of a poem really.) 4. Make Good Art So you may have read these before, as I have; however, that being said, I’m not overly disappointed that there’s nothing new here beyond the illustrations. These pieces speak to each other and form a persuasive argument about the importance of art, regardless of the particular medium, and establish why it’s so important for society. We need people who understand the world and can empathise with situations different to our own, we need leaders and individuals who can look past their own personal experience and act accordingly. We need literate people. We need people who can imagine a better world than the one we have so they can work towards building it (or at the very least representing it.) All in all, the world needs more readers, writers and artists. And Gaiman establishes it so convincingly here (not that many people who would pick a book up like this need convincing.) “We need to teach our children to read. And to enjoy reading. We need libraries. We need books.” I have so much respect for Gaiman and his work. As all writers do, he wrote stories to make money though he also did it because it was his passion. At the young age of fifteen he knew it was his calling and he worked towards his goals until he achieved success and fame (then he carried on writing some more!) Beyond that though, he has got so many children into reading with his work. Just look at his sales figures. Granted many of his readers are adults, but he has opened the literary doorways for many with his creative and intelligent writing. Because of the sheer volume of quality work he has produced, the variety of it and the innovative nature of his original ideas, I think he deserves the noble prize for literature. I’m almost certain that this year he will win it. He has been shortlisted, and from the four candidates chosen, it seems to be a two horse race between Gaiman and Murakami (Guardian article.) Both are fantastic writers, though I think Gaiman has a slight edge because he can write in very different ways where Murakami has found his niche and dominates it. Could 2018 be Gaiman’s year? If I were a betting man, I’d put money down that it is. (What a victory that would be for the world of fantasy literature.) Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Insta | Academia

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nat K

    Oh my goodness, I lve this book! I read it on the work commute home and am SO impressed with it. One of those books that makes you believe that good things can happen. Imagine a world devoid of beauty. Without colour. No artworks to adorn walls or office desks. No words of wisdom to inspire or incite. Imagine a world without books! Art matters because it soothes the soul, keeps the blood pumping through our veins, makes us think. It connects us. Didn’t someone once say “The pen is mightier than the Oh my goodness, I l💕ve this book! I read it on the work commute home and am SO impressed with it. One of those books that makes you believe that good things can happen. Imagine a world devoid of beauty. Without colour. No artworks to adorn walls or office desks. No words of wisdom to inspire or incite. Imagine a world without books! Art matters because it soothes the soul, keeps the blood pumping through our veins, makes us think. It connects us. Didn’t someone once say “The pen is mightier than the sword.”? Wise words from Neil Gaiman wonderfully accompanied by fab illustrations from Chris Riddell. A match made in heaven! This book reminds us to not forget to dream. And to be creative. And to keep creating. Every day. I cannot gush enough about this one. This book made my head spin and had me grinning more widely than the Cheshire Cat. If you haven’t already read this, you simply must add it to your TBR list. At the top. Do it now. Beautiful book Mr Gaiman and Mr Ridell. Bravo. ✩✩✩ ”I had no idea. I still don’t. And where would be the fun in making something you knew was going to work?” ✩✩✩ PS: I also read it on the morning work commute & it’s just as inspiring. Love, love, love.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    I needed this. Also Chris Riddell could stab me with a pencil and I'd thank him.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Seemita

    When I walk down a street I take often, I don’t need telling where the hump is or where the manhole splays. But even so, on days the street light doesn’t work, I feel a pinch; as if the little streak of light was a guide and despite being on a street I was well acquainted with, I need occasional help, a spurt of inspiration, a wise prelude. ‘Art Matters’ is that little streak of light. Gaiman has long been an author who unspools the complex doings of my mind and weaves them back together in simple When I walk down a street I take often, I don’t need telling where the hump is or where the manhole splays. But even so, on days the street light doesn’t work, I feel a pinch; as if the little streak of light was a guide and despite being on a street I was well acquainted with, I need occasional help, a spurt of inspiration, a wise prelude. ‘Art Matters’ is that little streak of light. Gaiman has long been an author who unspools the complex doings of my mind and weaves them back together in simple but profound sentences. He has seldom deployed complex levers to put across the point; I think his propensity to remain a child forbids him to do so. And in this delightful partnership with Chris Riddell, he once again comes closer to my world and whispers truths I had always known but wasn’t privy to their clear outlining. Why should I let ideas thrive? What values must I impart freedom with? Why do I need fiction? Why should I support my local library? Do I lose out on the race of creating art if I don’t know the rules? Why do I create art? When should I create art? Why imitation is not all that bad? Why creating a good work is the most important thing in the scheme of writing and selling books? I believe that ideas do not have to be correct to exist. I believe you have every right to be perfectly certain that images of God or Prophet of Human that you revere are sacred, and undefilable, just as I have the right to be certain of the sacredness of speech, and of the sanctity of the right to mock, comment, to argue and to utter. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate. A Library is a place of safety, a haven from the world. It is a place with Librarians in it. When you start out on a career in the arts, you have no idea what you are doing. This is great. People who know what they are doing know the rules, and know what is possible and impossible. You do not and you should not. I decided that I would do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything, If I did work I was proud of, and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work. I found these fabulous answers and more (read snippets on Coraline and Stephen King's advice to Gaiman) in the gorgeous pages of this petite book; pencil sketches by Riddell accentuated their meanings, giving the whole idea a reverberation of perennial kind. Read it today. And tomorrow. And whenever you feel the lights flickering on the street of life you are walking on. -- Also on my blog.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Half illustrations, half art-on-art, this little gem of a book is just about perfect for anyone who appreciates art and/or makes it. :) I won't say the advice is new but it is very emphatic and heartfelt, so you're not hearing any complaints from this corner. Best advice ever? Have fun. Next best advice? Make good art. Or maybe I have those two reversed. Doesn't matter. It's all good advice. And above all, when everything goes wrong, STILL make good art. Why? Because it helps you through the Half illustrations, half art-on-art, this little gem of a book is just about perfect for anyone who appreciates art and/or makes it. :) I won't say the advice is new but it is very emphatic and heartfelt, so you're not hearing any complaints from this corner. Best advice ever? Have fun. Next best advice? Make good art. Or maybe I have those two reversed. Doesn't matter. It's all good advice. And above all, when everything goes wrong, STILL make good art. Why? Because it helps you through the hard times. And sometimes that's all you've got. I get that. A lot. I do believe I'll be revisiting this book again. Maybe a lot. It's heartening. :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell have created a manifesto for readers, librarians and content creators. This little book celebrates everything having to do with reading, freedom of information and ideas, and how to start creating the life of your dreams, even if you don't know where to start. "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before." I feel like this should be required reading — especially the parts about how to respond to intellectual disagreements. Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell have created a manifesto for readers, librarians and content creators. This little book celebrates everything having to do with reading, freedom of information and ideas, and how to start creating the life of your dreams, even if you don't know where to start. "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before." I feel like this should be required reading — especially the parts about how to respond to intellectual disagreements. I think Gaiman penned these words after the bombing at Charlie Hebdo, and they still ring true. "I believe I have the right to think and say the wrong things. I believe your remedy for that should be to argue with me or to ignore me. And that I should have the same remedy for the wrong things that I believe you think." And, of course, I was partial to all of the praise directed towards librarians and libraries, having been a librarian once myself. Sometimes people ask me if I ever think libraries will be closed because "they're just a building with books" or "they're a waste of taxpayer money". This is how I wished I had replied: "Libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education, about entertainment, about making safe spaces and about access to information." How could that ever possibly go out of style? Gaiman also gives attention to the bookworms of the world. We make it a better place through our reading and daydreaming and daydreaming about reading. Also, our epic library patronage is a good thing. "We have an obligation to read for pleasure. If others see us reading, we show that reading is a good thing. We have an obligation to support libraries, to protest the closure of libraries. If you do not value libraries you are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future." Gaiman shares a bit about how he became the universally beloved author he is today. Step one, you've just got to get started. "If you have an idea of what you want to make, what you were put here to do, then just go and do that and that's much harder than it sounds and, sometimes in the end, so much easier than you might imagine." He confesses that he lied on early resumes to get his foot in the door. But, after his later success, he went back and worked at all of the places he had claimed before. That way, he didn't see himself as lying but as "chronologically challenged." I loved that. Gaiman also has some interesting views about no-start dreamers. He says the saddest thing to him are friends that say they're too committed to follow their dreams. There's bills to pay, mortgages and families to support and they can't take the dive to do whatever it is they've always dreamed of doing. He said he dodged that particular roadblock by skipping a well-paying job or two early in his career, so that he didn't get too comfortable doing something other than writing. I thought that was an interesting strategy. Creating is about having the courage to just do it, no matter what and not stopping until you're doing it. "Somebody on the internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before? Make good art." The good news is there are more platforms than ever before to get your creations in front of the people who will care about them. "The gatekeepers are leaving their gates. You can be as creative as you need to be to get your work seen. YouTube and the web (and whatever comes after YouTube and the web) can give you more people watching than television ever did. The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are. So make up your own rules." My own life right now points to the truth of that. I left a guaranteed paycheck and employer provided health care to write for my husband's YouTube channel. We're not only succeeding but we're having a lot of fun doing it. Thank you, Gaiman and Riddell for this beautiful book. I hope it encourages creators everywhere to take the leap.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. (from the blurp) Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell have teamed up a number of times before and make a great team. Both wholly embrace enthusiastic fans, fan art, any art, as well as charities. Therefore, they created this little book in which Chris Riddell illustrates speeches, poems, manifestos and comments by Neil Gaiman about the Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. (from the blurp) Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell have teamed up a number of times before and make a great team. Both wholly embrace enthusiastic fans, fan art, any art, as well as charities. Therefore, they created this little book in which Chris Riddell illustrates speeches, poems, manifestos and comments by Neil Gaiman about the importance of libraries, literacy, being creative, books in the digital age and much more. Personally, I like to look at professional illustrations but also some fan art. There are many very talented people out there and they should be encouraged to do what makes them happy. We can't all become famous, most can't even live off their craft but that is never a reason not to try at least. Because as a reader and person who loves looking at art, it's never a waste of time and I do indeed feel more upbeat and positive about the world afterwards or even during the experience. And when you look at the history of now famous people, they all struggled and failed in the beginning but persevered. Ignore the nay-sayers and MAKE GOOD ART (the word "good", here, means meaningful if even only to you). Here are some of the pages with messages that especially resonated with me: P.S.: I LOVE the book = sharks statement by Douglas Adams!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Veronique

    "Be bold. Be rebellious. Choose Art. It matters.” To many, this tiny book is going to seem very expensive for what it is. I can understand that. On the other hand, I totally buy what Gaiman and Riddell proposed to do, defend the Arts and Freedom of Speech in this crazy world of ours! The book itself has a simplicity, both in words and drawing style, that can attract Everyone. In that light it reminded me of how Fairy Tales (the original ones from oral tradition) were aimed for everyone too, from "Be bold. Be rebellious. Choose Art. It matters.” To many, this tiny book is going to seem very expensive for what it is. I can understand that. On the other hand, I totally buy what Gaiman and Riddell proposed to do, defend the Arts and Freedom of Speech in this crazy world of ours! The book itself has a simplicity, both in words and drawing style, that can attract Everyone. In that light it reminded me of how Fairy Tales (the original ones from oral tradition) were aimed for everyone too, from young to old. Will it change people’s beliefs and perceptions? Not sure but I do hope so. Finally, I remember when Gaiman wrote an article in the newspapers defending our closing Libraries, their importance and role in our societies (present and future), as well as that of Fiction. Do read that too - parts were used in this book - and it is pretty enlightening (https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...). An extract (but I could really use the whole article!): Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    A reprint of an essay that I believe I previously read in The View from the Cheap Seats.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Asha Seth

    Gaiman says, "Make Good Art. I'm serious." I say, "Read more Gaiman. I'm serious." . . This is a cute little book with Neil Gaiman's advice on reading, writing, following your dreams, importance of libraries and librarians, why kids should read, and respecting art, and the illustrator's endeavor into transforming those pieces into sketches. I thought of doing a picture review so readers get a hint of what to expect from this tiny little enchanter of a book. Obviously, these are pieces that stuck with Gaiman says, "Make Good Art. I'm serious." I say, "Read more Gaiman. I'm serious." . . This is a cute little book with Neil Gaiman's advice on reading, writing, following your dreams, importance of libraries and librarians, why kids should read, and respecting art, and the illustrator's endeavor into transforming those pieces into sketches. I thought of doing a picture review so readers get a hint of what to expect from this tiny little enchanter of a book. Obviously, these are pieces that stuck with me. The book's got a lot more to learn and imbibe. Here goes: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Go, get your copy now. You won't regret it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aoife

    A very quick read (I just read this in work, don't tell anyone) featuring some of Neil Gaiman's wisest words paired with Chris Riddell's fantastic illustrations. Neil's advice basically boils down to 'do the thing that only you can do, and do it well' and it's a wonderful read. Buy one for everyone you know. (He also loves libraries and librarians, and they're cousins to bookstores. So I feel like he loves us too.) I don't know that it's an issue for anybody but me, but it's true that nothing I A very quick read (I just read this in work, don't tell anyone) featuring some of Neil Gaiman's wisest words paired with Chris Riddell's fantastic illustrations. Neil's advice basically boils down to 'do the thing that only you can do, and do it well' and it's a wonderful read. Buy one for everyone you know. (He also loves libraries and librarians, and they're cousins to bookstores. So I feel like he loves us too.) I don't know that it's an issue for anybody but me, but it's true that nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience. Usually I didn't wind up getting the money, either. The things I did because I was excited, and wanted to see them exist in reality, have never let me down, and I've never regretted the time I spent on any of them. ... ... ... Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do... MAKE GOOD ART. I'm serious.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Come ON people ! Star Rating: 1,000,000 (5) STARS! ART MATTERS Because Your Imagination Can Change The World “I suggest that reading fiction, reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do.” I want to shout my love for and the the importance of this book from the rooftops. This book is everything . Please if you do read this based upon on my review I’d really love to hear/ see your feedback. I’m just blown away. PLEASE if you love books read this. If you are an author Come ON people ! Star Rating: 1,000,000 (5) STARS! ART MATTERS Because Your Imagination Can Change The World “I suggest that reading fiction, reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do.” I want to shout my love for and the the importance of this book from the rooftops. This book is everything . Please if you do read this based upon on my review I’d really love to hear/ see your feedback. I’m just blown away. PLEASE if you love books read this. If you are an author READ THIS. If you write or make art of any kind READ THIS. If you value physical books & their importance READ THIS. If you understand or just love libraries & know how special Librarians are... READ THIS. EVERYONE READ THIS BOOK. Neil Gaiman is just... he’s Neil Gaiman. He’s my favorite author. This book fits so much value & perfection into so many little pages. I’m serious, read this ; you will thank me later. Plus... come on the art of the amazing Chris Riddell??

  14. 4 out of 5

    Neil R. Coulter

    I've still not really enjoyed anything by Neil Gaiman, and I still feel bad about that, because everyone who's anything like me regards Gaiman as one of the literary greats of our time, maybe even of all time. I feel like someday I'll connect with something by Gaiman; I really want to, but so far, I haven't. Anyway, reading Art Matters felt to me a little bit like reading a long greeting card from Gaiman. What it says is generally true, but pithy and not particularly original or inspiring. As a I've still not really enjoyed anything by Neil Gaiman, and I still feel bad about that, because everyone who's anything like me regards Gaiman as one of the literary greats of our time, maybe even of all time. I feel like someday I'll connect with something by Gaiman; I really want to, but so far, I haven't. Anyway, reading Art Matters felt to me a little bit like reading a long greeting card from Gaiman. What it says is generally true, but pithy and not particularly original or inspiring. As a creative, artsy person who is feeling in some ways stagnant and stuck in mid-life, I didn't get any help from this book. I checked this out from the library, so it didn't cost me anything. The back cover says the retail price is $19.99. The book takes about 7 minutes to read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    An upbeat call to arms - for libraries and reading (and empathy) and writing and experimenting and trying (and failing) and going your own way and not being bound by others' rules and expectations.... All assembled in a nice (slender) little volume of previously published Gaiman-wisdom, neatly packaged, and nicely illustrated. If you've read The View From the Cheap Seats, you won't find much new in here, other than some creative and accessible and free-spirited presentation and packaging, and An upbeat call to arms - for libraries and reading (and empathy) and writing and experimenting and trying (and failing) and going your own way and not being bound by others' rules and expectations.... All assembled in a nice (slender) little volume of previously published Gaiman-wisdom, neatly packaged, and nicely illustrated. If you've read The View From the Cheap Seats, you won't find much new in here, other than some creative and accessible and free-spirited presentation and packaging, and that's OK. If you've got collection of Gaiman stuff, I can't imagine why you wouldn't want to include this....

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I chose to read a long with the printed book, while listening to the audiobook version and found that the audiobook is expanded, especially in the section titled, "Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming." So, I recommend you listen to the audio version to hear in full all that Gaiman has to say and the printed book to also appreciate Riddell's illustrations. My favorite quotes: "Libraries are places to go to find information." Paraphrased: Libraries are places of equal access I chose to read a long with the printed book, while listening to the audiobook version and found that the audiobook is expanded, especially in the section titled, "Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming." So, I recommend you listen to the audio version to hear in full all that Gaiman has to say and the printed book to also appreciate Riddell's illustrations. My favorite quotes: "Libraries are places to go to find information." Paraphrased: Libraries are places of equal access to information for all, including free internet and help with navigating the internet. "Libraries really are the gates to the future."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vivek Tejuja

    It has been established the world over (if not, then it should be) that Neil Gaiman is one of the most prolific writers that we have, and we must never forget that. In fact, we must cherish what we have every single day and celebrate him by reading more of him, but obviously, day after day. Art Matters is a collection of his short essays (all previously published individually and collectively in The View from the Cheap Seats) about art, reading, libraries, and why all of it is so important even It has been established the world over (if not, then it should be) that Neil Gaiman is one of the most prolific writers that we have, and we must never forget that. In fact, we must cherish what we have every single day and celebrate him by reading more of him, but obviously, day after day. Art Matters is a collection of his short essays (all previously published individually and collectively in The View from the Cheap Seats) about art, reading, libraries, and why all of it is so important even more so in today's time and age. I love what Gaiman writes, and even though I’d read these pieces earlier, with Chris Riddell’s illustrations, they seemed different, more invigorating, and captivating to say the least. There is something about the power of the written word, isn’t it? That’s what this book is about primarily – about words, reading, and how the world can be changed, one book at a time. Of course, the piece that stands out for me is Make Good Art, in which Gaiman talks to us about how he started writing books, how to do what you really want to do, push boundaries, and be what you set out to be. Yes, it does sound self-help like and maybe it is, but coming from Gaiman, everything is great and achievable and inspiring. I am not saying this as a fanboy, it’s just that this book really inspires you to step out and make good art. And not to forget that the Make Good Art piece has come from his commencement address at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in May 2012. The illustrations by Chris Riddell are as usual stupendous and go hand in glove with Gaiman’s prose. Though, I would love to see how this book comes alive in colour as well. Maybe, even a graphic version of these four pieces and more. Make Good Art just makes you want to go out there and create. Be it anything. A sentence even, or just those two hundred words you’ve been telling yourself you will write, or the composition you are stuck at, or when you feel that you just cannot create anything, this book will at least inspire if nothing else. Read this. Read it again like me, if you have already read them. The illustrations and the reminding of what great art can do is absolutely worth the experience.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Gaiman and Riddell can do no wrong in my eyes. Such a perfect team. A sweet, inspirational set of short essays, illustrated by Riddell. Loved it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    One of those little overpriced gift books (thank goodness for the library!) that takes about 15 minutes to read. Chris Riddell provides lots of nice spot illustrations for quotes and excerpts from Neil Gaiman about the value of books, reading, libraries, librarians, creativity, and freedom of speech. These are all sentiments I can get behind.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    “A Library is a place of safety, a haven from the world. It’s a place with librarians in it. We need to teach our children to read and to enjoy reading. We need libraries. We need books. We need literate citizens.” Seriously makes me feel blessed to work at a library. Such beautiful words. I was obviously biased to this section of the book. But I thought that all in all there was some very insightful tidbits in here that were complemented beautifully by Chris Riddell’s sketches.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    A hard one to rate -- for the most part I really liked Gaiman's words but the drawings turned me off. There's one that struck me as really Islamaphobic right near the beginning, and that kind of ruined the rest for me. If it had been just that one drawing that looked bad, I might've been able to set my reaction to that one aside. If other drawings had depicted folks who seemed Muslim or at least of many different backgrounds in as celebratory a way as all the other white folks represented here, A hard one to rate -- for the most part I really liked Gaiman's words but the drawings turned me off. There's one that struck me as really Islamaphobic right near the beginning, and that kind of ruined the rest for me. If it had been just that one drawing that looked bad, I might've been able to set my reaction to that one aside. If other drawings had depicted folks who seemed Muslim or at least of many different backgrounds in as celebratory a way as all the other white folks represented here, I think I could've let it go. But no, pretty much all the other people drawn in the book are very mainstream-looking white people. So the book overall seemed to only celebrate a certain kind of person and perpetuate the idea that these are the people who create Art. I don't think that was Gaiman's intention in his writing, but it was very much the impression it gave when paired with these drawings. I'm disappointed that he didn't seem to realize that or it didn't bother him. Overall, a 4 for the writing, but a 1 for the drawings. Since they kept me from enjoying if overall, I'm averaging that down to a 2.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Angela Magic Art

    Really really good! Its Neil Gaiman inspirational art and creativity short essays. How could I not like it!? Also with Chris Riddell's amazing drawings! I didn't give this 5 stars the first time around was because I didn't realize that I have read most of these already. Make Good Art, I have read and listened to many times, and Building A Chair I have also read before, and some of the Library Essays. The only part that was new to me was the Freedom of Speech sections in the beginning.-Which I Really really good! Its Neil Gaiman inspirational art and creativity short essays. How could I not like it!? Also with Chris Riddell's amazing drawings! I didn't give this 5 stars the first time around was because I didn't realize that I have read most of these already. Make Good Art, I have read and listened to many times, and Building A Chair I have also read before, and some of the Library Essays. The only part that was new to me was the Freedom of Speech sections in the beginning.-Which I loved! And it is wonderful to have all of these in one cute, pint sized, beautifully illustrated book! I can definitely see myself rereading this as I often reread or relisten to Make Good Art, I was just expecting some newer work in this book, and it threw me off a bit. Still really enjoyed though! -Having reread it, I bumped it up to 5 stars because even though it’s not all new material, it’s still so powerful and therapeutic to read. I just reread it in one sitting with a cat on my lap and the backdrop sounds of rain. Highly recommend.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    This is a small but powerful little book that offers some great inspiration. One of my resolutions for the new year is to push myself more on creative projects. I just often feel that my vision far exceeds my skills. This book teaches, however, not to make those assumptions, that not knowing often leads to the best results.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tamsien West (Babbling Books)

    A perfect combination of inspiring words for creatives and beautiful illustrations by Chris Riddell.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    “Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do… MAKE GOOD ART.” There is no doubt in my mind that “Art Matters” is the book equivalent of a rainbow. Not only is it visually beautiful, something we can thank the talented Chris Riddell for, but also marvellously hopeful, and that is all on the incomparable Neil Gaiman. It felt like an “Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do… MAKE GOOD ART.” There is no doubt in my mind that “Art Matters” is the book equivalent of a rainbow. Not only is it visually beautiful, something we can thank the talented Chris Riddell for, but also marvellously hopeful, and that is all on the incomparable Neil Gaiman. It felt like an energy transfusion. Though the New Year is as a rule associated with the opening of new doors, sometimes the draft that grows between them makes it impossible to do anything other than fall on one’s face. Gaiman’s words are the calm in the middle of the storm. You might still fall, because it does happen, but it will not be the end of the world. Another beginning, perhaps? New perspectives! There are never enough of those going around.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sangeetha Ramachandran

    "We have an obligation to read for pleasure. If others see us reading, we show that reading is a good thing. We have an obligation to support libraries, to protest closure of libraries. If you do not support libraries you are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future" This book arrived as a birthday present and what a wonderful book to receive as a birthday gift!! It look thirty minutes to read this little number and I savored it like I had been on a long fast. It is very "We have an obligation to read for pleasure. If others see us reading, we show that reading is a good thing. We have an obligation to support libraries, to protest closure of libraries. If you do not support libraries you are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future" This book arrived as a birthday present and what a wonderful book to receive as a birthday gift!! It look thirty minutes to read this little number and I savored it like I had been on a long fast. It is very enchanting from page to page. A little something that everyone should keep around to seek inspiration.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)

    “Fiction builds empathy. Fiction is something you build up from twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world, and people it and look out through other eyes. You're being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you're going to be slightly changed.”

  28. 5 out of 5

    Monean

    The art book was hands down outstanding!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Arcci

    I was trying to focus on reviewing only fiction books on my Goodreads because I consume A LOT of books for work (mostly non fiction), but I can't help but give a little nod to Neil Gaiman and all the life lessons crammed into this short book. I think Art Matters is a book that every artist should have, especially for the inevitable rainy days. As a writer myself (with very academic, VERY Asian parents), I've psyched myself out too many times about the path that I'm taking. This gave me the added I was trying to focus on reviewing only fiction books on my Goodreads because I consume A LOT of books for work (mostly non fiction), but I can't help but give a little nod to Neil Gaiman and all the life lessons crammed into this short book. I think Art Matters is a book that every artist should have, especially for the inevitable rainy days. As a writer myself (with very academic, VERY Asian parents), I've psyched myself out too many times about the path that I'm taking. This gave me the added reassurance and push that I needed to keep trudging along. It also helps that Chris Riddell's illustrations were amazing. For now, and the many more steps that my creative road will take me, I'll remember the one thing that Neil Gaiman insisted on, make good art. Just keep making good art.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Muneera

    Short but wonderfully insightful. Everyone should read this, if only to reinforce existing ideas on the importance of art. I especially love Gaimen’s arguement against the notion of “escapism”, that really there’s nothing wrong with it. He touches on why literacy is the answer to all our questions, why fiction is just as useful as nonfiction, why reading simply put can change our lives for the better. I loved it. I listened to the audiobook and it was 50 minutes well-spent.

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