Art Matters by Neil Gaiman | Book Review

“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.”

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 explores how reading, imagining and creating can change the world, and will be inspirational to young and old.

52. Art Matters

I discovered this book quite accidently on Pinterest, of all places. I was looking up a quote on Art and happened to come across pages of this book with some beautiful thoughts accompanied by gorgeous illustrations.

I’ve never read a Neil Gaiman book before this because fantasy and horror are not my reading genres of choice. (It took me 23 years to pick up Harry Potter and that itself speaks volumes.) Be that as it may, I knew I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this.

Art Matters is a pocket-sized book filled with lifetimes of wisdom. You can call them short essays, or snippets of his life, or light-bulb moments, but the words on every page jump out to grab your attention.

The thoughts and ideas are categorised under:
  1. Credo
  2. Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming
  3. Making a Chair (which almost reads like a poem and talks about finding creativity in the smallest task we do)
  4. Make Good Art
“Fiction is the lie that tells the truth. We all have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that society is huge and the individual is less than nothing but the truth is individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.”

While he speaks from the point of writing as is his experience, he makes it clear that Art in every form is valuable and must see the light of day. If you imagine something and get excited enough to want it to exist in reality, you enjoy every moment spent on making it happen. You will always have something new to look forward to and won’t regret your choices.

Chris Riddell’s illustrations are part of the reason this book has such an impact. Riddell brings out the emotion in Gaiman’s words through his pencil sketches. Each page is frame-worthy and someday I’m going to put these up in my dream library so I can read them every day.

When you don’t receive the validation you seek and feel lost at sea, this book will come as the tiny streak of light making its way to you through an obscure hole in the dark cave. No matter what life brings to you, make good art. Because when the going gets tough, your imagination is what will get you going.

Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Chris Riddell. Published in 2018 by Headline Publishing Group.

Book 52 of 2021.

Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.

Available on Amazon*.

About Photo: I’ve been meaning to trying a new art/craft technique for a while and given my fascination with all things Korean, my mom suggested I try 3D embroidery which is all the rage in South Korea. So I looked up a YouTube tutorial by Happy Jasu on how to do them.
These 3D flowers are embroidered on casement cloth using stranded cotton yarn.

52. Art Matters

52. Art Matters2

About the Author: Neil Gaiman is the author of over thirty acclaimed books and graphic novels for adults and children, including American Gods, Stardust, Coraline and The Graveyard Book. His most recent novel for adults, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was highly acclaimed, appeared on the hardback and paperback Sunday Times bestseller lists and won several awards, including being voted Book of the Year in the National Book Awards 2013.
The recipient of numerous literary honours, Neil Gaiman’s work has been adapted for film, television and radio. He has written scripts for Doctor Who, worked with authors and illustrators including Terry Pratchett, Dave McKean and Chris Riddell, and The Sandman is established as one of the classic graphic novels. As George R R Martin says: ‘There’s no one quite like Neil Gaiman.’
Originally from England, Neil Gaiman now lives in America.
Find him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About the Illustrator: Chris Riddell, the 2015-2017 UK Children’s Laureate, is an accomplished artist and the political cartoonist for the Observer. He has enjoyed great acclaim for his books for children. His books have won a number of major prizes, including the 2001, 2004 and 2016 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medals. Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse won the Costa Children’s Book Award 2013. His work also includes the bestselling Ottoline books, The Emperor of Absurdia, and, with Paul Stewart, the Muddle Earth books, the Scavenger series and the Blobheads series. Chris has been honoured with an OBE in recognition of his illustration and charity work.
He lives in Brighton with his family.
Find him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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*Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link which means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

3 thoughts on “Art Matters by Neil Gaiman | Book Review

  1. Pingback: 2021 and Changing Plans | #BrunchBookChallenge – Aquamarine Flavours

  2. Pingback: My Favourite Reads of 2021 – Aquamarine Flavours

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