“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.
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.
Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming
Making a Chair (which almost reads like a poem and talks about finding creativity in the smallest task we do)
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*.
These 3D flowers are embroidered on casement cloth using stranded cotton yarn.