Artistic Thinking Bookshelf

Artistic Thinking Bookshelf: Books and videos that explore imagination, creativity, and innovation

Books and Articles (Click on highlighted book titles for blog reviews.)

  • Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland (Image Continuum Press, 2001) Learn more at Goodreads
  • Art as Experience by John Dewey (Perigree Trade, 2005) Learn more at Goodreads
  • The Art Spirit by Robert Henri (Basic Books, 2007) Learn more at Goodreads
  • Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg (Workman Publishing Company, 2010) Learn more at Goodreads
  • The Courage to Create by Rollo May (W. W. Norton & Company, 1994) Learn more at Goodreads
  • Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom and David Kelley (Crown Business, 2013) Learn more at the books site or Goodreads
  • Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace (Random House, 2014) Learn more at Goodreads
  • The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson (Viking Adult, 2009) Learn more at Goodreads
  • The Myths of Creativity: The Truth about How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas by David Burkus (Jossey-Bass, 2013) Learn more at Goodreads
  • Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative by Ken Robinson (Capstone, 2011) Learn more at Goodreads
  • Releasing the Imagination: Essays on Education, the Arts, and Social Change by Maxine Greene (Jossey-Bass Inc., 1995) Learn more at Goodreads
  • Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon (Workman Publishing Company, 2010) Learn more at Goodreads

Video and Audio

  • Burstein, Julie. 4 Lessons in Creativity. TED Talk, 2012.
    Radio host Julie Burstein talks with creative people for a living — and shares four lessons about how to create in the face of challenge, self-doubt and loss. Hear insights from filmmaker Mira Nair, writer Richard Ford, sculptor Richard Serra and photographer Joel Meyerowitz.
  • Courage, Catherine. Igniting Creativity to Transform Corporate Culture. 2012 TED Talk.
    Design leader Catherine Courage challenges us to drive innovation in the workplace by igniting our innate creativity from childhood.
  • Corazza, Giovanni. Creative Thinking: How to Get Out of the Box and Generate Ideas. 2014 TED Talk.
    Corazza is a full-time professor at the Alma Mater Studiorum at the University of Bologna, a member of the Executive Council, and the founder of the Marconi Institute of Creativity. He teaches science and the applications of creative thinking.
  • Dgebuadze, Andro. How to Actually Be Creative? 2012 TED Talk.
    Andro Dgebuadze discusses ways to be creative, and demonstrates his award-winning iPhone application.
  • DiLuzio, Raphael. 7 Steps of Creative Thinking. 2012 TED Talk.
    Raphael Diluzio is a serial creative artist, entrepreneur and professor. His art is centered in visual image making, primarily in the relation between traditional studio art and digital time-based media.
  • Fernandez, Teresita. On Amnesia, Broken Pottery, and the Inside of a Form. 2013 Commencement Address to Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts.
    Teresita Fernández is a conceptual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Best known for her prominent public sculptures and marked by an unconventional use of materials, her work is characterized by an interest in perception and the psychology of looking, and inspired by landscape and natural phenomena as well as historical and cultural references.
  • Fraley, Gregg. Creativity and Imagination. 2013 TED Talk.
    Gregg Fraley is an American writer, speaker, and consultant in the area of innovation and commercial creativity. He was named a Distinguished Leader by the Creative Education Foundation.
  • Grey, Alex. Cosmic Creativity: How Art Evolves Consciousness. 2013 TED Talk.
    Visionary artist Alex Grey began his career as a medical illustrator at Harvard Medical School, but is best known for paintings that present the physical and subtle anatomy of an individual in the context of cosmic, biological and technological evolution.
  • Henry, Todd. Creativity Under Pressure. 2012 TED Talk.
    We often think of creativity as an uncontrollable and accidental thing that seems to happen most when we least expect it. Todd Henry is a student practitioner of creativity. He has discovered that introducing structure into our lives can make these accidents happen more often.
  • Johnson, Steve. Where Good Ideas Come From. 2010 TED Talk.
    People often credit their ideas to individual “Eureka!” moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the “liquid networks” of London’s coffee houses to Charles Darwin’s long, slow hunch to today’s high-velocity web.
  • Kleon, Austin. Steal Like an Artist. 2012 TED Talk
    Kleon is the author of Newspaper Blackout, a best-selling book of poetry made by redacting newspaper articles with a permanent marker. In this TED Talk he discusses where the ideas came from for his art and the other influences and historical associations that inform his work.
  • Kelley, David. How to Build Your Creative Confidence. 2012 TED Talk
    Is your school or workplace divided into “creatives” versus practical people? Yet surely, David Kelley suggests, creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few. Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build the confidence to create.
  • May, Rollo. We Lack Mystery.
    Rollo May, a forerunner in Existential Psychology, explains our cultures detrimental materialistic orientation on our hearts and minds.
  • Vik Muniz: Art with wire, sugar, chocolate and string. 2003 TED Talk.
    Vik Muniz makes art from pretty much anything, be it shredded paper, wire, clouds or diamonds. Here he describes the thinking behind his work and takes us on a tour of his incredible images.
  • Phillips, Dan. Creative houses from reclaimed stuff. 2010 TED Talk.
    In this funny and insightful talk, builder Dan Phillips tours us through a dozen homes he’s built in Texas using recycled and reclaimed materials in wildly creative ways. Brilliant, low-tech design details will refresh your own creative drive.
  • Puccio, Gerard. Creativity as a Life Skill. TED Talk
    In the face of a fast changing and increasingly more complex world, many argue that creativity and innovation are crucial 21st century skills. Unfortunately schools and organizations seem to be ill equipped to promote this critical skill. Discover what you can do to reclaim and sustain this life skill.
  • Seelig, Tina. The 6 Characteristics of Truly Creative People. 99U Talk.
    Determined not to just write just another book on creativity, Stanford professor Tina Seelig painstakingly researched what makes good ideas spring forward. The result is her “innovation engine,” a special mix of six characteristics like attitude, resources and environment. But the special concoction of forces that makes our ideas come to life is nothing with out the willingness to fail. “Most call it failure, but we scientists just call it data,” she says. The most creative organizations and people embrace experimentation to get the needed data to determine they’re on to something. “Workers are puzzle builders, they get stuck when missing a piece,” she says. Truly creative people “are quilt makers — they can fit anything together.”
  • Skillicorn, Nick. The Science of Improving Your Brain’s Creativity. 2014 TED Talk.
    Nick speaks about the real definition of creativity, which consists of ideas that have added values. Values could be in the form of help to someone or businesses or any kind of social help that can make the society better. He emphasized the importance of working on ideas once they form in our minds to prevent them from slipping away. His talk also answered the question “Why does someone consider themselves more creative than others’?
  • Tan, Amy. Where does creativity hide? 2008 TED Talk.
    Novelist Amy Tan digs deep into the creative process, looking for hints of how hers evolved.
  • Tilley, Jonathan. What creativity is trying to tell you. 2013 TED Talk.
    The creative process is as individual as it is universal. And yet there is a secret that creativity itself is yearning to tell us. Since the age of 9, Jonathan has performed as a singer, dancer, actor, and gone on to other creative ventures such as a playwright, director, choreographer, author, and voice over artist. Many different titles, one common thread: Creativity. He shares pivotal life experiences that define creativity for him and shows how you can tap into your own creativity on a daily basis, in whatever space and time you have.
  • Waqititi, Taika. The Art of Creativity. 2010 TED Talk.
    Taika Waititi is a visual artist, actor, writer and director hailing from the Raukokore region of New Zealand. His short film Two Cars, One Night was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005. Taika’s second and most recent feature, Boy, appeared at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals earlier this year. He discusses how creativity has helped him to express his ideas and led him to where he is today.
  • Walsh, Vincent. Neuroscience and Creativity. 2011 TED Talk.
    Vincent explains the benefits of creativity and it’s affect on brain development. He also looks at how we can promote creativity within ourselves, and why we should do it!

What books and video clips inspire your artistic thinking? Add them in the comments below and build the bookshelf.

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