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Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World | Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell | 2018, 100 pages | Nonfiction – Motivational
Art Matters is a small book full of big ideas. Neil Gaiman has combined four personal essays with vibrant illustrations by Chris Riddell to create an inspirational manifesto for living, reading, assembling furniture and, especially, making art.
“Credo” expresses Gaiman’s belief in and love of ideas, combined with an anarchic belief in everyone’s right to express whatever ideas they may have. “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.”
“Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming” recounts his personal story of being a young boy in a library, and how librarians encouraged him, found books for him and, above all, treated him with respect – at the age of 8. “You’re finding out something as you read that will be vitally important for making your way in the world, and it’s this: The world doesn’t have to be like this. Things can be different.”
In the third essay, “Making a chair,” Gaiman shows the joys and frustrations of the creative process. “Making a book is a little like making a chair. Perhaps it ought to come with warnings, like the chair instructions.”
Finally, “Make Good Art,” in which Gaiman enjoins his readers to be brave, throw caution to the wind, forget the rules, be themselves and Make Good Art, no matter what. “Husband runs off with a politician? Make good Art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor? Make good art.”
Art Matters contains quintessential advice for readers, artists, librarians – and all the rest of us. Change the world – make it good.
Tricia Hutchins, Library Page