On Being An Artist
Celebrated artist and influential teacher Michael Craig-Martin’s first book is a lively mix of reminiscence, personal manifesto, anecdote and advice for the aspiring artist in a new paperback edition
Few living artists can claim to have had the influence of Michael Craig-Martin. Celebrated around the world for his distinctive work, and with major retrospectives, high-profile commissions and numerous honours to his name, he has also helped nurture generations of younger artists, among them Julian Opie, Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Liam Gillick and Gary Hume. Often described as the godfather of the YBAs, he taught by combining personal example and individual guidance, offering students encouragement, practical advice and insights gained from his own professional highs and lows. This powerful combination gave them the self-knowledge, confidence and motivation to flourish as some of the most successful figures in contemporary art. Now Craig-Martin shares the same benefit of his experiences with yet another
generation. Part memoir and part instructional guide, On Being An Artist is a remarkable mix of reminiscence, personal philosophy, anecdote, self-examination, and advice for the budding artist. In a series of short episodes, he reflects with both wit and candour on the many ideas, events and people that have inspired and shaped him throughout his life, from his childhood in the postwar United States through his time as an art student at Yale in the 1960s and subsequent work as a teacher, to his international success in later years.
More than the life of one of the most creative minds of our age, On Being An Artist provides lesson after valuable lesson to anyone wishing to know what it means and what it takes to be an artist today.
Sir Michael Craig-Martin CBE, RA studied at Yale School of Art and Architecture, his colleagues including Richard Serra, Chuck Close, Brice Marden, Jon Borofsky and Victor Burgin. He returned to Europe in the mid-1960s and was a key figure in the first generation of British conceptual artists. Alongside his work as an artist, he taught at Goldsmith’s College in London from 1974 to 1988 and again from 1994 to 2000, he had a significant influence on two generations of young British artists, among them Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas, and Damien Hirst. He has had major exhibitions and retrospectives at institutions across the world, and is also a respected exhibitions curator.