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.
'One of the best books in years of an artist's writings: elegant, pithy and full of insights' --Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate
'Erudite, insightful and hugely readable … an intelligent, entertaining and inspiring journey into the mind of one of the leading artistic figures working today' --It's Nice That
'A revelation … brilliant … a fascinating record of a life in art' --RA Magazine
Michael Craig-Martin CBE, RA was born in Dublin in 1941. At the age of four, he moved with his family to the United States, where he was brought up and educated. Between 1961 and 1966, he studied at Yale School of Art and Architecture. He returned to Europe in the mid-1960s and was a key figure in the first generation of British conceptualists. As a tutor at Goldsmiths College in London from 1973 to 1988 and again from 1994 to 2000, he had a significant influence on two generations of young British artists. He has had major exhibitions and retrospectives at museums and galleries across the world, and has several permanent large-scale installations in Europe and Asia. In 1990, he was appointed a trustee of Tate Gallery; in 2001, he was awarded a CBE; and in 2006, he was elected a Royal Academician. His work is held in many international museum collections, including Tate, London; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and Museum of Modern Art, New York.