Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts-For Actors, Performers, Writers and Artists of Every Kind.

Author:Lewis, Tracey
Position:Brief article - Book review
 
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Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts--For Actors, Performers, Writers and Artists of Every Kind by Anna Deavere Smith Anchor Books, February 2006 $13, ISBN 1-400-03238-5

This Renaissance woman and MacArthur fellow draws deeply from the well of her artistic experiences and shares all in her newest book.

Deavere Smith keeps the pace lively and inspiring by using a fictional apprentice to whom she offers advice on making it as an artist in New York City, Los Angeles and anywhere in between. Using the lost art of letter writing, she creates a singular dialogue. The reader experiences her voice, yet in her replies, we feel the measured excitement, sadness and yearning of this unseen artist named BZ.

There are wonderful interactions--a dash of dishy girl talk ("Okay, as promised, a full report on my interview with abstract painter Brice Marden. Yes, he is as sexy as you thought."), maternal admonitions ("Think of your imagination as a muscle that needs to be plump with health. Stay hydrated."), and heartfelt advice from a...

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