Essential Books for the Art Student

Following on from my post about Art Essentials is this, a post about my essential collection of art books…

1) The Art Book

2)The 20th Century Art Book

3) Cream

4) Fresh Cream

5) Cream3

6) Ice Cream

(all by Phaidon, available on

The above are an A-Z of well-known artists, or up and coming artists whose work has contributed to the art scene greatly.  In the “Cream” series of books up and coming artists or sometimes re-emerging artists work is featured that is interesting.  It’s worth looking through these books just to see what artists have done out of interest.

7) Beauty In Decay (Urbex)  Is a book that has many photographs of different buildings all in a state of decay, from buildings in Chernobyl to disused factories.  The works in here are beautiful to look at and inspirational.  They make you want to go out and find a disused building to go into and photograph.  Some of the images are altered slightly, the images curved, the perspective skewed and it makes me want to play around with software to create my own images that seem to have a magical quality.

8) The Contemporary Art Book (Charlotte Bonham Carter and David Hodge, printed by Goodman)  this is another compilation book, one that I have leaned on heavily in my research into modern-day artists and sculptors.  It is a book I don’t think I will ever tire of and one that every time I open I seem to find something new to look at, something I didn’t notice before.

9) The 1000 Journals Project (by Someguy)  I just really like this book and the idea behind it.  I don’t think I should give too much away about it, only that if you see a copy in a bookshop, buy it.  It will keep you mesmerised and interested for hours.  This book hasn’t lent itself to any of my projects but when I flick through the pages when I hit a “mind-blank” it seems to get me going again.  I think I owe myself and some of my projects completion to this book.  and I wish I could have taken part in such an amazing experiment!  (more info see because I’m not saying any more…)

So, that’s it, another “Essentials” list.  These are books I turn to for inspiration, research and just for pure enjoyment.  From these books I have discovered new artists that I like, they have aided my research, and I have gained more knowledge about the works I like but have yet to see in person.  It doesn’t matter if you buy these books or lend them from the local library but whatever you do, go out and grab one to have a flick through, find someone/something new that you like, discover a new technique to try or a way of improving.  Looking at these books has helped me so much I can’t begin to explain enough.

2 thoughts on “Essential Books for the Art Student

  1. Jason Mehl says:

    Thanks for the list! As a sculptor with no formal art education aside from a few ceramics classes I’ve been actively trying to educate myself about art. This list looks like a great resource.

    • artreviewed says:

      Thanks! they are really good books that have given me so many ideas and inspiration! I have learned loads from looking at the artists shown in those books! Let me know how you get on! Good luck!

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