Chelsea Martin with Corinne Manning—'Tell Me I'm An Artist'

"Funny and crushing, lithe and deep, this novel is that rare combination of pleasure and profundity, a portrait of the artist as a work-in-progress." —Sharma Shields


Third Place Books welcomes Washington author Chelsea Martin to our Ravenna store! Martin will be discussing her novel Tell Me I'm An Artist, a coming-of-age story that grows in the space between art and art school. She will be in conversation with local author and teaching artist Corinne Manning. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required in advance.

Copies of Tell Me I'm An Artist will be available for purchase at the store. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!

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About Tell Me I'm An Artist. . .

"A portrait of the artist as a work-in-progress" (Sharma Shields), this hilarious and incisive coming-of-age novel about an art student from a poor family struggling to find her place in a new social class of rich, well-connected peers is perfect for fans of Elif Batuman’s The Idiot and Weike Wang’s Chemistry

At her San Francisco art school, Joey enrolls in a film elective that requires her to complete what seems like a straightforward assignment: create a self-portrait. Joey inexplicably decides to remake Wes Anderson’s Rushmore despite having never seen the movie. As Tell Me I’m An Artist unfolds over the course of the semester, the assignment hangs over her as she struggles to exist in a well-heeled world that is hugely different from any she has known.
Miles away, Joey’s sister goes missing, leaving her toddler with their mother, who in turn suggests that Joey might be the selfish one for pursuing her dreams. Meanwhile, her only friend at school, the enigmatic Suz, makes meaningful, appealing art, a product of Suz's own singular drive and talent as well as decades of careful nurturing by wealthy, sophisticated parents.
A masterful novel from an author known for her candid and searching prose, Tell Me I’m An Artist examines the invisible divide created by class and privilege, ruminates on the shame that follows choosing a path that has not been laid out for you, and interrogates what makes someone an artist at all.


Praise for Tell Me I'm An Artist. . .

"Tell Me I’m An Artist is a stunning, hilarious, perfect ode to growing up and growing into yourself as a girl, a person, a friend, a family member, and an artist . . . A masterpiece and a piece of comedic genius; I loved it and so will you."
Julia Hass, A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of the Year

"Portrait of the artist as a broke and brilliant, hungry and funny young woman, Chelsea Martin’s Tell Me I’m An Artist is an acutely felt and beautifully rendered depiction of all the absurd, messy, complicated layers of trying to make things, a story of not only ambition and yearning, but also of triumph and loving."
Lynn Steger Strong, author of Want

Tell Me I’m An Artist perfectly renders the high-drama of artistic procrastination—the anxiety, the doubt, the hesitation, the momentary flights of confidence, the will I/won’t I. It’s warm, it’s deadpan, it’s absurd. I loved this book.”
Halle Butler, author of The New Me

"Deft and exquisite and singular, Chelsea Martin's Tell Me I'm an Artist urges us to consider what we owe—a lot or a little or zilch—to our families, our friends, our ambitions, ourselves. Funny and crushing, lithe and deep, this novel is that rare combination of pleasure and profundity, a portrait of the artist as a work-in-progress."
Sharma Shields, author of The Cassandra and The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac

Chelsea Martin is the author of the essay collection Caca Dolce and the novella Mickey, among other books. She lives in Spokane, WA with her husband and child. (Photo credit: Clarin J Photography)

Corinne Manning's debut story collection We Had No Rules has received starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher's Weekly the latter noting it "exquisitely examines queer relationships with equal parts humor, heartache, and titillation." They have received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Artist Trust, Hub City Writers Project, and The Banff Centre. They are a teaching artist in Seattle and nationally and on the collective for The Anarchist Review of Books. 

Want a signed edition of the featured book, but can't make it to the event? Order through our website or over the phone, and write your request for a signature or personalization in the comments field at checkout. Please call the hosting store if you're placing your order within 24 hours of the event.

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