Sunday, 5 July 2015

Art school rant

Feel free to ignore... i just needed to vent
So, I was watchign a technical dave video
This one to be precise:

and i wanted to talk about my personal experience with Art college.... but i didn't wanna do it in the comment section because i am a coward and commenting on videos is REALLY hard for me.

So in the video he mentions some key things... mostly that they professors will say how open minded they are about something when in truth they really want things one way.

Painting class.
First year: A-chromatic (black and white) Acrylic paintings of shapes for 4 months... and our teacher only allowed us to use one brush (the number 8 that came in our kit) and i think it's the same teacher who Dave mentions "don't copy from a photograph because i will know" cause he gave that speech in our class verbatim...
Anyways... second semester: A-chromatic live model paintings in acrylic... still only one brush. i think we maybe used a bit of colour as well but first year is a bit of a blur as it was pretty boring...

now considering my program was only designed to be three years long that seems a little limiting... but you do learn a lot and i don't mind having the fundimentals beaten into me for a year... but things changed when we got to second year.

Second year:
The focus was trying to get everyone to try every medium including the more hands on ones like Egg Tempera (which we literally had to separate the yokes ourselves and mix the pigment)... we also worked with Acrylic, watercolour and oil... this turned my least favorite class into one of the ones i looked forward to... yeah it was still expensive as hell but i couldn't stand acrylic and it was a nice change of pace.

Second semester: i don't remember if we changed teachers or if i'm remembering things out of order but at the start of the semester the teacher mentioned "ok.... now you have tried a lot of different mediums.... you can use whatever you want for the rest of class****"
gee that sure is nice... wait... i feel a qualifying statement on it's way.
**** I would perfer if you used a fast drying opaque medium though.
Oh son of a--
Look like liked this teacher... i liked most of my teachers but this pulled that stubborness nerve in me like nothing else....
the only fast drying opaque medium we used and can easily buy is acrylic.... which i know after a year and a half i do not like.
I like watercolour... a translucent to transparent medium that is incredibly easy to screw up and can't be rushed....
so after he set up the display i grabbed my watercolour paints and started to set up.
"um.... i know you like that medium but i really would rather you use something like acrylic"
are you kidding me?
"you said we could use any medium we wanted... i want to use watercolour... if it's not good feel free to fail me... but let me try with this first"
I should mention around this time i was coming out of a college induced slump... i HATED being told how to make art... and i did an experiment in a class i knew i couldn't fail (cause the way my school works is your grade builds over the course of the year and you can mark the exact moment you are past 70%) i did what i wanted... vaguely following the base instructions but mostly just a "i do what i want" and i got an A... so yeah i was being incredibly stubborn about being confined by a specific set of rules.

anyways so i continued on with that class painting in watercolour and by the end of it the teacher came up to me "ah i guess i was wrong, this is really nice"
"thank you, sorry for being stubborn but i knew this is what i needed to do"
I felt for the first time i wasn't just being treated like another student.... something college didn't seem to care about teaching...
by the end of it i had a really good grade and i felt better about myself.

Third year:
Teacher knew me and understood i was going to only use watercolour... didn't even fight me on it... this year was about about finding yourself and trying new stuff... it was my favorite year.... well other then like... 70% of my entire grade hanging on different aspects of a Thesis series... that part wasn't fun.
anyways this teacher rocked, all the stuff dave mentions in his video... he didn't follow
"Good artist copy, great artist steal" (meaning techniques or concepts or ways to look at things not actual literal stealing)
"you can use paint just out of the tube.... thats why they make so many colours."
"oh i have all these photo references for my next series...."
"yeah paint whatever you want... i'm going to work on my next gallery piece and i'll come by to check on you later... you're adults so take your break whenever"

but the thing he made me realize was that we hadn't been taught something really important.... no one had taught us how to build a canvas from scratch... on the first day he expected us to bring in ones we made but we were never taught how....
pretty big thing to miss!

The shit i learned in art school was that i didn't learn what i needed to learn in art school.

i learned a lot of technique and i tried new things and i found confidence i never had before but there was still so much that was left out cause we were so damn focused on the bullshit side of the art world and not the actual practical side.

These aren't your classmates they are you peers... teachers can also be included into this since most of them were active artists.
being able to build your stuff from scratch is really important considering that you know the exact dimensions you want and the art store may not sell it. why should you need to compromise.
and most importantly
This should be lesson 1.
but no... lesson 1 was draw squares....
lesso 2 was how you hold a pencil.
lesson three was how you hold a brush

There is no wrong way to art, never let anyone tell you there is... some ways connect with a vide variety of people and some don't, some are visually appealing and some are not...
but no matter what there isn't a wrong way.

One time in business class out teacher mentioned that those who paint with themes like colour and flowers are hacks.
yeah well thats my bread and butter... so i had a few choice words
"art should offend and be political"
yeah only if you are into that.... if you make something because thats what it should be and not because it's what you want to make then you are wasting everyones time with your pretentious bullsh*t
"you'll probably be poor your entire life, get used to it now" or "money is a corrupting factor... let your art be pure"
no.... money pays the bills and makes sure i don't have to starve... artists don't need to be poor to make something that connects... they don't need to be damn near crazy to be considered talented and they don't need to follow a specific (and may i add outdated) set of rules

Between second and third year i worked on a film, partly because i was asked and partly because i needed to pay for 3rd year and i had to quite my crappy cashier job.

I had many people asking "why did you come back... you had a job"
because there was still other stuff i wanted to learn... not from the classes but from the teachers and my peers.... i learned so much those three years and i think i'm a better artist for it..

is art college something i reccomend? yes and no
Yes - you will learn if you are open to it... both about yourself and about art.
No - there is a lot of crap to wade through to get to the moments of actual learning.

also if you ever have a gallery you are expected (not forced but still) to thank your college... you become part of their branding... and i'm not so okay with that.

still those 3 years were fun and i wouldn't change them...
even if there was a whole lot of stupid going on in that first year.

This ended up longer then expected... sorry

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