Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Day two: Figure it out.

Don’t be an asshole. Don’t be entitled. Don’t expect anyone to give you something you’re not willing to work for yourself.

I know. Those are cranky, bitter things to say.
I’m sorry. Some people are assholes. Maybe they’re only assholes part time. Maybe it’s just that they are having a bad day. I’m probably an asshole too. Either way, I have to start with that.

That is currently number one on my what makes me angry about higher education list. That a community where people are supposed to be challenged and pushed and questioned has devolved into a customer service industry. In customer service we are taught that the customer is always right. Sometimes the customer feels like what they are paying entitles them to exceptionally unrealistic expectations. The customer feels that their purchase gives them the right to treat their fellow human beings, who are often overworked and underpaid, in a way that they don’t deserve.

So, lesson one in how to become an artist: Do most of it yourself. Figure it out.

I can already hear you asking, if I’m doing this myself, why am I paying for school? Well, that’s really simple to answer. There are things you already know that you need to learn. For example, maybe you want to be a figurative painter. If you’re starting from square one, that means practice. So much practice. You don’t have to go to a figure drawing or anatomy class to learn how to draw the figure. You are a figure. Draw your hands, your feet and face over and over and eventually you’ll figure some of the basics out and you’ll start to see certain parts of the figure you weren’t noticing before. You have the potential to make incredible figure drawings all on your own.

That being said there are many other aspects of proportion and technique that you aren’t noticing. There are artists who you may benefit from looking at. There may be a type of paper you’ve never drawn on before. These are some of the reasons why people go to school, why being in an educational community is valuable, and why that process changes the work people make. It doesn’t replace practice. It doesn’t replace independent making.

If you really want this, DO IT.
Do everything you can think of.

And don’t be an asshole.

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