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habondia
12-27-2004, 11:03 AM
Hello all,
I am thinking of going back to university-level art school (different system here in Sweden). It's the art academy, and it is a five-year programme, very intense and very difficult to get in. I already have a university degree from almost ten years ago in a different subject but I now know that I want to dedicate my life to art.

I am wondering if there is anyone here who went back to study art at a later age, and if there is any advice they have? Encouragement welcomed also... :o

Keith Russell
12-27-2004, 12:56 PM
habondia:

I graduated from a juniour college (2-year commercial art program) sixteen years ago, and enrolled in the Kansas City Art Institute (four-year, fully-accredited, fine art degree program) this past semester. So, I'm two decades older than the 'average' student. (I'm 38...)

Advice? Well, I feel that I already have quite an advantage; I've already lived in the 'real world', and so I already know a great deal about how it works. I've exhibited my artwork regionally; I've been accepted to juried shows; I've been published; I've curated shows, and have worked with a variety of artists and artistic styles.

Also--perhaps most importantly--I'm finished with the drinking, drugs, partying, and other nonsense. Many of my fellow students are having to deal with these distractions, in addition to the pressures of their academic and studio classes.

I'm there only to study, to learn, to create art, and earn my degree.

The only other advice I could give comes now that I have a semester of actual school experience behind me.

Follow your own vision, first. Most of your fellow students will be a lot younger than you. They have 'today's' way of doing things (not a bad thing, in and of itself). But, they often resist (as people tend to do) anything that is different. They might to get you to try 'new' things (especially in critique); this can have the effect of causing you to your doubt your vision. While they certainly mean well, they don't realize that--especially in art--conformity is bad. (They probably don't even think of it as 'conformity'.) But it is; these 'new' techniques, processes, etc. are what most everyone else is already doing.

I have also noticed, in each of my class critiques, that there is one student (mabye two) who is consistently, deliberately contrary. If a student has created a digital work, the contrarian will suggest that the student try painting or drawing. If a student presents a painting, the contrarian will suggest that the student try creating digitally. These comments are always about process, never about content. Also, they are always negative, always about what this person thinks their fellow students should have done, never about what they actually did.

Class participation is important (and it is often part of one's grade). But, it seems that some students make suggestions just to be saying something--anything; not necessarily because they have something constructive or relevant to add.

By all means, listen to what your fellow students have to say (I find that this sort of feedback is a large part of what is making my school experience valuable).

But, I recommend giving all comments (even those from your instructors) careful consideration before simply accepting what someone else is saying about you or your work.

Best wishes to you. I think it's absolutely worth it!

K

Quiet
12-28-2004, 01:04 AM
Class participation is important (and it is often part of one's grade). But, it seems that some students make suggestions just to be saying something--anything; not necessarily because they have something constructive or relevant to add.


Keep in mind that your fellow students have not yet had your experience of years giving and receiving critiques. For many of them, it is the first time they are standing up in front of a group talking. They are learning how to critique, as well as how to make art.

habondia
12-28-2004, 12:32 PM
Thanks very much Keith. I agree with all of your points about the plusses of being older and appreciate your encouragement.

It is true that it takes practise to both give and take critique. Knowing who and what to listen to isn't easy. Knowing what to say isn't always easy either. There are of course always those who love to hear their own voice, and on the other side those who think they never need any help. I have been guilty of all of these things somewhere along the line...but now that I am older and wiser no doubt I will be perfect at both giving and receiving. :p

Keith Russell
12-30-2004, 07:35 PM
Keep in mind that your fellow students have not yet had your experience of years giving and receiving critiques. For many of them, it is the first time they are standing up in front of a group talking. They are learning how to critique, as well as how to make art.

Quite right.

I was thinking only of one posible ways that younger students' can affect the older student. But, of course, we 'non-traditional' (geezer) students can also have an impact on the younger students, too.

And I certainly try to have a positive influence, if I have any influence at all!

K

Quiet
12-30-2004, 07:53 PM
And I certainly try to have a positive influence, if I have any influence at all!
K

I found that in a classroom setting at least as much of my learning came from seeing what the other students did. You're probablly a terrific resource for the rest of the class. Hopefully they are equally a resource for you.

Keith Russell
12-30-2004, 10:53 PM
I found that in a classroom setting at least as much of my learning came from seeing what the other students did. You're probablly a terrific resource for the rest of the class. Hopefully they are equally a resource for you.

As I said, it's only one or maybe two people in each class who seem to think that 'participation' means never missing an opportunity to criticize. I've felt challenged to try to find ways of responding, that reduce any bad vibes.

That--too--has been quite a learning experience!

And, yes, being part of an active group of creators (our painting class will remain the same 'core' group of students through graduation) is undeniably inspiring.

K