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Old 11-15-2007, 11:25 AM
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linencanvas linencanvas is offline
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confused

I am in my second year of school at VCU, I took a few years off to save up money, but it is still just my second year. Lately I have been confused on what I am doing in art school. I do "traditional" style art of landscapes, and just beautiful things around me that make people smile, art school seemes to look down on these things, they seem to want to mold students into modern and contemporary artists, and I feel like that is not for me, and it is not what I wanted out of this place. I have been debating on dropping out, but I just dont know if it is worth it, or if it is just me that feels down about being here. I want a life in the mountains, where I can paint.....
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Old 11-15-2007, 11:46 AM
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Paint what you Love not what they tell you

Some universities these days are not doing a good job of teaching marketable skills to many artists, instead they teach social issues and politics. You won't see any artists or illustrators earning a living at much of what they are teaching you, so you need to educate yourself.

You have alot of posibilities, don't panic. Your reason for being in school is to learn a trade to enable you to make money. That is your goal. Don't expect to earn a living by selling your paintings right away. Those skills and marketing savy don't come fast and easy. For some it never comes.

If you want to do commericial art, stay in school and get your degree. You can earn a good living doing Web graphics, Graphic Design or illustration.

If you have another skill or interest that you enjoy besides painting that you can earn a living with, do that, and paint in your spare time.

I work professionally as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator and do my own art on the side. I love what I do, so my advice is to do what you love.

Here is a excellent resource for a young budding artist.
Study this site as much as you can.

http://www.artrenewal.org/
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:15 PM
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DesertDarlene DesertDarlene is offline
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Re: confused

I went through the exact same thing you went through when I was an art student over 20 years ago. I ended up getting disillusioned and changing majors. I still continued to do my art, however, going to demonstrations and studying on my own. But, looking back on it, I feel that I may have missed out on some valuable skills that took longer to obtain than if had a I stayed an art student.

So, I don't know if I'd recommend that path, though, especially if you are interested in teaching art or a job in commercial design, which I wasn't when I was in school. I just wanted to be an artist.
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:12 PM
Enchanted Enchanted is offline
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Re: confused

Quote:
Originally Posted by linencanvas
I am in my second year of school at VCU

I am assuming that is Virginia Commonwealth University?

You're facing the same dilemma that so many face when they believe that attending a UNIVERSITY in the USA is about "learning a trade." It's about obtaining a broader education at university level - not the same as learning a trade in a trade school.

For your purposes, you should be enrolled in one of the various schools of art that have the words in the school name such as: academy, atelier, institute, design - or otherwise identify themselves as "colleges of art." There you're much more likely to learn the various aspects of the "art trades."

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Old 11-16-2007, 06:35 AM
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linencanvas linencanvas is offline
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Re: confused

Thanks for all the posts they have been very helpful and I really apreciate everyones thoughts, it made me smile
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Old 11-17-2007, 12:24 AM
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Keith Russell Keith Russell is offline
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Re: confused

Quote:
Originally Posted by linencanvas
I am in my second year of school at VCU, I took a few years off to save up money, but it is still just my second year. Lately I have been confused on what I am doing in art school. I do "traditional" style art of landscapes, and just beautiful things around me that make people smile, art school seemes to look down on these things, they seem to want to mold students into modern and contemporary artists, and I feel like that is not for me, and it is not what I wanted out of this place. I have been debating on dropping out, but I just dont know if it is worth it, or if it is just me that feels down about being here. I want a life in the mountains, where I can paint.....

I'll be graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute in December, with a BFA in painting.

I'm going through many of the same feelings and frustrations as you. I'm not at all enamoured of Modernism, yet many of the drawing and painting teacher at KCAI are Modernists, or have strong Modernist sympathies.

I see no reason why art cannot be both conceptually strong, and aesthetically pleasing, at the same time--yet I've had fellow students who have told me to my face that art is either conceptual or beautiful, but cannot be both at once. I've had teachers tell me that inventing figures according to Classical 'rules of proportion' is 'fascist' (!), and my work has been shredded in critiques to the point where I haven't painted for three semesters. (I've been sculpting.)

Still, there have been a couple painting and drawing teachers at the school who have really challenged me, and I am drawing better than ever, and I think when I do return to painting, I'll be painting as well as ever, too.

Hang in there, try to find teachers at the school who will help you develop your ideas, rather than try to make you accept theirs. And be strong about it; you're going to have to be able to rely on your own ideas after you leave school--they should be helping you move toward that point, now.

Good luck!
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Old 11-17-2007, 06:29 PM
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Re: confused

Boy, Keith Russell, you've pretty much hit it on the nose. My teachers weren't as political as yours sound, but they did have strong views against realism. It was funny one semester when I had one teacher that didn't mind realism and the other was absolutely dead set against it. It made for an interesting semester, though.
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Old 11-17-2007, 07:03 PM
Enchanted Enchanted is offline
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Re: confused

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertDarlene
....one semester when I had one teacher that didn't mind realism and the other was absolutely dead set against it. It made for an interesting semester, though.

It's a rare combination, IME, to find excellent teachers who are also fine artists, and vice versa. And I believe this is a universal problem in art schools of all types. The professors who made the most impact on me in my student days, were those who CHALLENGED me to do more than simply create pleasing art. And along with the challenge, they were able to articulate whatever points they were trying to impress on me.

OTOH, I can recall one particular professor who is remembered by me for his inability to say anything worthy of my consideration - he'd stand and talk to me for what seemed like an hour, and he might as well have been an alien from Mars speaking Martian, for all I got out of him.

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Old 11-19-2007, 09:29 PM
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Re: confused

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertDarlene
Boy, Keith Russell, you've pretty much hit it on the nose. My teachers weren't as political as yours sound, but they did have strong views against realism.

The real irony, though, is that the teacher who said that is an excellent painter, and paints figurative works from models she builds herself, as well as from her own imagination.

The 'look' of her oil paintings resembles really good airbrushed work, and--as an airbrush artist myself--I was hoping to learn a bit of her technical methods during my seniour year.

Didn't happen, and I didn't learn (or paint) much during the two semesters she was my teacher.


Quote:
It was funny one semester when I had one teacher that didn't mind realism and the other was absolutely dead set against it. It made for an interesting semester, though.
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Old 12-15-2007, 07:01 PM
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Re: confused

I went through the same thing 30 years ago, although when I look back most of the teachers were actually more open-minded about it than the other students. I had nothing against the conceptual work, but it just wasn't me.I got my degree, but wish I had taken something like Illustration instead, because it would have been more about skill-building. I majored in printmaking because the prof actually taught us how to do stuff.
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:39 AM
Enchanted Enchanted is offline
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Re: confused

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Originally Posted by sundiver
I majored in printmaking because the prof actually taught us how to do stuff.

That brings up a very good point that isn't often discussed when considering what is taught in schools. Painting, drawing, illustration and similar courses of study are fairly "safe" activities that don't require a lot of oversight to see that students use the facilities correctly / safely.

Printmaking, sculpture, woodworking, weaving, and other such courses that require students to share expensive infrastructure (to say nothing of using tools safely) are more likely to be closely structured to teach how to use the facilities correctly. No one wants to see some student drop and break a slab of limestone used in lithography studio classes, for example. Or cut off a finger while using a bandsaw in wood shop. Or blow up a ceramics kiln by forgetting to turn off the gas.

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Old 12-27-2007, 12:29 PM
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Re: confused

Most MFAs are only a masters of their own creative process. IMO, many schools confuse this with polictical and social indoctrination. It's arogant and narrow to think that all good art must elevate a viewer in only these ways.

Last edited by MikeN : 12-27-2007 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 12-28-2007, 12:02 AM
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Re: confused

I found the purpose of college was to push you out of your comfort zone and into something new, a new path to explore, an introduction to new things. So you are a realist, you already know realism, why do you want to pay all that money for school to lead you down a path you already know?

I have a friend, she actually started her school at VCU but them decided on a school closer to home. But she struggled with the same problems in both schools she attend. The teachers were asking her to try a new style, one she didn't like, one she refused to explore. She decided to drop the fine art ambition and get another related degree. She refused to learn what they were trying to teacher her.

Perhaps your teachers see in your work something that would benefit you to explore a new path. This doesn't mean you must always and forever work in that style, it means learn all you can from that style and then step back and see what new curve that it has put in your chosen path.

My drawing teacher in college told us all that while in school "be a sponge" soak up all you can and later you can squeeze out what you don't need. So my advice is to "be a sponge" while ignoring the slings and arrows of opinions that try to shoot down what you love but keep an open mind to the positives that exploring other styles and mediums can bring to your current work to make it better.
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Old 12-28-2007, 04:17 PM
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Re: confused

^^^^^^

what that person said...x3

no matter what style you are, your tutors will always pick holes in it. I study at Camberwell (its a British thing) and im constantly told off, even for doing off the wall things that they want you to do...and i revel in being ostentatious by doing the stereotypical "kooky" way of art making (the stuff ive posted here, is prudent compared to my "other" art, if you can call it art)...so dont think that art tutors just pick on the traditionals, they just want you to question why you are doing something...

the greatest tutors ive had, are the ones ive had riotious arguments and disagreed fully with (apart from one, she was just a silly bitch...)

"hate what you do, love what you are"...

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