When I tell people I'm studying art in college, I always get a variety of answers:
That's so cool! I mean, I guess.
I bet that's so much fun! Not as much as you'd think.
Or, my favorite, the condescending, sarcastic reaction...Oh, so your classes are really hard. Actually they are, asshat. I sit in class for twice the amount of time as other students, getting the same amount of credit, and most of that time is spent listening to stupid idiots talking about color schemes and figure-ground relationships. I consume about 200 grams of bullshit a day, well above the recommended average.
Starving, angsty artist stereotype aside (which is a very real truth), there are a lot of challenges that come along with being an artist. (The first one of course is that no one understands me.)
For example, last night I had to draw six stylized animals and color them black with a Sharpie. Now I know 10th grade boys do that kind of stuff for fun all the time when they're not drinking bottles of NyQuil and huffing spray paint, but this was for an actual assignment. Everything was going fine until I STARTED HALLUCINATING. I thought my shoes were opossums crawling across the floor (I also have a fear of wild animals in my house for which I'm undergoing psychoanalysis, so as you can imagine this terrified me). Whatever, I got up and got some fresh air, made some tea, and listened to some Sean Paul. Next thing I know I'm reabsorbed into my work and my thoughts start wandering to things like "Lines are just so beautiful. People don't appreciate lines. Lines, man. Lines..." I texted people I don't remember texting. All night I dreamed of crying hysterically as I rode around campus on a horse made of Sharpies.
My other current assignment is to create a brand identity for a company. It's a good project because it's applicable to the real world: business cards, envelopes, letterheads, the whole nine yards. But do you know how expensive color ink is? The reason artists are all starving is two-fold: they make no money, and they spend all their money on stupid stuff like $30 punch cutters. Anyway, I busted my butt all weekend to come up with a million versions of various stationeries to impress my extremely Asian and extremely demanding professor, who I understand about ten percent of the time. I think I've done a kick-ass job and I show him my hard work. His response? Too large, too busy, you need to design two more logos and then apply them in four different ways across five different medium of material. MAN, I DON'T KNOW NUMBERS, WHY DO YOU THINK I'M HERE?! But alas, the same thing will happen on Thursday. It's no wonder art students have self-esteem problems, because what they do is never good enough.
Furthermore, I know Michael's better than anyone should ever know Michael's. I look like I'm going fishing every time I go to class because I have to carry around a tackle box to hold my all my scissors and glue sticks. The fact that I have glue sticks is a problem in itself.
|Just another day in class.|
People carry things like drills through the art building and it's normal. Last night as I was leaving class, my friend was dropping off a grandfather clock (A LARGE, ENORMOUS GRANDFATHER CLOCK) to use in his fiber class. If I had to guess, he'll probably spend 36 hours covering it in yarn, because that's the kind of thing professors eat up. The grade you get on a project is directly correlated with your sleep levels: the less you sleep, the higher your grade.
People in science classes complain about spending $150 on a textbook. I spent $150 on a package of paper this semester. At least your pages have words and pictures on them. Mine was just a package of paper. I stopped wearing decent clothes to class around sophomore year, a) because everyone in my class looks like they slept in a dumpster the night before (which they probably did), and b) because I'm always covered in some unidentifiable material. I don't throw away scraps of paper because I'll probably have to use it in a project that I will title "Pile of Trash." I've seen the documentary about Helvetica (yes, the font) probably four times.
The biggest problem of all? I WILL NEVER GET A JOB. After four years of critiques, studios, and portfolio reviews, getting married right out of college is starting to sound real appealing. Support me, please.