Tip I wish I'd known 1:
When dealing with color value projects, holding your laptop precariously above your desk and using photobooth's black and white effect will save your life. It is extremely difficult - at least, for me - to tell when you've got a yellow and a purple at the same value level. Black and white pictures solve that problem.
The downside of using this handy tip is that it makes it clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that half your paint squares are wrong. Which leads to the second downside.
|The end result of that mess up there. Some of it is still wrong, but I don't care.|
DOWNSIDE: Even if you, by some miracle, retain your drive to attain perfection, you can never have it. At least, not when you're working with cheap-o acrylic paint. See photo above.
DOWNSIDE: I know that each major or field of study has it's own tricky bits. But I think I can safely claim that art has the most potential for technical mishaps. Meticulous execution and spotless presentation are required - in projects involving paint. Paint. And tape that pulls bits of paper off the surface of your illustration board after you've finished the project.
DOWNSIDE: Your clothes get ruined. You are never clean again. I found paint behind my ear the other day.
DOWNSIDE: You ingest things you should not.
Do you see the danger here? It's unspeakably easy for your preoccupied brain to allow your hand to put a nice, painty brush into your tea cup. Also, I tend to hold things in my mouth. Using the old choppers to hold onto a pen is alright, but when you're sticking paintbrushes in there, things can get unpleasant very, very quickly. And grown-up paint isn't non-toxic. If I'm dead tomorrow, Mom, this is why. I tremble to think of the day when I start using turpentine.
DOWNSIDE: You have to hear people rave about art that's about "the process" and "kinetic energy" and "a return to child-like enjoyment of mark-making". If someone says to you, "oh, we should go to this show, it's all about the process of kinetic mark-making," run. I mean, unless you like giant pages of scribbles or prints made by scraping things across wood. Personally, I loathe that sort of art. I think it's ridiculous. I DON'T CARE about the artist's process. I wasn't there when he made the silly thing. Why does his process matter to me? It's a cop-out, really. Nobody judges a film or book by the process they didn't see and weren't a part of - they look at the results. As you can see, this makes me get a little bit worked up.
But, I can't really just leave it like this. As exhausted and grouchy as I may be now, I still have to admit that there are upsides.
UPSIDES OF BEING AN ART STUDENT:
UPSIDE: You get to say you're an art student. Even if you're to be the most boring, technical web-design person on earth, while in school you get to say you're studying art. Which definitely ups your cool factor.
UPSIDE: You can wear weird things. This can make up for the inconvenience of ruined clothes. So far, my jacket, sweatshirt, black v-neck, polka-dot pajama pants and white tank top have been irreparably splattered, smeared, or spotted with paint. But, because I can shrug and look embarrassed and say "I'm an art student" if anyone mentions it, it doesn't matter. Though, I think the tank top is a goner. It's got a big smear of red-violet which, now that it has dried, looks like a giant stab wound.
UPSIDE: You get to listen to your ipod in class.
UPSIDE: I'm beginning to feel like a problem-solving god. That's what you do, really. Solve problems. For example, every week for 2-D design, I have to represent the same item (one of my high-tops, to be precise) in a new way that corresponds with the things we're studying. "How do I represent my shoe?" is a fairly simple problem I have to solve every week. It sounds silly, but knowing I can get down to business and do a project is empowering. I feel like I can tackle almost anything. Except taxes and flat tires.
UPSIDE: The people are weird. Marvelously entertaining. And you have to wonder how they decided to study ceramics or blacksmithing.
UPSDE: You get to buy stuff at Art Outfitters (a wondrous place) instead of Textbook Brokers.
UPSIDE: In spite of the frustration, long hours (3:30 am is the current record for agonizingly late bedtimes), weeping and gnashing of teeth, it's pretty fun.
So I guess the ecstasy balances out the agony, in the end.