23 October, 2011


DOWNSIDE: Early in your studies, the work is extremely tedious.   Presumably, projects where we actually have to use some, you know, creativity will come along.  But right now it's "make a perfect cross-section of two colors using the (perfect) 7-step value scale you did two weeks ago and have probably lost by now, you disorganized kid, you." After figuring out what on earth a cross-section of two colors is supposed to be, you actually have to paint the thing.  Basically, it was making different shades of a color match the values of a white to black grayscale.  Did that explanation actually help at all? I'm feeling doubtful.

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: Apathy.  When you, for example, use photobooth to photograph your project, you will find that at least half of it is wrong, and apathy sets in.  For a while, the desire to fix things, for perfection, will drive re-do's.  But, at a certain point, you stop caring.  Breaking into the not-caring zone is a bit of a relief, but it's also not entirely positive.

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.


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.
Bad joke.

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