[NetBehaviour] Why did you go to art school?

BishopZ xchicago at gmail.com
Mon Aug 31 17:56:29 CEST 2015


I could not afford art school. I tried. I worked as a painter on
construction sites for a year and saved up enough money to go to
school for one semester. The trade-off did not seem worth it to me. So
I bought a computer instead, worked for a few more years saving money.

I learned every artform I could get the equipment for - drawing,
painting, singing, fiction and non-ficiton writing, origami, etc.
While my friends watched television and went to bars, I stayed home
and read philosophy. Eventually started a state school part time,
while I worked part time.

A year and a half after that, I was scraping by and had over $5k in
credit card debt. So I dropped out and went back to work full time.

About six years after that, I was still carrying the debt, but I had
published several critical theory articles and earned many industry
certifications from Adobe and Google. Thus, while I did not have a
bachelors degree, I happened to be otherwise well-qualified for a
teaching position at a university.

While getting a job at an art school was a vindication for me, my
colleges made it clear that academia would never be a long term career
path for me because I did not have a degree. I taught for about four
years before I felt the need to go work someplace where I did have a
future.

As an artist, I have been much more successful than most people I
know, more than most of my students for that matter. I have sold
paintings and sculptures. I successfully toured the US for three years
as a performer.

I am thankful for the opportunities I have had, especially the
collaborations I have done with other artists I respect. The thing I
find most ironic about my particular path is how much ire it draws
from corporate designers.

As much as academics are tethered to the formalism of accreditation,
corporations are blinded by their own formalism in creative fields.
Corporate designers are fond of saying that a degree is meaningless.
It is all about the portfolio, they say. However, the aesthetic
limitations of an "acceptable" portfolio are constrained to that which
demonstrates the intelligence of pop, the bombastic of bland, and the
beauty of manipulation.

Imo, any artwork you do which is daring, edgy or unusual, will hurt
you when attempting to leave academia - at least here in the US.

Bishop


On Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 8:20 AM, Kath O'Donnell <aliak77 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm going to art school now, albeit remotely via online uni, so it might not
> be the same as what the original post was about. am going to weekly painting
> & drawing classes in person too at an art school. mostly because my grade 10
> art teacher said I'd regret giving up art (for straight maths/science) and I
> did. I went on to study some science/engineering/IT and work in technical
> jobs. so thought it was time to try art again. plus it's feeling like I get
> to use less & less creativity at work as I age compared to when I was
> younger. the way the projects are done has changed so it's more task driven
> now. going to art school is rekindling my creativity, and making me think
> differently too.
>
>
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> NetBehaviour at netbehaviour.org
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