Tag Archives: school

Dilemmas of being an art student… taking a paid gig while you are still in undergrad

You get what you pay for

This letter came across via email at the Miami University Art department. What it literally says is that a woman is looking for a student from the art department, that was able to do a photography wedding gig. What I read was that the woman was looking for less expensive way of getting her wedding photographed, hoping that a student would want to do this for less because it would help the student by being able to put it on their resume.

I agree that it is very important for these opportunities come across for students, but this also brings up a gray area; when does someone become a professional artist??? I’m not sure that there is a clear cut definition for this, but for me it was when I wanted to become a professional artist. The day I wanted to become a professional artist was the day I decided to. Even-though I was still in undergrad, I decided that I wanted to be taken seriously as an artist. So I did.

There are many times in school where we feel like we are just practicing for the “real” thing when we graduate. The real thing is practicing, each piece is an exercise in how we express ourselves. Each piece, if we deem it so, is a professional piece. Along with this, I recently gave a lecture on Social Media and the artist for upcoming graduating art majors. Most of them didn’t have a site, which meant that they didn’t have a way of making them professionals. Am I saying that you need a website to be professional? No, not really, I am saying that as someone in undergrad it helps define you as a serious practitioner and allows you to open your audience to more than just the people in you temporal location.

At the end of the day, you are only a professional as you take yourself. If you know you do quality work, charge that much for it. It takes a long time for an artist to cultivate the skills they need in order to do what they do, and no one usually pays them to learn theses things. Keeping that in mind always charge what YOU are worth, not just the specific job at hand.

Crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s.

Miami University
I have recently tried to graduate from college. The only requirement I have left to fill is a US Cultures requirement for Gen Ed. I was never able to take this class, one because of miscommunication with my advisor of the time and two because I switched degrees halfway through. To solve this problem I looked through my unused classes and found a class based around the history of the American (US – remember this because it come back later) school system. So I submitted the petition pretty sure that I would be able to graduate, and waited for the letter in the mail over winter break.

Well the letter never came, not because they didn’t send the letter but because the incorrectly transcribed the street. Instead of ‘Morning Sun rd’ they wrote it as “Morningsun rd” thoroughly confounding the Post Office (surprise!!!). After my parents getting a letter saying that my degree requirements were not met I called the Office of Liberal Education, it took about 15 minutes searching on Miami University’s website (which is built on tables), to find out that it was denied. I asked if they could just email me the letter instead of sending it snail mail again, and they did.

Upon receiving the email it stated:

“Your Miami Plan petition has been reviewed. The petition, to substitute EDL
204, Sociocultures in Education, for the Foundation IIIA US Cultures
requirement, has been denied. It was noted that this course is a Miami Plan
Humanities course, not a World Cultures course.”

Of course it doesn’t qualify for a World Cultures course. I NEVER wanted it to qualify for a World Cultures Course!!! Wait, but before that its says that they are counting it for a Foundation IIIA US Cultures
requirement which one is it!?!?!?

If there would have been a system for this, where I could submit a petition online and selected the category in which I wanted the class I took to count, then sent emails to my advisor and Chief Departmental Advisor for the class where they could login and electronically sign the petition all of this would be avoided, and not to mention saved the university a whole lot of paper shuffling.

Miami got most of the things right, as do most people, but if the University would have proofread what they sent me then my confusion and aggravation could have been avoided. And design systems where the human factor of error is a small as possible, but not sacrificing the human element.

Why do we need to know how to draw anyways???


Why is it if I draw like this...

After a conversation, about the benefits of drawing, with a previous professor at the local coffee shop. I started to think about the current pedagogy of teaching the practice of creating fine art.

If drawing is the basis of art, as I am told, then why don’t you need to be able to draw to be an artist these days. Now some people might disagree with me, but please finish reading until you post a comment.

I think that there are very good lesson learned from drawing such as; understanding the difference between what you see and what you think you see, understanding how/why you make the marks that you make, and refining ideas. In my undergrad experience I had to take six drawing classes and only two of those classes actually taught me the lessons above. The reason is because before drawing 3/4 we did small task based assignments (contour line, inner contour line, perspective). I don’t disagree with learning these things, but I do disagree with the way they were taught. Because they were treated as isolated assignments I just wanted to get them done and over with.

I can conceptualize things like this

I can conceptualize things like this

That was drawing 1/2 and then I ended up in drawing 3/4 the atmosphere changed. The class wasn’t treated as a “class” but more of a workshop. We came in and drew vigorously from life for two hours and then reflected on the drawings, learning and thinking after every step.
I think that it is the process of making – reflecting – acting – making, in which became the invaluable lesson of drawing.

I think that after you realize this process in drawing you can apply it to any other form of art without sitting down and drawing. For me it is most appropriate for an idea to spring into my head – then sit on it – then do some samples – then make it. Because I don’t sit down and do a detailed sketch of exactly what it will look like give me the flexibility to evolve alongside the piece.

At some point “drawing” becomes more of a technical problem instead of a learning dialogue. I think it is time to acknowledge this. By doing so we can substitute what we can learn from most processes what we learn from drawing, therefore turning drawing into a mere technical problem.