Art School

A girl in one of my Facebook groups recently started a small education conversation. She mentioned how Georgia O'Keeffe had gone to New York to learn all about art, then had to spend a lot of time "unlearning" all she had been taught. Our comments were referring to art education, art classes, the merit of being "taught" art... and this sort of conversation always gets me flustered. I was sitting here hemming and hawing about what to blog about and after commenting on her post, figured I could share this topic as a greater conversation... this is where the fluster comes in...

I have high anxiety about higher art education after having finished a Photography MFA program at Syracuse. People today always get on me as to why I am not using my degree (why am I not shooting weddings, or baby portraits is what I hear..." and I think I have developed a great amount of guilt about it. The simple answer is of course I just dont want to... which sounds pretty bratty when I say it out loud. For me, the entire experience of a graduate degree in art gave me a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Not because of the process necessarily, but I think art school breeds a different type of people. Instead of art being fun, inspirational, free, spiritual... it just seems to become hard, critical, theoretical, and competitive. And I think these two different kinds of artists are commonly identified separately in the world too, so it isnt just me. There is the hippie, free love, finger painter and the nose in the air, all black wearing, gallery schmoozer. Haha... true or not, there they are. Thus my conundrum. I feel I have been trained to be a "fine artist" but am much happier in the "crafting" category which means I should have educationally pursued something different altogether to be able to both, make a living, and create things happily! As it is, I just hop from tolerable job to (sometimes intolerable) job, wondering what all the "real artists" are doing and when I am going to have to grow up.

Although I know all the kids I went to school with are kind of doing the same thing, it just looks better. You are all familiar with the phrase, "Those who can't DO, TEACH"? Well that is a lot of what my peers are doing for a living, not to take away from teaching... I just always think about one of my professors firmly telling me when I expressed some dismay at the idea of teaching that, "We are not training you to be a bunch of teachers..." Haha... I know it just sounds better to be able to tell people you are teaching until you become famous, as opposed to working retail until you can sell stuff on Etsy! But in the end, aren't we all just getting by, trying to supplement our craft with a paying job, regardless of what it is? I dont know... I may just have to find some contentment in knowing I may only have menial jobs all my life to support my creative tendencies and be thankful I have a loving husband who thus far has been willing to put up with my right brain antics...

CAN YOU SEE HOW THIS MAKES ME ANXIOUS?

I had even though I wouldn't type this post because I wasn't sure I wanted to put it all out there... I know I could rant on it forever, boo hooing, and blah blah blahing... I looked at my coffee as I contemplated what to do...
Maybe I should drink out of this cup everyday! 

Ultimately I told myself I would post a short version of my thoughts, but... as you can see I tend to go on... Maybe you have something to add? Who is actually out there doing what they wanted to do when they grew up? Or all we all just getting by? 

O'Keefe concluded that, "Schools and things that painters have taught me even keep me from painting as I want to. I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to and say what I want to when I painted..."