Friday, June 30, 2006

Academic art

When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college - that my job was to teach people how to draw.

She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, "You mean they forget?"

- Howard Ikemoto

I picked up my copy of Art & Fear today and have been delving into it. I keep saying 'Yes, yes, yes' to myself as I read it, as if it is unravelling the secrets of my mind and letting them spill out.

There is a section on the academic world which rings true in many ways and explores the role of art education as either student or faculty and compares either as being 'as attractive as standing beneath a steady drizzle of dead cats.'

"The discouraging truth is that MFA degrees were created largely to provide - and then satisfy - a prerequisite for obtaining teaching jobs. This in effect rendered the entire system a pyramid scheme: it worked only so long as there were a dozen entering freshmen to match with each graduating MFA. For better or worse, this pyramid began crumbling years ago. Today, art education is a steady-state universe, creating virtually no new jobs at all. Chances are - statistically speaking - that if you study art with a goal of teaching it, you'll end up with a career in sales. You study artmaking in order to learn about artmaking."

The numbers of people I have talked with who have gone to art schools and come away disturbed and turned off art makes this statement ring true more and more. Someone teaching you THEIR technique and insisting that is the only way is detrimental to self expression and can stifle creativity and deaden the soul.

I have been experimenting with watercolour tonight in an effort to produce some test illustrations relating to children. A combination of pen and ink and watercolour seems to work. The reference wasn't what I wanted, but I consider it a 'warm up' for the real thing.

Technorati tags: , , , , ,

1 comment:

Mary said...

Jeanette you work is always good even when you are experimenting. I love these sketches. I will have to get a copy of Art and Fear myself as I see several people quoting it.

Your blog is always so interesting to read.