Going to art school was one of the best experiences of my life and I spent 6 years in three different universities/colleges learning and meeting many people. I liked art school, because I was constantly learning something new, pushing myself and expanding my art practice. I really took the opportunity to dip my “brush” just in about everything I could from drawing, painting, printmaking and embroidery to express my ideas. If you’re toying with the idea of going to art school here are some reasons that you should go.
1- You want to get better at what you do…and quicker.
You’ll fast track your learning through art school, because of the pace of the projects and the critical feedback that you get from professors and peers. Professors will give you the skills and tools you need to become a better artist and thinker.
2- You want to expand your art practice conceptually
How many times has someone said to me that art is about emotion. Well…….yes and no. Art evokes an emotion, but for the most part has always been based on an idea or the exploration of an idea. When you go to art school, they teach you for example not only how to draw a portrait with accurate proportions, but dive deeper into what portraiture is all about, how did different artists treat portraiture, how to use symbolic visual language to convey meaning, what symbolic language you might not be aware that you are using, historical expansions on how portraiture was done, all of these help to inform your visual practice as an artist and round you out to have a more mature and polished practice. Your art practice may be about silly things, but it can still be mature in the ideas that you ground yourself in.
3- You want to connect into a community
Love them or hate them, art school brings all kinds of broody, crazy personalities together and whether or not you like someone, you can receive and be incredibly impacted by their feedback as well as artistic practice. There are people that I don’t particularly care for that have offered me great suggestions, advice and feedback. I also learned through looking at their art how to expand my visual vocabulary. Also, I made some of the best friends I probably will ever have through art school. Lots of times friends in our regular community don’t really understand the studio practices and things we go through as artists so its nice to have friends that get it.
4- You want to learn to use equipment that will enable different processes to expand your practice. Art school brings about tools and equipment that you might not have access to or wouldn’t have access to without learning about through school. In my bachelor’s degree alone I learned: how to use almost every power tool in the woodshop and how to build things, learned how to weld, used printing presses and learned a variety of printmaking techniques (also painting, sculpting and drawing with various mediums). These things are great because the more you know how to use, the better you can expand your practice.
Oh hello, welcome to my blog, hacking a BFA. Is it an academic blog or is it just an art blog? I don't really know. Some of this might be relevant to art students only, some of it relevant to art amateurs......does it really matter? I invite you to treat this blog as an art buffet. If you want something more in depth...its here, something more geared to art newbies....it's here. Enjoy!
Melissa Cayford is an artist, designer and educator bent on making art and art education more accessible.