Exit Essay For Graduation

When I was getting ready to graduate, one of the requirements was to write an exit essay. This goes in your file for whoever (potential schools, employers?) looks at your school records. It was supposed to show something of what you’d learned, where you were headed. As I was being scrutinized as to whether or not I was going to be signed off on by my committee and what, if anything, I was going to be contributing to society as an artist going forward should they let me, this was also written to answer (hopefully) that question, at least somewhat.

Here it is:

Over the course of pursuing my Art Degree, I’ve found myself inspired and reinspired with each successive art history and studio art class that I have taken.

As early man discovered new techniques and technologies, he broadened the definition of art from a minimal and conceptual idea implied on a cave wall to the full-bodied technical skill of the great masters. Since my childhood I have enjoyed a close relationship with the quintessential Renaissance Man: Leonardo Da Vinci. His inventions and interest in many areas of creative innovation have always resonated with me.

The width and breadth of technical mastery of representation was well and truly explored and eventually gave way to new ways of making art. From the Impressionists onward, the artists of the day have slowly and steadily pared the fruit of what constitutes art down until we came once again to the minimal and conceptual core of artmaking. As we have learned from Marcel Duchamp and his brethren, the idea, the concept, the decision of the artist is what makes art art.

When art is stripped down to nothing, surely it must wither and die. We found ourselves at the end of art. Or so it seemed. As Ad Reinhardt said, “Art about Art is Art. The End of Art is not the End.” It may have been the end of an era, but that only left room for the beginning of a new era.

As we add new techniques and technologies to the concepts of art and our knowledge of art history, once again art has opened wide to new horizons. It is in this open field of options that I find myself traversing this art degree and art life.

I take great inspiration from the broadening of the definition of what art is, and can be, from the revolutionary works of Robert Rauschenberg, especially his combines. For me, this expansion of painting off of the two-dimensional plane out into the third dimension is where I want to take my art. Another artist I take inspiration from is Jackson Pollack. Action painting is, for me, a way to allow the paint freedom and to loose my firm control over it.

More recently I’ve had the privilege to study the works of Lyrical Expressionist Helen Frankenthaler. I am enthralled by her delicate treatment of the paint and I definitely am planning to explore and incorporate her pouring, staining, and soft color and shapes into my work moving forward. Another artist whose work I’ve learned of recently who I admire is Eva Hesse. What I appreciate most about her work is how she blurs the line between art and craft. This blurring of the lines of categorizing is the cornerstone of my artistic sensibility. I intend to explore this avenue in my future works as much as possible.

Looking ahead to after graduation, I hope to be able to act as a conduit for creativity. I believe that creativity is a muscle that becomes stronger with use and training. I plan to pursue certification in Creativity Coaching, a new career which helps empower creative people with the tools to move through blocks, such as the infamous writer’s block.

Moving from art school out into society it is my goal to spread creativity and to help increase awareness of the benefits of, and need for, art and art education. Our society is in desperate need of creative problem solvers. This is the very definition of an artist. We need new and innovative solutions to the problems that we’ve built for ourselves. This is one of the functions of the artist in society’s arsenal.

Self portrait S’monday

So, I graduated from college this weekend.

Cum laude, which was a nice surprise to me when they gave me my Honors Cord.

I didn’t realize my grades were good enough to be lauded.

According to my dad, I’m the first on his side of the family to graduate from college.

It was so nice to see my dad and fam who drove over for the weekend.

Juxtaposed against all our pomp and circumstance as we processed across the footbridge, were the people floating the river on a Saturday afternoon.

Given that by this time we’d been shrinkwrapped in black plastic and baking in the sun for about 45 minutes, had they led us into the river I don’t think anyone would have complained much. And not at all three hours later when we finally got done with it all.

In addition to my degree, I also I received a laudable sunburn from the ceremony. 🙂

Six Word Friday: Happy (June continues)

the family is driving over today

because tomorrow is the big day

finals are over, books put away

happy? yes, so I would say.

Gradoodle-ation is tomorrow afternoon at two.

more happy here 🙂

Six Word Fridays: Drive

Art Degree Idol

insane drive me, this graduating is

this crazy train, driving who is?

excuse me conductor, that’s a cliff.

Self Portrait “Saturday”: an Art Show

I’m graduating next month with my Bachelor of Fine Art. One of the requirements is to complete 16 pieces on a theme and then show some of them in the Senior Art Show.

So we did that last week. This week I have my
Advisor Review where I have to discuss/defend my work.

Here are some pictures:

  

     
 Graduating BFA students. Me in Teal.  

I love the odd juxtaposition of faces here.

An Art Education

Yesterday I had my Portfolio Review to get admitted into the Fine Art Program at my school. I passed it and submitted the paperwork to change my major. So, I’m all official now. One thing I had to do was write a page about why I want a BFA. I learned last term that if you were to follow a science track, this is how the degrees go:

BS=Bull Sh##, MS=More Sh##, PHD=Piled Higher and Deeper

Since I figured I probably shouldn’t bring that up, here is what I did write:

 

I’m entering the Fine Art program to complete a Bachelor of Fine Art with an eye toward continuing on to complete a Master’s degree. There are a few reasons why I’ve chosen to pursue an art education.

First, I am an artist. For as long as I can remember when someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my reply has always been, “An artist.” I am here to hone my skills as an artist by exploring new media and techniques in a collaborative and supportive environment. Along with that I hope to narrow my focus of interest somewhat by whittling away at media or techniques that don’t appeal to me as much as I had thought they might.

Second, because art is for the most part unquantifiable, it helps people who are not artists (but perhaps are clients or family members) to understand where you are and what you are doing on a benchmarked trajectory. Returning to school as an adult, I am completely conscious that this is a second chance that I need to put to good use. They say that if you do something you love than you will never work a day in your life. This is my opportunity try to translate what I love to do into a career.

Third, I hope to use my education and the knowledge gained here to promote Art in our society. I believe that art and creativity are vital to our well being as a society and, ultimately our survival as a species. Without creativity and invention, humans would not have come very far on this planet. From my studies of art and civilization I have learned that one important mark of a stable society is it’s ability to support and maintain an artist class of people. A group of people who are able to develop a skill set beyond mere subsistence living and trade the products of those skills for their daily needs. This is only possible if there is a steady stable surplus of food and other staples. We will not be able to maintain our status as a civilized society if we cannot elevate art to a high status in our culture.

I believe that artists are not unlike magicians. Who else, besides artists and magicians can conjure an idea and manifest that idea into reality, seemingly from thin air. My personal goal with this degree is to better manifest my imagination into reality. That is why I choose to pursue a BFA.