The Impossible Dream of Art
As a high school senior currently waiting for my college acceptances and rejections, I am often asked why I chose to not place all my hopes into art school like everyone else. It all stems from my experience in recent years with art.
My passion for art wasn’t realized until my freshman year. I clashed often with the art teacher when I realized how majority of our art was composed of magazine clippings which she arranged. I had built up a certain expectation without realizing it. So I started off on this long affair of local art classes - from Art Center’s Saturday High to the Burbank Animation Guild’s. I realized that majority of my teachers taught at both the local colleges and private art schools. This might have to do with the fact that Los Angeles is known for having a sizable art community. The problem I discovered over time was this common census amongst local artist-hopefuls my age - this misinterpretation that you couldn’t get the same level of art education in a public school like in a private school. What my advice is essentially is to not get stuck in the idea that you NEED to go to a particular artist’s studio and learn under them. Whatever foundations that they could offer can be easily learned elsewhere with lots of free critiques. By documenting those sessions, you can use it your personal statements as a way of showing your dedication for art. Another thing I noticed too was the mistake of not taking advantage of local teen art programs. Simply because of the reason that it would be a repeat of fundamentals learned elsewhere. You shouldn’t underestimate the power of these programs. Take Ryman Arts for example; companies like Disney Imagineering and Pixar will give exclusive tours of their studios just for being a student enrolled in the program (internships too for alumni). Even without the bonus of free art materials and classes, many opportunities have opened up for me as an alumni of Ryman Arts.
In short, don’t get stuck learning under an exclusive studio without looking into the local organizations offering those same classes for free. Sometimes that organization holds more prestige than a random artist’s studio. One of my friends was able to get out of a beginning painting class in her college by saying that she had already learned it at Ryman Arts. Also, don’t get deluded into the “art school experience.” Many of the artists I learned under, such as Art Center and Cal Arts alumni, are still paying back their $100K loan.