A Surreal Day

     Still in VT and waddling through the end of summer seeing lots of art and having lots of family and visitors here. I am ready for a quiet week for my art next week.

     I periodically mull over pursuing an arts degree  (when I get frustrated or when I feel I am not moving forward fast enough…)  I had heard good things about a low residency program here in VT which shall remain nameless right now.  So, I took a day this past Tuesday to visit during their summer residency week. I figured a day was a quick investment in moving me forward towards that goal or removing a really time wasting “what if” from my thoughts.

     It was the most surreal day I have ever spent. I saw art in all stages of development. I read graduate process papers in the library. I saw the MFA graduate exhibit. I asked pointed and very honest questions to alumni and faculty. I found out how much it cost. I found out what alumni who graduated in 2002 are doing versus 2012 graduates. I found out whether or not they are using their careers post graduation for their primary source of employment versus personal enjoyment.   I listened to a visiting artist’s 90 minute lecture. I gave it my all and totally immersed myself into investigating .

     And I couldn’t sleep when I got home.

     Because I didn’t like the art I saw. It felt really cold. It didn’t in any way, shape or form move me. Quite bluntly,  it was silly and simple. Lots of installations. There was a significant difference in the current students and the graduate exhibit.  Diluted craftsmanship and art that was there just to make a statement. I was, in some cases, repulsed. I am not even going to take the time to describe what I saw. When I asked a very pointed question about their definition of art, I was told repeatedly:

ART is not art unless it has intention or meaning. Art made for the sole sake of beauty is not art.

     They were little robots all indoctrinated with the same philosophy. It was about the philosophy of art. All for the price of about 50,000 $ which is cheap compared to the new program at the Art Institute of Chicago which looks like about 85-90, 000$ for a 3 year low residency program. I can purchase a few books and be informed about all this philosophy. Or NOT.

     I do believe that art needs to have intention or meaning. But I do believe it can be beautiful as well while conveying a meaning. And fulfill what the great masters of our past did and use principles of  superb design, exquisite color and intriguing composition to make art they love and cause a reaction or interaction with the viewer.

     I am now informed , no longer ignorant artist and have removed this very distracting thought from my silly head.  I will not attend a graduate program which will only allow me to talk about my art in grandiose terms and elevate it to something it is not.

     I will continue to make art, find my voice and find someone to help me with a website. 🙂 I really do tire myself out sometimes, don’t I?


5 thoughts on “A Surreal Day

  1. Kathleen

    Your day of inquiry paid off. You have an answer. Thank you for sharing this experience and your opinion so honestly. I also am not inclined to pursue a graduate program.

  2. Fibra Artysta

    I hear ya. I’ve always been of the mind that the best way to learn is to do. Obviously doesn’t apply to ALL professions (wouldn’t want a brain surgeon to learn as she goes) but I think for something spiritual like art, it totally makes sense.

  3. Connie in Alabama

    Thanks for investigating and then posting. I’ve considered the same thing, although not at a pricey art school. And I decided that unless I wanted to teach or do something that required the credentials of an art degree, it wasn’t of value to me. I’m learning quite a bit from taking a painting class at the art museum, and going to the monthly critiques at the local artist co-op. They’re getting me to look at things in new ways, without the expense and BS of an art school.

  4. Mary Keasler

    Well said! And I totally agree. As a woman of a “certain” age, I have opted to go that way as well. And, just returning from a week at Arrowmont with Elizabeth Barton, (where I had the pleasure of meeting Connie in Alabama)has reaffirmed my decision. Your work is, no doubt, so much better than some of those new works with intention/meaning and no beauty.


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