My personal illustration, design, concept art, photography, and all manner of creative things. All work is my own original content unless otherwise specified. Enjoy!
I decided I’m just going to continue making things I like and f*ck everybody else.
Everyone on this site seems to hate on and bitch about teachers.
Idk, it makes me kinda sad
That gets me down, too. But I love seeing awesome shit about teachers on this site.
I AM TEACHER AND I AM AWESOME. LOVE ME.
“I Suck and I’ll Never Make It”, The Lies We Tell Ourselves
This post could also very well belong in my other blog: http://whatiknownowaboutteaching.tumblr.com/ But it’s about my art and process, so I’ll start here.
Many of my friends always ask me why I think I’m so bad at what I do and what the hell my hang up is about the art world in general. Why do I seem so disheartened and jaded? Why am I so pessimistic about my work and the work of others? Well, I decided to write something about it.
This started a long time ago, but has resurfaced now that I am applying to graduate school here in the Bay Area. I chose three pretty different institutions but with the same research intentions for all of them. UC Berkeley, which is like THE institution of institutions, CCA, which I consider to be a really fucking good school with a lot of cred and is on the brink of things to come in art, and SFAI, which I consider to be the most traditional when it comes to art schools and one of the oldest art schools in the country. I didn’t apply to any of these schools in my undergraduate search. I don’t know why, I just didn’t. These three schools offer different means to the end for me. It wasn’t until I got to the SFAI application that I realized that there are still a lot of voices floating around in my head about my work that aren’t mine. They come from undergrad, from harsh and non-constructive critiques by some, ideas I developed somewhere in my life about what an artist is supposed to look like and act like, and the perception I have of myself as a female artist of color in this contemporary art world.
Now gender is a tricky one in the art world and I don’t pretend to be a guerilla girl or anything, but I do have some strong opinions on how gender completely rules the arts more than socioeconomic status or anything else. But that’s another post, for another time. Just know that it influences, heavily, how I feel about my work and it should, but maybe in a different way.
So to the Lies. Here they are. You probably have a set of your own.:
1) I am a no talent hack.
2) Art school is above me.
3) My work is no good.
4) My work isn’t “conceptual enough”
5) I’m not a ______________ artist, I’m something else. Something less valuable.
6) I should be doing something different.
7) Teaching Artist is better than art teacher and I’ll never make it with my work if I’m an art teacher.
8) Teaching art to young people is somehow less valuable than being selfish and only making my own art.
9) Because of my socioeconomic status and upbringing, I’ll never make it because only rich kids and poor dudes make it in the art world.
10) My “lack of traditional training” is what’s holding me back.
11) People in my field don’t respect me and don’t consider me a part of the field anyway.
12) I’m not good enough or ready for grad school or making my work as my primary means of income.
13) I’m not cut out for this anyway, so what the hell am I doing?
14) My fear to jump will hold me back forever. and I’ll get stuck. and be miserable. forever.
Those are most of the lies that began to swarm through my head as I started my MFA applications. I remembered a reviewer telling me, two weeks before senior show that it looked “as if I didn’t know how to draw”, or a graphic design teacher telling me that my sketches were “too cartoony” amongst other things. It’s not to say that I didn’t receive a quality education or learn a lot and gain a lot of access to things that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience through my undergraduate work, because I did. I am just saying that these are the criticisms that stick out when I am feeling insecure. And it was that same education that has allowed me to be as critical as I am being now and to analyze what this has done to my process in art making. I have an arrested development in art that I am beginning to overcome only now, almost four years later. It has taken me four years to stop giving a FUCK what other people think of my art and to really start making it for me. I didn’t even know what that meant four years ago. I made art for other people because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do. I didn’t know how to use my work for myself and for my betterment and healing. I didn’t know how to look at my work with a critical eye without hacking myself down at the same time.
It’s only now, as I tell my students to push through, to ignore the voices in their heads that tell them they suck, that eventually those voices get quieter, that they will get better and they’re getting better all the time, every day, that I am beginning to see it for myself. If teaching art to young people has taught me anything, it has taught me resilience. I ask them to be resilient every day. I ask them to pick back up their pencils and to be fearless every day. I know what it means to put it down and to be afraid to start again. So I have to figure out a way to shut those lies up, to remember that they are lies, and to go running, full speed ahead into my future.