Do you remember when I posted I'd be taking an art class this summer? I thought I'd meet all these crazy kids and do all these crazy things all in the name of art and deadlines, but I have been sadly mistaken.
Nobody really talks to each other. I've learned the names of maybe five classmates in a class of twenty-five. It's sort of amusing to watch the professor try to talk to the class as they're drawing and only about half notice he's talking because the other half all have on headphones and I-pods. The surprising thing is he hasn't commented on it.
I guess I was spoiled by my undergrad experience. I have a BA in art from a small liberal arts college. Everyone in the major program knew each other and hung out. We thought nothing of staying till sunrise in the art building. Some of us slept there regularly. We called the professors by their first names, not because we didn't respect them or because the professor was trying to be hip or cool, but because we worked together and knew each other. We knew each other so well, we could rip into each other on critique day, but we usually didn't have to because we all worked hard and did well.
Today was a critique day in my class. The professor had to beg us to talk about each other's work. He had us pin our work up three at a time and then spent five to ten minutes discussing each work. It was grueling. I spoke up a good bit, but when a truly bad piece was presented, I had to bite my tongue because if I opened my mouth a laundry list of problems, mistakes, and general lack of effort would spew forth. Some of these kids didn't even try. I don't understand why the professor insisted on spending so much time on each one. We couldn't offer constructive criticism on pieces that were only a quarter done.
My piece was craptastic. I had some sort of mental block or something with this piece plus technical problems occurred that I had never dealt with (I was drawing on gesso'ed paper. I think my gesso was too thick so made the paper very rough, I should've sanded it, and b/c of this, the charcoal wouldn't go on smooth, excuses etc...), and my figure was way out of proportion. I fully expected someone to call me on it. I was ready, but it didn't come. I got some compliments instead. The professor did point out my lack of true dark (see excuses above) and that was it. I don't know. I mean, it was kind of disheartening. The worst part is we only got through half of the class so I got another day of lackluster critiques for poorly done work to look forward to.
I just want to make it clear that I'm not dissing any of my classmates' skill. I mean for the past two weeks we've been drawing figures, and they've been getting it down or honestly trying. All of them have real potential, but these projects were done so last minute without any consideration that you as the viewer don't want to consider them either.
So class hasn't been as fun as I'd hoped. I am getting some good practice and relearning forgotten skills, but the camaraderie and the verve are sadly absent.