I don’t want to categorize, stereotype or aggravate anyone here, but some people are simply not driven by that strange desire that grips a few of us. You’ll know what I mean if you have it – it’s that longing to make something, TO MAKE ART. This is what many of us want to do. We want to do it so badly that we want to learn how to do it better. We want to be around art, practise art, talk about art, hear about art, read about art. We want to STUDY ART. Many people don’t understand this, but for those who do, here are some early warnings and useful pointers:
1) OTHER PEOPLE: People are prone to having opinions about your life that they want to share with you. So, when you say, “I am/want to/going to study art/music/theatre/dance” – brace yourself. You will hear:
– A few lectures about the state of the economy and how artists can NEVER make any money (not in this country anyway – try Singapore)
– Some bemused, patronizing speeches assuring you that you may be able to do something with an arts qualification – There are always logos that need designing. You know, advertising and selling your soul to corporate media enterpises.
It is important that you ignore these cautionary sentiments. You will never be an artist if you don’t!
You may also encounter sincere support and affirmation about your decision from people who also believe that art is a totally wonderful thing to study. Savour this!
2) INSTITUTIONS: Studying art often means attending some sort of institution. You could study art in school or after school, full-time or part-time, take classes when you can or drop in on lectures. ‘Study’ is a broad term. Sometimes there are wonderful teachers and inspiring peers and it can be thrilling to study art at a good institution.
Often, institutions like to critique and grade your work. Sometimes this is exactly what you need to help you grow. At other times you may feel like your teachers have no idea about anything and aren’t recognising your talents. The point is that institutions provide structure that can help you expand your knowledge and your practice. At the very least this structure gives you something to react against. Art school might just help you learn all about the things you hate about art. This is valuable because if you can figure out things you don’t like and why, you can figure out the things you do like and why. Both are useful.
NON-INSTITUTIONS: Maybe art school/dance school/theatre school isn’t for you. This doesn’t matter anymore because we have The Internet! You may not get a qualification but you can learn (almost) anything! You can watch everything, read everything, try anything. Surround yourself with the wisdom and passion of others. Sometimes the world can teach us more than a school can. It just takes some observation, passion and a whole lot of discipline. Knowledge and experience are never-ending and mostly exciting! So get out there and start your studies!