by Annie Kornack
Thoughts on Drawing
It’s really funny how when you’re little, probably of elementary age, when asked in a classroom filled with other children which of you are artists, the odds are most will raise their hand. I’ve always thought I was an artist. When asked to introduce myself to new people in elementary school using an adjective with the same letter as my first name, I’d always reply “Artistic Annie.” Still to this day I think art plays a very important role in who I am.
Throughout high school I took many art classes – ranging from Ceramics, Silkscreen, 3D Art, Drawing, and Computer Graphic Design – you name what my school offered and I took it. Especially my senior year of high school taking Silkscreen Printing I learned the importance of utilizing your artistic license to create unique, eye-catching pieces. I even was awarded the Silver Key Award from the Boston Museum of Art and the Excellence in Art Award my senior year. So, long story short, I love art.
Coming to Duke I soon realized a lot of other people shared my passion of art, yet no one really tried to go to the Nasher collection they thought was so intriguing or take that trip to the Arts Annex to throw some clay. Luckily I was able to get myself involved in the duuVisArts Committee on Campus and even got a volunteering position at the Children’s Hospital with Arts for Life, teaching crafts to some of the patients. But still it was sad how little talk there was about art at Duke, especially since art played such a huge role in my high school experience.
Some of my art from high school
As I’ve discussed I really like art, my only problem with art is that I need it to be perfect. This causes some problems when you really love art but are sometimes too scared to delve into it with fear of it not turning out “correctly.” In taking this class I thought I would be gaining a creative outlet that would calm my freshmen nerves, but in all honestly there were times when I became frustrated due to my need for perfection, especially since Duke fosters an environment where everyone feels this pressure to appear perfect.
It sounds stupid but at the beginning of the semester even in my sketchbook – which is a place for sketches that are allowed to be unfinished and messy and stupid – I had this yearning for each page to be this magical little work of art worthy of being pinned up on the wall. Also, I think the materials posed a little bit of a barrier for me since I love exploring with color and different mediums and this class was strictly pencil and charcoal. Don’t get me wrong, like I said a million times I love art, especially silkscreen printing and watercoloring, but I was surprised when I would let myself fixate over what to draw and how to draw it, normally wasting valuable drawing time by being inside my head.
Maybe I lacked the confidence in myself since Duke can so easily do that to you. Once we started moving away from drawing objects in class to trying to convey stories was when I think this mentality of perfection started to drift away a little bit and I was able to start doing art for myself again. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the little things at Duke and I’m glad over the course of this class I was able to remember the necessity to just create and draw stupid things that no one has to see but have the potential to make me feel something.
I took all this newfound knowledge and was able to replicate some of these emotions into my final drawing for this class, the fictional narrative. I was inspired by the extremely low acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 so I chose to do a narrative about what Duke is like. I first placed the ever-mighty Chapel directly in the center of the page with three hands poking out from the corners. The first hand gently dangled a key that said “Accepted,” the second hand reached forward for the key to this “magical school” and the last hand held a rainbow above the Chapel (either placing the rainbow over the Chapel or potentially taking it away). I wanted there to be some mixture of representation in this image. The two bottom hands (the key and the reaching ones) could either represent an overjoyed student and an angry rejected one jealous of the other, or the reaching hand could be trying to help the accepted student not get to this place of competition, or the two hands could be from the same person experiencing this internal conflict I think most Duke students have of loving Duke but at the same time hating its pressures. This all ties into the dual meanings of the rainbow hand – is the rainbow placed above Duke a lie? Is it really a magical place? Is it a falsely magical place? Should it be stripped of its fairytale reputation? I know that explanation probably makes little sense without fully seeing the drawing, but I just wanted to highlight how this class reminded me to make my art mean something. Although I’ll probably never get over my perfectionistic outlook on my own art, I was still able to appreciate the different styles to drawing that each of my classmates had, making me want to explore more into other styles of drawing, instead of sticking to my home base where perfection reigns.