Sunday, April 23, 2017

Thoughts on Drawing

When I was a little kid, I had probably a million different ideas about what I would be when I grew up. Between the ages of six and nine, I thought that I should be a farmer, a park ranger, a biologist, an author, and a business manager. Around age ten I figured that I had finally found the perfect career path -- I would be an artist! Though my interests changed as I aged (I moved between picture book illustrator, cartoonist, graphic designer, and modern artist) art was always a central part of my life. I spent elementary and middle school painting, drawing, sculpting, crafting, and chalking. I would draw pictures for my friends and family members, to the point that our home was covered in pieces of my art (and still is. My mom is a big fan).

As I entered high school, other aspects of my life started to cloud my vision of a future filled with artistic work. I became interested in public policy and advocacy work, and started to commit more of my time to other academic pursuits. After senior year, I felt like I had lost my hold on art. When I wasn't enrolled in an art class for school, I didn't make time in my schedule for creativity. Throughout my first year of college, I always felt like something was lacking. Though I will never be an art major or pursue a career solely in art, I need to find a balance between art and my other interests.

For me, art provides an opportunity to process my daily experiences and think in new ways. Art is exploration and expression, and I think that everyone should make some time for art. I worked at a community arts nonprofit in Cleveland, Mississippi last summer and spent much of my time helping children learn to use different mediums to paint, draw, sculpt, and craft. Education through art is so valuable to young people, and I am a firm believer in teaching life lessons through doing. My vision of art is pretty broad -- it's more about the process than the product, and I think anything can be a kind of art or expressed as art. I hate art elitism, and for me there are lots of different ways to give creative work value.

Taking this drawing class helped me to rediscover how much I love to create, especially through documenting my surroundings in my sketchbook. I am determined to continue sketching everyday, even if I am not enrolled in a class next semester. Though this class covered many introductory techniques that I had already practiced in prior classes, I found that it provided a great way to redevelop skills that I had lost over months without practice. I was surprised by how much my work improved over the course of the class, and hope that continued drawing will help me to continue to get better. I wish that everyone had the opportunity to use drawing or crafts to practice their observation skills and to step back from the day-to-day stress of many traditional Duke courses.

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