Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Maintaining Inspiration at Duke

Before college, art was never just something I did for myself. I took art classes in school all throughout middle school and high school, so having art homework on top of academic work was normal. Don’t get me wrong, I love art (and it was always my decision to take art classes), so drawing homework never had the same negative connotation as writing an essay or doing physics homework. And, though I wasn’t aware of it at the time, I was incredibly lucky to have been taught a large variety of artistic techniques at a young age. However, as much as I enjoyed my art classes, the majority of my art in high school was something I was doing because an authority figure was telling me to do it. After finishing my AP Studio Art portfolio senior year of high school, I was glad to get a break from structured art.
I thought that once I started college, I would become the kind of person who never wasn’t creating art, even if that just meant keeping a daily sketchbook. I thought that being forced to create art on a timed schedule was something that hurt my artistic voice rather than something that helped maintain it. But then college actually started, and I found myself creating less art then any other time in my life. Art was something I knew I was good at; I wanted to see what else I could do. So drawing and painting took a back seat to the self-exploration associated with freshman year. The workload of engineering schedules and the pressures of Duke’s social scene didn’t really leave much time for me to spend by myself creating art. And I guess I just got used to not drawing or painting on a regular basis.

By the end of first semester sophomore year, it felt wrong to show people images of my high school artwork. I’m not the same person I was when I made those works; they were from a different time of my life. But when friends asked to see my art, I had nothing more recent to show them besides some drawings in my sketchbook. So, I made the decision to take a drawing class. Initially I was nervous that I wouldn’t have enough time to keep up with my other classes while creating art that I could be proud of. But despite the amount of time I spent working on my drawings, I really enjoyed having structured art back in my life. It was good to have deadlines to force me to finish the pieces I started, and drawing provided a nice break from hours of science and engineering. This class wasn’t restrictive at all, giving me the opportunity to draw what I wanted and to explore a new medium (ballpoint pen). Duke made it really easy for me to get caught in a cycle of not creating art, but taking this class helped me break that cycle. 

1 comment:

  1. I found art around a year and a half ago. As a kid I had always been creative, not particularly dedicated, but always thinking outside the box when it came to class projects or structured assignments. I have never wanted to do something that everyone was doing, even if this meant I was setting myself up for a greater margin of error, I knew I would not be satisfied by simply adhering to the status quo. I found art in a round about manner, not in a classroom or even an art studio. I found art in the hospital. This surely seems like strange place to find art, and for me drawing, but it is also the place I find I have the most time to reflect and think introspectively which is what I believe art and personal expression is truly all about. How do I want to present myself to the world? When I am drawing I get to choose what people see, how they see and hopefully show why they are seeing it.
    I have never taken a formal drawing class, with the exemption of grade school and high school mandatory art courses. I never really applied myself in these courses, and allowed myself to spend time working and developing my drawings; I was allowing myself to skate by. However, since I have begun drawing more consistently I have found something I did not think I would; I have found quiet. When I draw things seem to calm and I am able to manipulate, distort and construct images that only I can see. In this past semester in intermediate drawing I think I have really pushed myself to find new mediums of expansion for my drawing. This course was the first time I had drawn on a larger piece of paper, or created a narrative arch or even spent days working on the same image till I had it where I was happy with it. I am not a perfectionist, and when I was sketching for fun I was able to simply move on from a drawing that was offering me a challenge. However, in this course I have learned that I cannot simply move forward to the next drawing if the last is not finished, as then there will be no growth. Therefore, I believe I have developed my vision for art this semester by realizing that things deserve time and dedication to achieve any vision and that simply disregarding a piece will not help me grow as an artist.
    Even after this semester I still feel I am developing who I am as an artist, there are still fundamental flaws in my work that I would like to hone and improve. When I draw I want people to feel something, I am sure this is a common desire for any artist but to me I want the emotion to be evident. I have found I struggle with landscapes; I am less interested in the background detail than the forefront or subject of my drawings. This often gives my drawings an almost unfinished appearance but to me the need to add a background seems more laborious than necessary.
    I believe over the last 14 weeks of class my drawings have a clear connection. It is evident which are my drawings and I have enjoyed that my subject matter left it broad enough for me to expand and not feel constrained. The theme of my drawings over these 14 weeks has been natural unnatural connections, essentially a logical pairing with something unexpected. The reason I wanted to draw this is because I find that in our society we are always expecting one outcome, one even to come from something else but in the end the most rewarding experiences are the ones that surprise you and make you ask why. I think that I can absolutely grow from where my drawing took me this semester; I am nervous but excited to continue expanding both the size of my drawings and the detail of them. I truly valued the allocation of time this semester to simply draw and escape for a period to see where I was feeling creatively. Thank you for a great course and I really hope that what I have learned in this class will help me grow and move forward in my drawing. I also really hope to work color into my work in a more distinct way.