Friday, November 30, 2018

My First Duke Drawing Class - Blog Post #2

Before coming to Duke, I did art nearly every day. From drawing to painting to sculpting to any type of art I could get my hands on. But as soon as I set foot on campus, that passion for art faded a little. I was too busy with soccer; I was too busy with school. So my art fell by the wayside. I went to the arts annex to paint a few times during my freshman year and over the summer I would occasionally doodle a drawing or two. But I didn’t have much free time, and what free time I did have I didn’t have the desire to spend drawing. Perhaps it was that I didn’t see the value in it. Perhaps I thought that it had been such a long time since I had last drawn and I probably wasn’t very good anymore. Or perhaps, starting a new drawing project during a semester full of other academic projects did sounds like an appealing endeavor.
It wasn’t until senior year, fall, when my schedule opened up enough for me to take a class or two that didn’t need to meet a specific class requirement. My dad had always encouraged me to take an art class while at Duke. He knew how much I enjoyed it when I was younger so he always told me he hoped one day I would get the chance to take one in college. This fall was my chance! But I hesitated when I was going to enroll for classes. Why? Well because the art I remember loving was the art that didn’t have a deadline. The art that wasn’t necessarily graded on quality so much as effort. I had no idea how my art would compare to the other people in my class, and I didn’t think I would like being constrained to the assignments and deadlines of a class.
But I decided to go for it. “How bad could it be?” I reasoned, “it’ll be fun.” Besides, I figured, it would be a nice break from the science heavy classes I was used to. So I went for it and I enrolled in my first ever art class at Duke.  And I found, much to me relief, that none of my fears about a college level art class came to fruition. The assignments allowed me more freedom than I expected to draw whatever I wished, so I was able to design a project based on my own interests and draw what I am passionate about. The deadlines forced me to learn how to draw quicker and with more quality in a short time. And finally, I hadn’t suddenly forgotten everything I had ever learned about art and could actually still draw quite well according to my own standards. I expected to find myself in a classroom full of art majors, but I was actually surprised to find myself sitting beside a biochemical engineer who was also taking an art class for fun, just like me!
So, to any Duke student who enjoys art but who doesn’t think they have time to take an art class or who doesn’t think they will be skilled enough or experienced enough to participate, I recommend going for it! Put yourself out there, and be open to try and learn new things, and you just might enjoy a Duke art class as much as I have.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Being an Artist at Duke - Ryan Bloom

I’ve liked art ever since I was a little kid.  I took AP art throughout high school, but I never really thought that I’d continue to pursue art once I started college.  Actually, I never thought that I would really pursue art until my Junior year of college, when I switched my minor from Math to Visual Arts (one of the better decisions I’ve ever made).  Prior to this switch, I had taken two art class at Duke, and I had taken these classes simply because I enjoyed art and had room in my schedule.  I had never thought that I would pursue it any further.  Therefore, prior to deciding to minor in Visual Arts, art didn’t really play a big role in my life at Duke.

However, as a senior, this trend has really taken a changed.  Upon deciding to minor in Visual Arts, I realized that I needed to take 4 more art courses over the next two semesters.  I’m really thankful for this because I was able to explore more art forms other than drawing, which is really all that I had explored throughout High School and my first 3 years at Duke.  Upon searching for my courses at Duke, I learned about how wide a range of art courses and mediums there are at Duke, which is really great for everyone interested in the arts.

This semester, I am taking 3 art classes, and art has therefore played a much larger role in my life, which I am very thankful for.  I love spending time drawing just to relax and unwind whenever I can.  I’ve also gotten the opportunity to learn a lot about animation and graphics in motion from the two other art classes that I’m taking (besides Intermediate Drawing).  I’ve had the pleasure of taking a class in the new Rubenstein Art building, a beautiful place to work, and have had the ability to combine my interest in technology with my love of art through my Graphics in Motion course.  I’ve enjoyed all of my courses and have learned that there is a much larger constituent of artists at Duke than the average student (or that I, prior to switching my minor to Visual Art) might know about.

However, one thing that I have noticed this semester is that the art students might sometimes feel separated from the rest of the student body.  I have personally noticed this due to the fact that I am taking only art courses this semester, and therefore have no classes on east or west campus (as 2 of my classes are in Smith Warehouse and my other class is in the Rubenstein Art building).  Additionally, the work that I do outside of class rarely requires me to go to a library and often requires more room to work.  This, combined with the fact that I live off campus has led to me spending less time on campus than in previous years.  However, this doesn’t have to be the case for all artists if they spread out their courses over their years at Duke and make it a point to work on campus when they can.  Overall, being an artist at Duke has been an amazing experience and I am so happy with my decision to pursue the Visual Arts minor, and I hope to continue with this passion upon graduating in May!