Monday, December 3, 2018

Drawing the Line

by Esmeralda

Being an artist at Duke is weird. Because it's Duke. 

There's definitely a vibrant arts community - several in fact - in and around Duke, but art is treated as something more peripheral to the ~DuKe ExPeRiEnCe~ than sports, academics, and even food are. The result is this bizarre dichotomy where one half of the student body thinks of art as a fun way to de-stress from serious topics like organic chemistry, and the other half of the student body stresses out because of their art, which they are obligated to do by a deadline for  some class, student organization, or freelance project (again: it is Duke.)

There's definitely a disconnect between the two camps. So many study break events involve art, but going from timed figure drawing to zen tangle is a bit of a culture shock. I can't seem to carry an art project across campus without being asked if I made that? and did I do it just for fun? Which is an irrationally annoying thing to hear when you've been up till 3 am hunched over a painstakingly inked poster and you'll be up till 3 again on your final paper as a result. And yes, I enjoyed making my creations, and I love them very much, but I would not have produced them at this breakneck speed if my GPA didn't depend on it, the same as any computer coder or mathematician on this cortisol-forsaken campus.

... this may just be a reflection of what it is like to be an artist at Duke during finals season. This entire semester has felt like final season though. So take that how you will.

/end rant/

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