• Jan Thoreen Lewis

The Lessons I learned At Art School

Other than, Don’t eat cake batter for dinner or it’ll make you sick and fat, or Buy your own alarm clock instead of imposing on a new friend to call and wake you up, here are a few lessons I took away from my art school experience:

#1 Be kind.  If you’re not, it’ll come back to bite you.  A harsh and too-blunt critique of a fellow-student artist’s work can be devastating, no matter how bad the art is.  Remember how sensitive you were at 19 or 20, how insecure? One harsh art critique can set a budding artist back by years in terms of their confidence.

Taking any available prerequisite course, say Industrial Design for example, may not be the brightest idea unless you have an instructor who takes pity on you.

.#2 Trust your intuition.  If you feel really, really good about your design decisions, then trust that they’re right on.  If you second-guess yourself, you’ll turn out shoddy, second rate work & you’ll get called out for it by an astute art professor who won’t take excuses.

#3 Be prepared.  Cause if you really want to look stupid, run to the college bookstore to buy your supplies after the class has started.  Your teacher won’t think very well of you & you’ll look absurd in public – always to be avoided at age 19 or 20.

Having stupid ideas that sound really smart in the moment is pretty common in college.

#4 Never pick obscure periods in art history to write a term paper about.  You won’t find enough information and will get a C. Trying to be too outside-the-box is a recipe for disaster.  Best to be conservative and safe.

Spending a quarter studying at a private college that does not have an art degree is a really stupid idea if you know you’re meant to be an artist. Especially if you’re there because of a boy.

#5 When the oil light comes on in your car, pay attention.  If you ignore it you end up needing a new engine.

#6 Art professors don’t always give good advice.  If they tell you you don’t need to finish college to have an art career, don’t listen.  They’re full of themselves.

Well, I’m sure there’s a lot more, but those are the highlights that come to mind.  Let this be a lesson to you!

Above: AU Spring, AU Summer, AU Winter, AU Fall-- All in private collection.

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