Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill"

How Does One ‘Art?’

November 7, 2016

The relatively artsy, hipster, crunchy granola culture of Brown creates a desire for art classes so large that there has to be a lottery for them.  In Hunger Games style, people battle to the death for these spots.  Envision internet squabbling, frantic button pressing, and an overwhelming sense of panic (or in other words, people pressing a button and waiting expectantly for good news).  I was not lucky enough to win the lottery, and I’ll admit to a full on stress-scream session after I learned of my misfortune.  But I persevered and was resourceful enough to force myself into a class – albeit a class from 6-10 p.m. on Thursdays. Nevertheless, as unfortunate as the timing is, I feel lucky to have gotten in (the odds were, evidently, in my favor).

My art teacher makes a strong effort to motivate the whole class (even the non-VISA concentrators [a.k.a. the people that are bad at art {a.k.a. me}]).  I have greatly developed my drawing skills, but it would be inaccurate for me to claim that I am, or ever was, “artistic” or “good at art.”  I’m taking VISA 100 as a prereq so that I can take photography courses in the future, and the quality of my work (especially in comparison to my classmates’) definitely reflects that.

I’m beyond stick-figure style drawings, but only by an embarrassingly small amount.  If I were to be drawing a person, they would certainly have form, shape, volume, etc., however, I don’t have any confidence that other people will recognize that I’m drawing a human and not just an amorphous blob.

Yet, there was one very special art class that will live on forever in my mind, because, in the words of the eternally lovable Dj Pauly D:


We were doing gesture drawings (i.e. quickly done sketches) of our nude model with charcoal (for the purpose of this article, we can pretend I’m not a giggly school girl and instead handled that situation like the incredibly mature adult I am).  I got a little in the zone – I was, in millennial lingo, “feeling myself.”  A girl in my class who is GENUINELY a fantastic artist rounded the corner and remarked that my drawing looked like something Matisse would’ve made.

I remained externally nonchalant: “Omg nooooooo! But thank you!!”

I become internally ecstatic: “OH MY GODDDDD! She must mean it–it must be true.  I must have suddenly become an amazing artist!  The hard work is paying off!!!  This one RESEMBLES a human!!!!!!!!”

But, just as quickly as this intense joy overtook me, I glanced to my right and saw what my classmates were drawing.  To say the least, my piece did not measure up.  And on further thought, Matisse was an impressionist painter.. i.e. he was not focused on making his work realistic.  So there was a kind comment from a classmate, but no reason for me to think my work is good, or still even recognizable as a human.  My “Matisse-esque” drawing was in actuality a large, stinky pile of poo poo.   But it was MY stinky pile of poo poo!! My drawing was definitely not high-quality for the class, but it was pretty damn good for having been produced by me!

So, it’s the little things ladies and gentlemen.  Life’s about personally progressing, not winning.  I didn’t need to win the lottery to take this class, and I don’t need to be the best artist in it in order to achieve something.  Focus on you, and:


#words of #wisdom

Image viavia, via.

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