One of the most important lessons I learned in art school was not how to draw, paint, sculpt, photograph, etc. I already had a pretty solid handle on that, which is probably why most students get accepted to art school. The big lessons were, learning how to be creative every day. Learning how to see. Critical thinking. And in graduate design school, learning how to collaborate. The thing is, when most students enter art school, they think they are going to learn some magical thing that will transform them into the next Picasso. Make them famous. Expose their genius. The thing is though, making art and being creative on a daily basis is tough. It’s hard work to get the ideas in your head out into the world in a way that is appreciated by others. That is the subject of the video below.
Created by From Form for the Willem de Kooning Academy, the video follows the creative process of an art academy student; the highs and lows, postponing a project, insecurities, working late, failing and starting over. It has a great look that is complimented by a solid narrative voice, and it really does summarize the creative process in a fun way.
A while ago, actually quite a while ago when I was in art school, I was sitting in a critique for one of my lithography classes. I don’t know how the class got on the subject, but we switched from talking about the nuances of each others work and began talking about why we were in art school to begin with. There was quite a bit of discussion about learning how to make this or that, and about developing a critical eye. The standard art school bull shit. At one point though I had an epiphany.
I didn’t go to art school to learn how to draw or paint. I didn’t go to develop a critical eye for things. I knew those things, or I had a pretty good idea about them. My epiphany was I went to art school to learn if I wanted to do this everyday, and to learn how to get rid of the crap I was making as I strove to hone my skills and be a better artist.
I think this is one of the most important things I learned in the four years I was there. I needed to figure out if I was going to be able to make things every single day, and I needed to learn how to edit my work. To get rid of the stuff that wasn’t so good. To learn from why it didn’t work, and improve on it.
If you are going to be in a creative field, some of the most important things you will need to learn are “Can I do this everyday and still love it”. “Can I see the things that aren’t working, and get rid of them”. “Did I learn from what didn’t work, and can I improve upon it”. Ironically this along with how to make money are things they don’t really emphasize in art school.
The videos below are from PRI. They are Ira Glass from This American Life talking about storytelling and creativity. He does a much better job of explaining what I tried to.
Team Detroit has produced anew campaign for College of Creative Studies, that feels like a series of anti-drug posters. This is a clever idea with tongue in cheek humor that really struck a note with me. The static images below compliment the website, which in turn has a number of video testimonials from CCS graduates. The entire sum of the campaign is extremely solid, but the print ads and billboards just crack me up. Probably because I went to art school.