Recently - if I really can say that because it has happened through a long, long year - I’ve been dealing with some kind of stressful shit while studying Arts in my college. I think that everyone who studies art knows exactly how it works, or at least, is on the way to learn - but you will learn, and on the hard way - and by saying “how it works”, I mean how the world and people of art work. Don’t you know? Let me explain then.
When you leave your home to study Arts, you always think you are good enough. If you didn’t think you are good enough, you would never apply to that course. So, don’t say no because I know it’s not the answer. You do think you are good. And maybe you are, maybe you really are. But why maybe? Because maybe you are new to that, you always had the passion but your parents told you can’t survive from art, you won’t eat and will live with them forever. That could totally happen, by the way. But my point is: you finally had the guts (and probably the money) to go there and do it, despite the odds.
So, back to the part where you go to college. When you get there, you start having classes and everything is beautiful, your new art supplies smell good and look beautiful on your desk, and don’t even tell me about the feel they gave when you are using them. Really awesome, really incredible, that must be heaven. You also spend a lot, but A LOT - read it again - of time developing one single piece of art. You are full of energy, you are liking it and you are doing everything at full force. You really put your heart in it, because the art is a part of you. And suddenly, due day, you go there, packing your painting, sculpture, whatever you created with so much love, to go to college.
At the class, she looks at your work (because like she likes to say, it’s not art yet) like it was a dog poop someone forgot to pick up. She asks your classmates - don’t know if in your college it works like that, if not, thank God and everyone else you can - what they think and what did you think before/while creating it. You said you inspired yourself, for example, on geometric drawings from cubism and a little bit of abstract art. What happens? BAM! Your teacher totally crashes your dreams. She (let’s use “she” because mine is a she, though she has the finesse of an elephant running) barely started talking, but you feel like you are in a war zone. Bullets everywhere, all going on your direction and you can’t even tell what is happening.
Cubism??? What the hell is cubism in 2013???? This thing made sense back in the days, but today it doesn’t fit!!! It has a purpose (like yours didn’t have, but moving on)!!!!
And the only thing going on in your head is “what?”. And then, the thoughts start coming as fast as her bullets.
But I INSPIRED myself on cubism. So, if I inspired my art on chocolate, it means you have to eat it????
Right? I know you think things like that. You try to question the things she says and explains and she thinks you have to listen to others people opinion (you could say the same thing to her, but anyway).
And this goes on and on and the only things in the end on your mind is:
1) Dropping this shitty course (that were people in my class that dropped because of this kind of stuff, srsly);
2) NOT having class with this teacher anymore;
3) Why killing is illegal;
4) Can I leave because you are pissing me off;
5) Am I allowed to kick some serious ass;
6) Fuck everything else;
End of the bullshit.
I am not telling you shouldn’t listen to people, but frequently, people don’t know what they are saying. They barely know when they are hungry, like my dad likes to say. So, if the comment doesn’t add anything constructive, something positive that actually can lead you somewhere else, it doesn’t matter. I mean, what’s the point of almost telling someone their piece is a piece of shit (BTW, I’ve been told)? When did it ever make someone get better on anything?
What I am trying to say is: act like you were a filter. What isn’t good, you discard it and what is, you keep it. Of course, you have to be really open to critics. Nobody like to listen people saying bad things about their work, it doesn’t matter how much time did you spend building it. But it also makes you grow, specially if the comment has the power of mixing with the other things you have in your mind, with the other things you already know. That’s what a great comment is. And if you don’t know when you are hearing a good comment, notice that you will feel a whole new world growing inside your head. You will feel it and you will know it. Otherwise, if it doesn’t even make sense - specially if the person doesn’t even let you talk about your own piece - who cares?
I’ve notice two things: sometimes, people who are teachers doesn’t teach because they like. They teach because they have bills to pay. It happens, everybody has to eat, everybody want to buy stuff. We get it. But it doesn’t give you the chance of acting like an asshole with anyone. Just because you couldn’t grow, you couldn’t become an artist like you dreamt, it doesn’t mean anybody else should be deprived of this chance.
And the second thing: sometimes, having a lot of diplomas or a PhD on something, doesn’t make you necessarily smarter/better than anyone, and it also doesn’t mean you know everything and that you can’t learn from someone that hadn’t study this much or isn’t this older. Sometimes, knowledge has to do with what you lived, and not what book did you read.
And another advice: you will meet this kind of people many times in life. Grow strong on your opinions and read as much as you can, because you will be able to understand more not only about what you are doing, but about what other people are talking. And this will define how succeed you will be (and probably, how much bullshit you’ll have to listen to).