05 December 2007

Art School Professors are just High School Egos with Wrinkles.

The professors, and teachers in high school, summer art programs, theatrical training, etc., that I have held in the highest esteem, have always been very well-rounded teachers. For example, I think Howard Paine is a great teacher, but it has to do with the fact that although he is specially skilled in Graphic Design, he dabbles in a bit of every medium. I feel that has endowed him with a bit more openmindedness, so that he can appreciate the skill and labor that goes into both a design and a painting, and can appreciate aspects of both, even those that overlap that perhaps only one who has labored over both a canvas and a computer screen can dilineate. I have seen him attending exhibitions of video animation and sculpture, and perhaps this variation is not the most valuable quality, because the man is laid back in general. It seems that even though he can carefully giggle at a prod at another student, he has not succumb to the gossipping, stressful air of his peers. For that I respect him.

Adrian Duran, who I also respect highly, both as a educator and a human being, is similar. True, he is well-versed in Titian and Po-Mo equally, but he exercises his right to opinion. He does not praise everything he teaches, and perhaps more importantly, is not simply versed in textbook art, but hip hop of all things. And even though I heard criticism of his attempts at photography by Photo Majors, he does at least seem to care enough to try it himself; to search for that appreciation through experience. But alas, he too is young, bright, and too intelligent to be swept away in a fit of egomaniacy.

However, my qualms lie with the older--the much older--professors. Those who were trained in the sixties, yet seem to have completely forgotten that sense of finding yourself, finding a place in society, and stirring the pot once in a while. While Prillaman was never one to critique a painting show, he was the best metalsmith I had ever met, and was open to any endeavor you wished to take on, wholeheartedly.

I suppose in my ethical opinion, the professor for an introductory painting class should never have the right to come to the conclusion that a student has no heart for painting after 13 classes of mandatory still lifes, and should furthermore never attempt to give them advice on how to live their life directly following. I may sound like a bitter middle school girl at this point, but every event of yesterday boiled into my blood that art teachers are just walking egos. All artists are. Every piece is a self-portrait, every artist looking in the mirror with a hard-on. I have not met one self-doubting painter in all my life. To think you have such wonderous wisdom and talent that you should be coaching others is masturbating into a classroom of completely unsuspecting, poor, innocent art students.

I have such a problem with this particular teacher because I feel he has wedged himself into Painting I, yet is itching to critique New American Paintings, and instead buries the urges in alcohol, tearing down illustrators, and submersing himself in a warm pool of ass-kissers. And why? I do believe they stem from a complete snobbery, a total lack of appreciation for any innovation of separate mediums. He has latched on to a single medium, and a solitary visual concept, and repeated it, without movement, for fifty years. He doesn't loathe drawing, he has forgotten that is what spawned his precious paintings. He loves your work if it is in oil, heavily layered, with specific horizon lines and luminosity because it reminds him of himself. It's much too late to do a damned thing to change his mind, so I recommend to his students, beware, and don't listen too carefully. Kiss ass and get your A, or experiment how you wish, and let the GPA suffer.

1 comment:

K. Seagraves said...

I am a self-doubting painter. And, come to think of it, I've only painted one self-portrait in all of my life ... and, even then, I wasn't the main focus of the piece.

My poems used to be very self-reflective and brash. Fortunately, I grew out of that tendency. I now spend a great deal of my time avoiding making any reference to myself in writing and/or the visual arts.

But whatever.