While some college majors earn almost universal respect, others are dismissed as undemanding and insignificant. Art, for example, is considered easier than science primarily because the latter contains more contact hours and more complex subject matter. However, this argument ignores the fact that art is interpretive and lacks the clarity of science, meaning that successful students must have a greater understanding of art and more confidence in their chosen medium.
Regardless of the circumstances, it’s indisputable that art students are all familiar with the same triumphs, struggles, and unfair misconceptions. With this in mind, here are 10 truths that only an art student would truly understand.
1. You constantly fight for the honor of your degree
Considering most people underestimate the difficulty of completing an art degree, the majority of art students feel compelled to fiercely defend their major. This can translate into defensiveness and undue aggression, although either would be understandable in the face of unsubstantiated and largely unfair criticism. Art students often get drawn into heated debates about the merit of their major, especially with those who study supposedly “serious” subjects.
2. You appreciate that art takes many forms
From an outside perspective, there is a great deal of skepticism when it comes to appraising art. So many art mediums get labeled as unskilled or unappealing, but true students of art understand the complexity associated with these methods and learn to appreciate them over time. From celebrated multimedia artists such as Tiff McGinnis to modern-day abstract painters such as Justin Adian, art can be diverse, challenging, and thrilling regardless of its form.
3. You spend your disposable income on materials and supplies
As an art student, you will face two challenging and unavoidable obstacles: First, you will have a noticeable lack of disposable income. Second, you will spend whatever is left of your money on the materials and supplies required to bring your projects to life. As a result, you will spend every available penny on your art, subsequently forcing you to make a sizable investment in your future.
4. You appreciate the value of recycling
If you’ve ever seen a cheap painting in a thrift store and thought it might be valuable, there is every chance that you were right. After all, there are a number of artists like Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia that regularly give their work away to thrift stores in a bid to earn greater exposure and reach a wider audience. This also underscores the respect that artists have for thrift marketing and recycling, and offers students the chance to source useful materials and items without spending a fortune.
5. You learn to make the most of your time during projects
If paint is your medium of choice (or you use it to infuse color into your project), you’re used to waiting for it to dry. This waiting period can be interminable to some, but art students use this time to reflect on their work and consider ways in which their project can be improved. Once you master this, you will start to appreciate your spare time more and use these waiting periods to your advantage.
6. You are used to ruining your clothes
Most clothes are not designed to suit the demands of art projects, in particular the damage caused by chemicals, paint, and abrasive substances such as glue. Over time, you’ll probably find that a number of your outfits are ruined from studying art, and the cost of replacing these merely becomes the price you pay for indulging your creative impulses!
7. You learn to deal with criticism that is based on opinion rather than objective reasoning
Art has always been subjective, regardless of its origin or form. While this is the source of a wide diversity of work and projects, it also generates criticism that is based purely on personal opinion rather than any form of objective reasoning. Your work will often be judged from a position of ignorance rather than insight, and as you continue to study you will you come to accept this as part of your chosen path.
8. You are forced to listen to intense critiques that last for hours
To prepare art students for harsh criticism, tutors will hold regular sessions in which they deliver an intense and detailed critique of each individual’s work. Their deliveries will often be excessive and last for hours, with many extending beyond the initially proposed time frame. You learn quite quickly to cope with criticism and to distinguish between constructive feedback and subjective opinion.
9. You soon become a critic of others’ work
While studying art earns you an appreciation of all art mediums and opens your mind to alternative genres, it also helps you form your own preferences. This means that you soon develop a critical eye when appraising others’ work and look to deliver honest and constructive feedback to the artist. This is often an emotive process too, partially because you understand that all art is personal to the creator and an intense labor of love!
10. You understand the relationship that exists between art and technology
Some argue that technology now represents an arts-based education, although this principle could easily be reversed in 2015. More specifically, it would be fair to assert that modern art is increasingly dependent on software, which is in turn creating a closely bound relationship between art and technology. You will probably be more aware of this than ever, especially given the amount of software used to create art and the burden it will place on your computer’s processor!
Featured photo credit: Foundry / Pixabay via pixabay.com