Art School, Week 13 – Our Teachers

This week, I have been preoccupied with finishing the last few projects we have to do before Christmas vacation.  In my 3D Design class we have to design boxes a la Joseph Cornell.  The theme I picked was “Trifecta Bella: Art, Music, and Literature”.

In doing my research I stumbled upon the opinion section of The Daily Breeze.  Three different El Camino teachers wrote in, apparently in response to a previous article about school budget cuts.  Each one painted a picture of the struggles many teachers face.  Each one also seemed deeply concerned and aware of the struggles students face.

The letter the teachers were protesting apparently painted a rosy picture of the teachers’ situation – both inflating the average teacher’s salary and omitting the decades of experience and degrees needed to attain those salaries.  In reality, many teachers have been laid off, switched to part time (i.e., no benefits), or had their classes cut.   When classes are cut, this obviously hurts both the teachers and the students.  Just this past week I petitioned to be accepted into Life Painting for the Spring – despite not having completed all of the prerequisites.  I did this because the class may be permanently cut.  I figured it would be better to go for it and learn as much as possible – even if I will be taking the class prematurely – rather than miss out on the class altogether.  At the same time, as with many schools in our system, top administrators have received raises.  To add insult to injury, El Camino college has a surplus with millions of dollars waiting for a rainy day.  The surplus “rainy day fund” is enough to cover us for many years, yet there it sits.  I don’t know; I just looked outside.  It seems to be raining…

On a happier note, all of my projects are humming along to completion.  My digital art poster is almost done and I love it.  My teacher, of course, does not like it because she never seems to like anything I do.  The best by-product of my time at art school is that that doesn’t bother me.  At first I used to make so many adjustments in response to criticism that I started to lose sight of what I was even making.  Now I am strong enough to make what I like and take the poor grade, if need be.  At the end of the day, I have to believe in what I’m doing or I have no business doing this.

These types of lessons, in my opinion, are the real value of education – what you learn about yourself.  I just “friended” someone on Facebook whose personal quote was Mark Twain’s “I never let my schooling get in the way of my education.”  Figuring out when to listen to other people, and when to listen to your own burgeoning instincts as an emerging artist is not an easy thing.  But my confidence level now, versus when I first started, has greatly increased.

As a little “atta girl!”  from the universe, I actually got my picture on the front page of the school newspaper this week!  I think as we step out in the direction of our dreams, we get lots of little pushes from behind to encourage us along the way.  Our job is to pay attention, notice them, and give thanks.

Now go follow your bliss…

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