Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Post-Birthday/Pre-Show Malaise

Remember a few days ago, when the skies opened and we got five inches of rain in twenty-four hours? Yeah...that was my birthday!

Sucky weather aside, it was a fine weekend. Antique-ing, dining with friends and family and so on. Only problem was that the upcoming Spring Art Show was always there, in the not-so-far-back of my mind. I was constantly reminding myself to dwell in the present (and very soggy!) moment and wait until the day AFTER my birthday to start obsessing over the Show.

So, quite naturally, the day after my birthday, I went to the gym.

Day after that? Why, I had a class to go to. And so forth.

I perfected two skills, as an Art Major: Smoking and Procrastination. Actually, I had enough hours in Procrastination that I should have Minored in the subject.

Which brings me to the question that has troubled humanity for countless generations: Does studying Art at the university level prepare a student for anything at all?

Well, it does prepare one for exposing one's self to judgement and critics. And it can prepare the student for coping with "insuffucient funds". These are lifeskills that Art Majors can call on long after they have left the university.

Let's not forget perfecting the fine Art of Staring at Absolutely Nothing for extended periods of time. This skill can not only give the Art Major an aura of mysterious intensity but, also, suggests a complex interior life which may, in reality, be utterly lacking.

If it sounds like I am suggesting that university Art departments are responsible for cultivating annual crops of poseurs......well, let's just say that I don't think that the departments do anything to discourage their flourishing. I certainly feel that my old department awarded artistic temperment over artistic merit.

Please note that I am NOT talking about the quality or type of the artwork produced. I am talking about whether or not any work is produced at all. In my old department, an artistic temperment with no work produced often trumped the student who produced work but lacked the artsey affectations.

Where did I fit in? Someplace in the middle, I suppose. Sullen and volitile enough to count as temperment. Just enough work to meet my instructors requirements but nothing really ever stellar....or finished, for that matter. In fact, I have often felt like something of a fraud.

The only time that I don't feel that way is when I am painting.

When I paint, I know EXACTLY who I am.