I had an interesting conversation with a classmate of mine today.
As I alluded to earlier, I am not particularly thrilled with the lineup of classes that I have to take this term. I got into none of the classes I wanted to, and one class in particular seems like it will give me a migraine from now until May. I pretty much botched the first project, and so far the second one doesn't seem like it will be going any more smoothly.
I feel like Senior-itis has set in (well, it has
been five and a half years in college, plus summer classes). It's difficult for me to focus on projects that demand for me to move in a completely different direction from what I would like to do. I have nothing against realism, but it's not my strong suit, and having just about all of my classes focus on that, it seems, just makes me very uncomfortable in my own abilities in terms of what it is that I do want to do when I get out of here.
I got the lecture on how realism is the foundation of visual art, so needless to say, it was more than a bit insulting to hear it from one of my classmates again as though I hadn't spent the past three years studying it. But hey, that's neither here nor there. It is what it is. I'm aware of it, and I also know that realism is not
what I want to spend the rest of my life doing professionally. Hell, I could have just gotten a scholarship to conservatory after high school and graduated with honors in three and a half years, spared myself all the time and trouble, and spent the rest of my life wondering what could have been.
What I want to do when I get out is something along the lines of what I've been doing in my free time. Storybook illustration, cartoons, editorial... anything where I won't have people trying to change the way I draw fundamentally. There's a distinction between that and having mistakes in my work corrected or having to change things according to the needs of a client, of course. I do understand that I probably won't be able to get away with drawing big muscly guys with tusks all the time and make a living doing it.
I've rambled enough about that part. It essentially boils down to aesthetic differences.
What I don't appreciate is the implication that I, as someone who does not see himself as a "realist", is somehow less of an artist than someone who does. That somehow I put less time and effort into the work that I produce than someone who draws and paints photo-realistic portraits and landscapes. I've heard it many, many times before and no doubt I will continue to hear it. That doesn't make it any less painful to hear when people talk about the work that I do as somehow being "beneath" their level of appreciation.
I suppose it's at least a bit of consolation that my work isn't outright mocked by my peers, as it was when I was in middle school and decided essentially to stop drawing for the next eight years. But at the same time, it's still painful. My work is a part of me, and it does me no good when people tell me to change simply because they don't believe I work hard enough based on the assumption that the work that I do is somehow beneath the "realism" they hold in high regard.
More people to laugh at when I get where I want to go, I guess. Oh well.
Stay classy, folks.