Art Education

When I went to college, I had idealistic dreams of mentorship that would take me into an apprenticeship beginning a career in art. What I found instead was a environment choked with academic politics, ivory tower idealism that sneered at practical business skills, and professors who claimed their favorites and ignored the rest. It is not bitterness that I speak with now, but disappointment for those who follow me. For, I was one of the favorite pupils, one perceived to have so much potential. I went so far as to earn an MBA for my business skills, and I sought out the idealism. What disappoints me is that I left school ill-prepared to make a career out of art. Like many graduates, I did freelance design work, continuing to make ‘fine art’ for myself. However, I had no connections on how to sell my work, or even inspiration to apply my artistic skills in any occupation other than a gallery artist. Since graduating I have since discovered a wide world of careers related to the arts, as well as many inspiring methods of art education. My hope is that this journal can offer guidance to aspiring artists on where their path to creativity may drive them. On a personal level, I relished studio classes while in college. At my peak, I was taking 24 credits per term, including four studio classes, with 30 hours a week in the studio either drawing or sculpting. This was on top of my academic courses. Because of this, several of my teachers recommended that I go to an art college to finish my degree. However, for many reasons not relevant now, I chose to stay where I was, get my degree through a traditional university, and continue my art education for many years after graduation. One of the many inspiring post-graduate lessons, was my reading of Julietee Aristides “Classical Drawing Atelier“. Aristide’s book describes the classical Atelier’s that trained artists such as Renior, Degas, Seurat, and Sargent., and recreates the curriculum as it is taught in modern ateliers today. It is ironic that some of the greatest artists of modern art became symbols of rebellion against the system that trained them to be great artists. For my own art, I have always sought to learn the fundamental skills first, so that my unique expression would be better articulated.
 A second inspring book was a receation of Charles Bargue’s Drawing Course by Gerald Ackerman. From this book I have created my own curriculum for my continued art education.

I discovered these books from the Art Renewal Center (ARC). ARC’s manifesto is that modern art lacks technical skill and artistic soul due to a lack of traditional figurative drawing and painting in modern art education. I agree with this premise whole heartedly. I find that those modern artsists that I respect, repesentational or not, are ones who have a fundamental technical skill. They can create figurative art, they may choose to abstract it or ignore it. But the skill provides the choice. ARC is a fantastic resource for figurative artists as it includes referrals to art schools, editorials and vast online museum of magnifient figurative art for inspiration.

In closing, I offer an open studio to any artists that wish to join me in the recreation of a classical atelier. I have the space, prints, and casts available to share I would enjoy the company of any aspiring artist, of any age or experience, who also seek to refine their skills through the study of traditional figurative art.


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