On Art: An open letter to an art professor
April 13, 2022
This is going to sound cheesy but I feel it necessary. Years and years after making one of the biggest risks of my life (going to college and majoring in Arts and Technology) what I have learned in that career still affects me today. I have grown creatively, more than I would have imagined and have tried mediums I thought I could never do. All of this began with one professor, an art professor who had been a monk. Where he is now, I don’t know, but I am trying to make it a mission to let the people that have affected my life know how much I appreciate them. I am really bad at it in person but ok at writing it, I guess.
I remember the first time I signed up for the Intro to Drawing class and dreading to walking in. I honestly expected random artsy talk consisting of how nonsensical doodles could make great compositions and paint with watercolors. Or maybe go the opposite route and say that we all had to be talented somehow and reaffirm my initial beliefs of me being ‘untalented’. I got none of that.
As I listened to your lectures and read the assigned book (a book in art class?!?!), I actually had hope that I would be able to express myself through art. Your approach was technical and gave importance to persistence and the grit involved to become a better artist. You focused on the “seeing” and helped us break up complicated subjects into parts before drawing it. I would be able to convey my ideas beyond just writing and I was excited. Then, you announced that our pieces would be displayed weekly so that they may go through a classroom critique. I was appalled.
Every week, it was incredibly tough. I was frustrated at how I could not ‘see’ and my self portraits always came out like caricatures with spaghetti hair. I would procrastinate last minute and then spend hours and hours until it was done. And every week our work was displayed on the walls and I hated it.
But looking back, it was the best thing that could have happened. I started getting over my fear of creating. I started getting over the fear of judgement and you helped me and others think critically about our work.
Your class made me realize the importance of working on a piece to completion, and avoid reworking and reworking, a nasty habit that I had developed in high school. Your class made me appreciate art so much more and the creative process behind it. Your class made me enjoy the process, even when it was frustrating. But most importantly, your class set me on the road to believing in myself and my creative work and I can’t thank you enough.
So in my open letter of appreciation, thank you for doing what you do and being such an inspiration. For being the renewed foundation to my creative life. I honestly do believe that without your class, I would still be too afraid to pick up a pencil.