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26 February 2003 @ 08:07 am
I disappoint so many people.  
I’m sorry I didn’t climb your learning curve, that for all my potential I turned out to be quite ordinary. [...] I hope with a tinge of desperation that these faults and failures of mine are not what you think of when you think of me, if you do at all.

...

Critique was tense for me today ... although I fulfilled my vow to speak more eloquently, I'm not sure how much I truly said. What is more important, however, is what happened post critique - supported by the concurring opinions of family and friends ("yeah, you should ask"), I finally questioned him as to why he hadn't been speaking with me for these past two weeks.

I started crying at the beginning of the conversation and pretty much kept up the flow for the long haul, only beginning to have dry eyes after he left the room. It amuses me now that it's all over, because my then-soaked sleeve reminds me strongly of the frequent references in The Tale of Genji to sleeves in various states of wetness due to tears (although their sorrow is usually more romantic in cause than mine is).

It's another thing that frustrates me about myself - in times of extremity, be it extreme emotion, pain, focus, whatever - I totally lose control or consciousness over what my body does. For a random example, when I get totally and utterly into drawing or reading, I am completely unaware of a need to swallow - until I am suddenly confronted with a large wet splotch on the page before me. The passage of time becomes irrelevant as my body decides that it will do as it pleases, and it'll be damned if my mind can stop it.

My mind did not want tears. For years, I have been scolded for my tendency to be a crybaby in times of stress, have been counseled to shove it down when talking to other people because it unsettles them, and in general to master what has a damned will of its own. So for the most part, when he talked to me, I didn't really feel like crying, and knew that I shouldn't. But there they were regardless, just coming down my face, down my face, wet wet left sleeve.

So. I was right in my thinking, at least to a certain extent. He had completely pulled away from me - apparently, hearing that he intimidated me in some respects completely turned him off, as well as the fact that he saw me discussing my work with Dr. Cordulack, someone who is not involved with the studio arts. He is uncomfortable with me, cannot really interpret what I do or why the hell I do it (do I even know?), doesn't know where to go.

We are, it seems, two people who don't know how to interpret or deal with the other. He doesn't know how to interpret or deal with my work, much less our relationship as a teacher and student, and far less myself as an individual. What he can relate to in my work is that it's a highly physical, highly emotional, dark process - but no more, because my drawings are somehow like diary to him, and he cannot read another's diary. If this is art therapy for me, he says, he cannot help me, because he is not trained in such.

He sees me as fragile, for better or for worse. He does not know what will set me off. He does not know if he can push me, does not want to push me, does not think I am capable of being pushed - to him, it seems that I will break. (This gives me very, very bad memories of the time when I told Cx that he should lean on me until I proved myself to be inadequate. It seems that I am even lesser of a being than I at first thought.)

He says that I am right to have gone to Shelly (Dr. Cordulack) as my BFA advisor, because he has his concerns regarding my application towards BFA, and wondered why I was even considering doing it. Apparently I lack a distinction between the professional and the emotional, and if the BFA renders you a professional artist, I will never make it.

I always want to know why, why, why, why is it this way, why do you do it that way, why can't I do it this way, why must I use this, and then say to hell with your rules, I'm going to go my way. But although I am both talented and skilled, I am not enough of both at the moment to be allowed that rebellion. Furthermore, since I lack that line between the professional and the emotional, I'd probably be toast.

I just feel burned out thinking of it. It's hard to think about anything right now, for so many things have finally been called into question, and there's so much more new information to work through. Before, when he was completely silent, I didn't know what to think, and now there's so much. I know I should take ceramics courses next semester, but what about beyond that? If I do not pursue a BFA, I will have to take language courses - and I am not really interested in any of the languages being offered here (they just dramatically cut the German program, so basically all that's left is French, Spanish, and maybe Italian. They ceased offering other languages awhile ago). If my art is not art to anyone and has no meaning to a soul but me, should I give this thought up and turn elsewhere? Is it too late to turn to theatre, and would my intense dislike of competition negatively affect me even in the off-stage side of things? Would my patience last as a writing major? Could I bear to return to the technicalities and politics of the music world?

On a positive note, I finally received my last shipment of books about Hokusai and the art of ukiyo-e, and I'm enjoying leafing through them. It's damned good that they're here, because my paper is due next week.
 
 
Current Mood: exanimateexanimate
 
 
 
Alexander Williamszamiel on February 26th, 2003 02:17 pm (UTC)
And this is where the stock phrases I have saved up for these times come into play:

"And that's when I killed him, your honour."

Mind you, as an engineer and scientist, the kind you might as well cut the right-brain off of and throw it away (save the bit the runs the writing career), I'm not exactly sure why you're pursuing a degree in art, as in what you intend to get out of it. The guy you've been dealing with is clearly not interested in teaching you to be a commercial artist (or if he is, he's simply a lousy teacher). Your form of art isn't of a type to actually be in demand as a commercial artist (unless you want to do illustrations for RPGs and other limited-run publications, in which case -- hey, I know people who'll pay you now for your work if you can hit deadlines). I just don't see the percentage in what you're doing.

I must admit to being a bit bogglesome about this whole "distinction between the professional and the emotional" bit. I can't ever say I've met an artist with one. That's not a good thing, keep in mind, and its anecdotal -- but there's this huge pool of artists that I just want to beat to death with a stick because of it. (Did I mention I've tried to manage artists doing design for a book? Did I mention deadlines? Prelim sketches? Mental breakdowns?)

So, let's get down to brass tacks: What do you want to do for a living, to feed your gut, while you work on art? That's what it comes down to. I don't suggest writing -- its a stone bitch to try and eat on writing, trust me, I know. Pick a salable trade skill. It'll feed you, clothe you, and house you, while you do whatever else feeds your soul.
Katenyxdae on February 26th, 2003 04:49 pm (UTC)
First off...I am also the over-emotional type and I completly sympathize with the uncontrolled crying at critical moments. I have broken down many times before my teacher. It upsets me too, but it's part of who I am, I have decided I cannot stop it so I just let it go.

This post interests me because I have had similar experience with the clarinet as a musician. I apparently put "too much emotion" into my playing to the point where I distort the sound...Or at least do not sound as I "should." I do this because, well, to me the clarinet is an emotional outlet. Since that information came to light, I have been finding a balance between my emotional expression and what is demanded of a clarinet player on stage. It took a lot of re-thinking and I am still working at it, but I am getting there.

I don't know how to link this with art...But, since I have discovered how I use emotion in my playing, it is also is a strength because I am able to move the music in powerful ways that people who do not use their emotion cannot reach. Now that you know this aspect of your artistic style...maybe you can find ways to use it to your advantage?
Elizabeth: artemistsukitty on February 26th, 2003 05:58 pm (UTC)
Your entries are always so introspective and articulate. Just thought I'd say that.

As for your concerns about fragility and pursuing your BFA. I think so much of our society is success driven, like YOU MUST MAKE 30,000 straight out of college! That people like counselors and professors loose touch with the idea of majoring in the fine arts. Art is a hard business and you are getting a BFA to advance your skill and artists eye rather then create some blockbuster meal ticket right out of school. You're art is so interesting and stylish. I wouldn't of hosted you if I just thought you were like every other net-doodler out there. I am picky about drawings. In fact I am quite bitchy about that sort of thing. But you portray such character in your drawings and even when they are dark drawings they still have an innocence about them.

Don't get so freaked over this critque and second guess your major. Use this time to experiment with every media you can and become a more "seasoned" artist. Because that is what a BFA is for isn't it? Sure you can go for all those yuppie advertising jobs but if that's not where you are comfortable then why worry. My brain is scattered... @_@