The Unpleasant Past
Numerous times in the past I’ve mentioned my hate-hate relationship with “school” (aka
I hate school and it hates me). Especially the educational institutions on American soil, bound by the American accreditation system. Don’t even get me started on the pointless “Core Curriculum” at 90% of colleges that is an absolute waste of time, money and credits – when everyone just spent 4 torturous years in high school studying the exact same curriculum…. Or on the ridiculous price of higher education at American universities that has the only end game of shackling graduates with debilitating debt.
With that being said, I still believe in educating one’s self in whatever fascinates, inspires, or is required to master a vocation or career path. My particular path has just finally settled in my nearly-forgotten childhood dream of being an artist. Or at the very least, living a more creative life and working an artistic & visionary vocation.
Thankfully… that doesn’t actually require formal education. Anyone can choose the formal path, and I won’t sh*t on anyone who has and will – and actually thrive or succeed there. However, I intend to share my less traditional route for anyone who, like me, does not thrive in the restrictive, mind-numbing, overly structured environment of academia. I personally do not appreciate anyone forcing me to study what I don’t want to study or practicing with mediums and references that don’t capture my attention, inspiration, and imagination.
It is what it is.
I’ve come to accept this fact about myself. Now, the challenge is working with that aspect of myself while still crafting some sort of structure and flexible ‘curriculum’. Plus sourcing reputable and quality resources to learn & develop the creative skills I do want to master. Oh, and finding community during this process for support, connection, motivation & inspiration. And maybe some critique and mentoring to keep me growing, and accountable to my creative path.
Finding My Way
When it comes specifically to studio-style arts I’ve always been drawn to drawing, painting, and photography. As a child I doodled on everything I could get my hands on with pencil, pen and even markers. I also dabbled in charcoal and pastels. I even took a semester of digital photography in community college. As I’ve grown older, my tastes have narrowed to certain styles like Art Nouveau. I’ve also developed a fascination with Celtic & Nordic style art and material culture as I have been leaning more deeply into my own heritage in the last few years.
Other forms of creative expression have extended to both physical hobbies such as ballet and more craft-style artistry like relief printmaking (lino block), sewing, formulation. All of which are art forms in themselves outside the typical studio.
My focus in the last year has been to dive into these art forms and creative pursuits without judgment and working through doubts/hesitation. Of course, some of these forms are a little easier and more accessible than others to start but things are slowly moving forward. I’m still in the beginner/adult returner stage of these crafts, motivated and inspired to master to fundamentals before I shift more toward developing a signature style in each area.
As I previously mentioned; I appreciate flexibility in my learning environment and encouragement/meaningful support in my practice. In my home environment, that is actually hard to come by, (for various personal reasons) so I’m currently working to turn half of the basement into a bedroom & studio space away from the other (living) distractions and obnoxious noises of everyday life in my neighborhood. I also need to weave in just enough structure so that I accomplish something meaningful, but doesn’t make my neurodivergent brain rebel.
I’m also wading knee deep into the low key art study curriculum I’ve devised for myself.
Here’s a taste of what I’m doing:
Practicing basic perspective & interesting still life on a mid-grade sketch pad each week
10 minutes daily practice of gesture drawing.
Acquiring a mid-grade watercolor paper pad & watercolor paints to practice one piece or technique every day.
Acquiring Lino blocks in various sizes, carving tool set, and medium weight card stock for weekly printmaking practice.
Pausing in photography practice for a little to focus more on editing practice & compositing weekly projects.
Learning filming with my DSLR Canon camera and some simple editing skills in iMovie to start with small weekly projects.
Learning my sewing machine with small projects like pillows, curtains for my nephew’s bedroom, and tops to wear.
Just bought that last few basic ingredients & tools to start formulating mostly anhydrous formulations like balm to milk facial cleansers, solid serums with liposomal actives and rare oils, and emulsified body butters. In July, I’ll be collecting natural surfactants, hydrosols, liquid extracts and actives to start making shampoos and body washes.
And of course, practicing ballet weekly on weekends, and maybe more once autumn comes!
Sharing The Process
In the coming weeks, as summer starts to wind down, I’ll be posting content on this creative journey. Mostly in the form on podcasts, studio vlogs, and blog posts. Especially, once my bedroom & studio project comes to completion and I can really ramp up my creative focus. More on the details on that project and a more in-depth look at my art studies coming next!
See you again soon!