Second term of the second year is no more… it’s ceased to be, passed away and gave up its ghost. We – majority of students – are emerging from it like from a tough, inequitable battle, some with bruises and scratches only, some with deep wounds, nobody unaffected. The truth is that nothing could have prepared us for weeks and months of a constant spiritual self-vivisection being done under penetrative supervision of people, who visibly enjoy turning upside down our shy, shallow, safe, self-indulging worlds. Nobody had sent any warning in an advance, no red flags appeared before we – a naive bunch of ‘talented’ ones – have entered for good the challenge of art studying and making.
Hardly anyone has ever suspected that it’s going to be so tough, so courage and spirit – demanding, so nerve-wracking. Our gentle, always-confident and intimidatingly knowledgeable tutors have been keeping ‘chats’ with us… smiling and nodding, yet silently requiring the truth of us… The truth of a discovery of whom we are and why do we pretend to be somebody else, why do we run away from what’s really important… And we have been obliged to dare to question everything what has been said and done, but considering all that what I’ve just written, most of us kept on flashing through the corridors and studios like damned spirits, fleeing ourselves.
What did I personally learn during those stormy months? Here are some of the valuable experiences I put into a brief ‘manual’ of how to deal with art studies:
- do not treat art as a substitute for the lost/dead God (whatever he/it appears to be), as the magic ‘filler’ to load your spirit-less world with transcendence and meaning… do not use it as a replacement for anything and anybody (that you lost/never found) – allow it to be on its own, for its own sake – DO RESPECT IT, do listen to it, do love it – it will (hopefully) reveal itself to you. And take all the responsibility it requires for its constructive development.
- do care about your viewer, even if s/he reminds you ‘that third one’ in a bedroom of lovers… I’m having an enormous problem with that: why should I care about an anonymous crowd? Those intelligent, sensitive enough will know without me being concerned and having them on my mind… But – it doesn’t work this way and your genuine care about the viewer, his/hers emotions/being just has to be included in the process of art making. Again, respect, com-passion is an answer.
- do take care about yourself, being too tough/too indulgent for one’s artistic progress is quite popular among art practitioners, keep your goals impossibly high, but your rational sense and playfulness even higher; self-confidence is everything in this business and train yourself to be really brave, as courageous and spirited as you can afford… If you’ve never felt scared to your bones due to your conscious choice to challenge somebody/something that means that you haven’t tried enough…