Studying Art – Diary (13) – What now?

Perhaps it’s the more popular question to be asked by an artist than one can imagine – What now? I have got, indeed, a creative, exciting period of discoveries and found solutions – but – what now? I have been praised and supported, despite my oddities – but –  what now? I have been pushing the boundaries and challenging the rules, something of a new quality has begun to emerge – but – what now? What now? Have I learned my lessons, have I been as honest and rigorous with myself and others as it was possible to be, is it my work not a cul-de-sac? …

Studying art is a fantastic privilege and one-in-life adventure, yet – there is a high price-tag to be paid. Apart from the strong sense of competition and generally not very bright prospects for the future career, you are there to perform – and to perform your best not matter what, which requirement makes many to quilt before the finish line. You are expected to progress and to mature all the time, to gain and display the whole set of professional behaviours and skills like the concept and audience-focused thinking, full responsibility for your work and the its development, pursuing the ambitious, personal expression and an unique, visual language, theoretical and technical competency, etc… And there is no more than three years for all of that. Your tutors are ‘somewhere around’ (as they are likely to call their position) – you can seek an individual guidance, yet – the quicker you land on your own feet the better.

Above that, you are very likely to wake up your demons – the questions you would never have asked (or have never been challenged to ask) yourself before starting to study fine art. All your misery and tragic past may be there – awaken and for all to see; all your shallowness and limitations of your inflated ego may be there – exposed as in no other enterprise; all your beauty and strength of your character and talents may also be there – discovered and recognized – yet – what then, what now?

I feel it for the first time, all the gravity and the sublime quality of being a supported art student, who gets possibly more of the mentors’ sympathy and attention, than he/she deserves. Studying fine art is not a private playground for gifted kids, it is not a dreamy land for the real-life-escape-experts, but it is a study like no other study – it is, in a fact, a very serious and risky activity, you can get hurt if you don’t deal with it properly; you can hurt others, who are around you as well…

Starting the new, last semester of this degree year I cannot help to keep asking – what are going to do now? Will you continue your negative, chaos and provocation-based experiments, or will you perhaps choose to ‘calm down’, to densify your formlessness and vagueness into a truly meaningful statement? Will you stay somewhere at the crossroads balancing both of the mentioned options, ignoring the pressure of the ‘results’ (the one of the biggest disadvantages of studying art in an institution – to force oneself to get the ‘results’ on time)? Will you answer to the your work’s calling from yet another, unpredictable now angle? How well/badly will you deal with your audience’s expectations/likes/dislikes? These are not rethoric questions at all, they demand quick, clear answers… Hopefully, some of those will follow in the next post from the series…

About kasia

Born in Poland. Lives in Ireland, Cork. Visual artist. View all posts by kasia

2 responses to “Studying Art – Diary (13) – What now?

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