Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I was going to write about art.

I was going to write about my process of doing art in college. I declared myself as an art major this semester, something neither I nor anyone I knew saw coming. As one of my best friends said when I told her when I said she did something random, "Its not as random as you changing your major to art after showing no artistic interest whatsoever." Or something like that.

But shortly after I changed my major, I remembered something I said a few years ago to a fellow student: 'If the world didn't need saving, I'd be an art major.' I always thought that art was a luxury. I thought I could go to school for something that would help make the world a better place.

As it turns out though, school doesn't teach you much of anything useful for saving the planet. Thus my degree change. And now I have to face what I have rarely dealt with before: being challenged in school. Because school has always been a breeze for me. I picked up math, language, even science and history, easily and naturally. I skated through school, a straight A student the whole way. But art? Art is completely different territory. This is right brain stuff. This is why I changed my major.

Since changing my major, I have discovered a place in school where I question my own sense of self worth. Although I enjoy being challenged and trying new things, I'm not used to not being able to do things. Such as draw Kendall Hall. (I was nearly in tears that day, as I worked my way around my paper, only to discover that I was going to have to erase everything and start over to make it come close to looking right.)

The hardest part about making art is feeling excited about my work, and wanting to show it off to my friends, and then feeling embarrassed when I imagine how I look. Like a little kid coming home from school showing their parents their scribbled monster drawing, to which the parents can only respond, "That's wonderful darling!"

I panic when I think I am acting like a little kid. I fear being seen. I feel immature. Part of me hasn't grown up. I noticed the other night that while watching a movie about high schoolers that I felt younger than the kids in the movie. They seemed older than me. Why is that? Didn't I ever grow up? Shouldn't the high school kids seem younger than me? What's wrong with me?

When I see high schoolers in person they seem younger though. So maybe it was just the movie.

Part of the problem is that our society's idea of maturing entails becoming part of the capitalist economy, something I rebel against. Does this condemn me to being a kid forever? Can I psychologically mature in this context? What does that even mean?

This idea that I am more immature than people around me, more clumsy and irresponsible, is part of a general problem with devaluing myself. But I ask myself, do I really want to grow up? The answer is yes and no.

Yes I want to take responsibility for my part in the scheme of life. Yes I want to create, to influence and help shape this world in harmony with my values. Yes I want to feel that I am growing, emotionally and spiritually.

No I don't want to get a boring, soul-killing job. No I don't want to let go of my idealism. No I don't want to settle for being a cog in the machine.

All this leaves one question unanswered though. Am I a little kid if I want to show off my art? Can I let go of this shame of being proud of something I made? Pride and shame...they're dating these days. But for how long?

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to show people your work (even if you yourself like it). It's very vulnerable to say "this is a piece of me" and leave it to be judged. If you feel like you're acting like a little kid when you show someone your art, just remember that every other "serious" art student is doing the same thing. Getting work in a gallery is one of the goals of your peers, so maybe checking out the school gallery and reminding yourself that art is made to be SEEN will help.
    I'm happy that you are challenging yourself. Challenges are great opportunities after all!
    I love you.