Audio Version of the Chapters is Here.
“When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw.
She stared at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?”
– Howard Ikemoto
I use those lines when I try and explain what it is I do when I speak to little kids. It is amazing that the little kids haven’t forgotten how to draw, but when we get to the high school level, kids tend to (adults too… have you SEEN some of the drawings and diagrams by your other teachers? They should have taken more art classes… no?).
The academic world is a great place, but it is no guarantee that your future in art will be successful. That being said, there are no guarantees that ANY career that you go to college for (or other school) will end up with a guarantee of success. For ALL artists, teaching art is (or ought to be) the end product and the idea that “teaching is part of the process” of being an artist. This is where the process of art is the important part of being an artist. With process, you are always learning from your work and the work of others. Your experiences help others learn how to be better artists, other artists experiences help you to become a better artist.
As students of art, the fact that “The discouraging truth is that the rest of the world neither cares whethor you make art, nor has much interest in buying it if you do…. art may be acceptable asa a profession, but not as an occupation. Simply put, making art is not considered a realjob.” (87) can be a very scary thought and should be understood, but quickly overcome.Who, other than you (and maybe your parents) care WHAT you do with your life as an occupation. There will always be doctors and lawyers and teachers and chefs… but it is entirely up to you to be happy with your occupation. Remember why you are taking art courses, not to land that job as a painter or drawer but rather to learn how to paint or draw (or sculpt or make photographs, etc…).
Think about your job as an artist and what is it you are hoping to learn and teach about art? What are some specific instances you have experienced where you have truly felt that you leanred something new, the “ah ha!” happenedand a light was turned on, the brain literally shifted and went from your left brain to your right brain and you saw things in an entirely different fashion? ALSO – think about a specific instance when you feel you taught someone something, niot about your art, but rather about the artmaking process.
Let us get back into the blog so we can REALLY learn form the wise words of Mr. Orland and Mr. Bayles (and any wise words I might have thrown your way).
I use those lines when I try and explain what it is I do when I speak to little kids. It is amazing that the little kids haven’t forgotten how to draw, but when we get to the high school level, we tend to...
A note from Beth Schlieger, Marshall High School –
If not clear in the book, much of what makes it difficult for an art teacher to continue creating art is TIME. Time is not on our side. There are two reasons I am an art teacher. My passion for art and my passion for education. I have always loved art and I have always loved learning (yes, I am admitting that I was one of those students that was excited to go to school each day and learn something new.) It’s a complex balance I try to embrace in my classroom, my students could tell you whether I’m successful or not. I can’t take the approach mentioned in the book where the one professor discussed acting like a flake so he would not be asked to contribute to committees – I belong to committees because I belong to a community of educators that is invested in the education of all students that walk through my door – even if they are not passionate about art. I actually had a student this fall respond that he hated all art – Wow! It’s a challenge, but I’ll reach him as well. It’s my job. Many art teachers in my opinion make the mistake of separating themselves from the rest of the school – Art is a part of the school, a critical part, and any teacher who doesn’t express it in this way is doing a disservice to their students. (Sorry, that was a little bit of soap boxing and I don’t know that it really answered anything.)
So, teaching does occupy much of my time, but so do a lot of other pass times that aren’t nearly as important or rewarding. If my art doesn’t get made it is because I choose not to use my time to create it. It is possible to do both, teach art and create art. It’s not easy – but nothing of significance is.
Being a student – college – you have the opportunity to explore your thoughts, your ideas, but even more importantly you have the opportunity to explore the minds of your peers – sometimes that’s scary but you’ll survive. Find your niche – You can’t just study sociology and have a career in sociology, you have to figure out how it can be applied to a career/job, what’s the next step. Art surrounds you – somebody has to make it – why not you?
– Beth Schlieger