* Chapter 7 – The Academic World

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

“The Academic World” Dakota Galkowski, Watercolor and Marker on Paper, 2017.

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...



– FKorb

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


39 Replies to “* Chapter 7 – The Academic World”

  1. As an artist, I want to learn how to better represent topics with 3-D materials without blatantly creating the topic. The first time I made sculptures with cardboard really helped me with understanding how to create 2-D objects, like lettering, into 3-D objects. It showed me that common materials could be used for more than their intended use. When I would throw at the wheel, sometimes Jenny, Morgan, or Maggie would watch. I’d show them the basics of creating bowls and I think I really helped Morgan and Jenny to be less afraid of failure when it comes to pottery (they both are taking ceramics).

  2. I feel like this chapter was just one long rant about how art school is mainly useless. It was pretty clear early on in the chapter that they think art school doesn’t really teach anyone art, it just raises poetic and pointless questions and prepares a few to teach art. It did not need to be as long as it was. I do agree that teachers can learn a lot from teaching and from their students.

  3. “Most people stop making art when they stop being students” (85).
    This year I believe I have made the most progress in finding my own artistic voice and passion for artmaking. However, I realize that I only create art during the school year due to academic motivations. I fear that I will not continue to make art after graduation, for I have finally built a strong artistic sense. The academic world creates motivations to create art, but displace meaning and passion in some circumstances. I wish that I may be able to incorporate art in my future past any academic institution that I may be enrolled in. Art should also be for oneself, not strictly for any monetary or academic motivation.

  4. I feel that even though this chapter is completley relevant to the process of art making, it should be removed from the book. One cannot make many valid connections between creativity and craft – and academics. I think that art teachers still play a crucial role as far as direction. They teach us about how to successfully use different mediums, elements & principles, and a whole lot of other stuff we will eventually need down the road. But that goal I am trying to reach (establishing my common ground for all my work/finding my work) can not be taught to me and whether I am in a classroom or my bedroom does not matter at that point.

  5. I think I’ve taught my younger sister quite a bit about making art. She’s also taught me a bunch of things. We both like to show each other our art and give suggestions and do a very informal critique, so to say. While our art is similar is many ways (we both like the same tones and moods and textures and subjects), we tend to approach it in different ways. I suggested she start using a palette knife to achieve the texture we both like. Now we both use palette knives religiously. Similarly, she has shown me different techniques with acrylic and oils that I hadn’t thought of using before. It’s nice to have someone who I can learn from and teach at the same time.

  6. Arts are made out to show the public, and the public will tell you what to fix or what to develop your skill. I have had a hard time making a good art, but when I show my artworks to the public, I got feed back and develop my skill from then.

  7. I think that art is definitely taken for granted by the public population. Many want art for free. Days of effort may have gone into the work of that art however people see that art has no utility. In econ, I learned that the less utility a good has the less people will value it and the less they will be willing to pay for it. Art really has no use other than making us think and giving us something to look at. Art is mainly used as a conversation piece in a home if you are not the artist. I have paintings in my room (that I didn’t create) and my main reason to have them up is to express my likes and dislikes without vocalizing them. People will know that I either enjoy sunsets or paintings or both. Art in a household is used to express opinions. Overall art is loved by all but needed by none.

  8. I hope to learn and teach that art is a piece of you as a human being. This thing you created came from you and has an infinite amount of meaning. One of the first moments that I truly learned something new and revolutionary for my art was beginning to experiment with india ink and calligraphy, This discovery has allowed my art and talent to grow in ways I’ve never been able to imagine. I learn new things about art and improvements in techniques everyday, and I think that I will always continues to learn new things about art everyday.

  9. One of the biggest things I have learned in my time of being an artist is that you will not always be successful. Everyone has a piece or two in which they see a “failure” and the real artists will be able to move on and learn from their mistakes.

  10. In art, I hope to learn how to not use purple as often. Even though purple can be said to be ‘my style’, it would be pretty cool to only use purple intentionally. Anyways, I hope I can teach others to be more understanding about art in general. Mostly because I want people to stop thinking that if an artist is making anything other than pretty picture of something my mom could find on pinterest, then that artist is dumb or crazy. An example of this would be talking to any judge at the fair I enter art into. Not going to specifically say the name of the fair (very grateful for any opportunities and ribbons earned there), but the winning art tends to conform to the preference of the older non-artist country people. Its kinda funny and a little annoying but its whatever.

  11. I believe that the biggest challenge artists face is figuring out what to do with their artmaking skills after high school or even in a future career. Many people disagree that art can be a career, however, you have to save time both for making art and for sharing the artmaking process with others. In order to move forward and to make a career out of art, you have to be actively involved in the artmaking process and also in teaching others. This chapter even states that “most people stop making art when they stop being students” (85). The only way to continue your art education is to learn new styles of art and art history, along with creating your own art. Even though books cannot teach you how to make art, you need to study artmaking in order to learn about artmaking and to learn how to make work that matters to you.

  12. I don’t recall many instances where I taught other people art. I don’t take art classes in order to be able to pass on art skills like it were some kind of tradition. I mostly take classes that sound fun, and art classes are typically fun classes. I thought that this chapter made the “Academic World” seem so black and white when it comes to work and fun. I interpreted the chapter like this: first you devote your life to a specific job that you are not allowed to deviate from (in this case, Art Teacher), and then you are either working at your job and making a living (Teaching Art), or you are having fun (Making Art) and falling behind in this competitive horse race we call life. I don’t really agree with that though. Can’t you work and have fun at the same time? Can’t you be an art teacher and still be able to make art that you enjoy? Mister Korb seems to be able to do just that.

  13. I didn’t agree a lot with this chapter. Now, I am not an art teacher, but I don’t believe you can make art or be a teacher. He talks about how art teachers start to stop making art and just teach how to make it, because they are tired and lose incentive. I have not seen this in my life. In elementary and middle school, my art teacher made art. You (Mr. Korb), Mr. Roberts, and Ms. Dukowitz all still make wonderful art and display it. The college I am going to has teachers who show their artwork and continuously make it. I think art teachers still make art. Art, personally, is not something you can just throw away. This leads to my next point when the author discusses students stop making art when they aren’t students. Sure, maybe us students make less art then when we were in school, but I am not just going to stop altogether, and let the world discourage me going into my intended occupation. For me, it is an occupation, not just a profession like the book claims. I want to be a graphic artist, which I feel is an important occupation that I will enjoy having. I realize the struggles I will have in the future, but I believe if you truly love doing something, you won’t give it up.

  14. Ever since I entered the art room when I was a freshmen, I felt this positive vibe. Like I was meant to be there. I am meant to make art. It’s an antidepressant for me. There is no sport I can play but, my sport is making art. Even if I’m not a student after I graduate highschool and college I am persueing an artistic field in graphic design and special FX. Unless I lose my left had, them I guess I’m in quite a pickle.

  15. Throughout the chapter, artistic creativity and teaching both conflict. However, the authors speak of the artistic process which contains some aspect of teaching. The academic world is surrounded by teaching and learning. Students promote the creation of artwork, especially since the creation is for a grade. In order for art to continue, one has to constantly learn from their experiences and creations. This prevents a plateau in creativity. Many art teachers value both education and art equally. Because of this, their teaching and art can flourish. The chapter speaks about how universities teaching art cannot always nurture an artist because the environment is too large. But the tight art space focused just on art can overload the mind that we lose touch with the sources of creativity and inspiration. A compromise between both circumstances proves most successful for an artist. The learning environment focuses on the creation and the process of art, which forces reflection. Inspiration and reflection are very important aspects of artistic process. These aspects have lead me to “ah ha” moments with creative pieces. I have struggles with finding my strengths and weaknesses with mediums, focuses, and inspirations. But focusing on the process and techniques that lead me away from perfectionism and creating a work I am happy with created my voice. The art making process has taught me to step away from the piece and reflect once I reach a point of frustration. Finding ways to decrease my frustrations and increase my learning experiences has allowed my pieces to grow.

  16. The reason why I love making art and just art in general is because of expression and meaning. Last year, second semester, was a really hard time for me. My life was turned upside down and some look at it as a bad thing, which I dont dissagree with, but I mostly look at it as almost a good thing. It has made me stronger. Almost all my art from last year second semester was inspired and based off of what I was feeling and going through. When people look at the art, they get the same feelings that I had when I made that piece. Just like Picasso when going theough his blue period. He captured the times and the emotion that people were feeling along with what he was feeling. Viewers today see his artwork from this time and can comprehend the emotion. I love expressing myself even if no one else gets it, because I understand and just like a photograph, it captures emotion and a time in my life. For the future, I dont expect to be the next Kandinsky or the next Jackson Pollock or even the next Mr. Korb! Haha but I would like to explore art in college but make it big with theatre. So what I didnt get a role in “Cats” but maybe, just maybe, I could design the set. Or design the set in A Chorus Line. The world is filled with possibilities, we just have to find our destiny.

  17. Sorry this comment is late. I was busy watching House of Cards yesterday. I watched like half the new season in a day. This might not be an acceptable excuse but House of Cards is #Art so it should count for something.
    Anyway. This chapter was an interesting read for me because of some more recent realizations I’ve had. For a long time I thought I’d pursue art as a career. Going into high school, I was set on doing my best to work on my graphic design and fine arts skills because I thought I had it figured out: art school in Chicago, a graphic design degree, and a job in advertising. But in the past year, I’ve recognized that my strongest skills lie not in art itself but in leadership, writing, and analysis, which points me in the direction to instead look toward law or business.
    However, I see a major overlap in the skills developed in these past few years of art classes and those that I’ll be using in my future career, even if it’s not graphic design like I thought it would be. Making art teaches so many skills beyond just painting or drawing or whatever. It’s helped me figure out what I’m best at.

  18. Being a Student and an artist is not easy; Although you may say that all artists are students. The ‘student’ in which I refer to is the student that is taking classes for common core and isn’t just in an art class. As a Junior in High School I am bombarded with homework and on top of that homework I have a job. This eliminates ALL free-time to do things like draw or paint. The time I am not working, I am doing homework; the time I am not doing homework, I am working. This is a very frustrating process when I am require to do a masterpiece (three per week) that has to look amazing. The process I do art is a very slow process that requires hours upon hours of making art. Time that I simply don’t have. This is a turn off from art in which I do not think I will be resolving anytime soon.

    1. While you ARE working quicker than you are comfortable with, the solutions you have begun to develop are successful. The face is so important, and the figure becomes the support. Continue to make it work on the time scale you have. Look at the intimate scale you’ve developed to make it work. Great stuff.

    2. I completly understand. And when you you start having to pay for things like car insurance and every other thing in the world and need to work more..yeah, it gets worse. But graduation is just around the corner for you too, even as a junior. Then youll be free. It will get better, hopefully.

  19. Art class is kind of like my break in the middle of my day. Now I don’t say this at all to make it sound like I don’t care, or I don’t try, but I say it is like a break because I can be relaxed and do something I love. As far as academics are concerned, I am just being graded to do what I love doing and if I have to be at high school I will be sure that I am in an art class whether it be computer illustration, ceramics, or drawing. It doesn’t matter what type of art it is. To me its about the creativity aspect and being able to produce something to call your own (I use the word produce to give a wide variety of possibilities). In 6 years when someone asks me what my favorite part about high school was, without second thought, I’ll say “probably making art and having access to top of the line materials and listening to music and taking a break from everything else going on and just enjoying doing something I love” that is art class.

  20. I take art classes because I’m happiest in an art room. It’s a place where I can be creative and laid back. I use to think I want to do art as a career but now not so much.I don’t see myself as a serious artist. I love art and that’s why I take art classes but art isn’t something I plan on getting serious in. I still do want to better my skills in art though because I enjoy doing it.

  21. I would like to begin with how scared this first part of the chapter has begun. It says that new art teachers are, “routinely axed before ever landing their first job.” I know the economy is tough and I might be a little optimistic but I hope to be an art teacher so for the first time in this book I defiantly hope to disagree with that statement. It also proceeds to say that most teachers do not make much art for themselves which I know it is tough after a full work week but there has to be time somewhere in the need to make art that all of us posses that I get time to make art.
    This chapter then goes on to reveal that most people when they are not students anymore they will not make art anymore. That will never happen with me ever because I will have the need to create and will make art. End of that story.
    This final part of the chapter finally gives me hope. It says that for artists the word art is a verb. I find myself on a daily basis saying, “I need to art today.” It is part of what I do and who I am so it is always a task or something I need to do.
    -Mary Heebsh

  22. My job as an artist is to create art that people and I enjoy. I don’t remember my first “ah ha” moment, but if I could it would have been sometime this year. This year, I have tried new forms of art (abstraction) that I never in a million years thought I would be doing and enjoying at the same time. Also I have used materials (watercolors) that I have always disliked because I didn’t know how to use them properly (many layers!!). Whenever my little sister brings home art projects she always asks me for help and it is nice because I remember doing that certain project in middle school and now I can give her tips to improve her artwork.

  23. I make art because it makes me happy and i love doing it. My current job as an artist is to just have fun, experiment, and gain skill. I want my role to be influencing others. I want to make people feel something when they look at my artwork. I am still in the process of making that happen. I like helping and giving back with my skills. For example I have designed a shirt for a Canada fishing trip, a mission trip shirt, i have drawn my girlfriend things, and i have even designed a friends tattoo. I like my role as an artist. I just want to see where else it can take me.

  24. As an artist I dont think im obligated to do anything other than gain skill, learn new styles and evolve. Its really just a process of doing what makes you happy, and what makes you happy changes over time so you adapt and learn new applications for media and create art with it. I find immense value in teaching art because I love learning more about a subject I am genuinly interested in. I could care less if I learned a bunch of crazy theories in math that I will never use. But in martial arts, learning the proper footwork for a transition between a roundhouse/spinning hook/ tornado kick combo is a blast. The same goes for art. I only apply myself when I am interested in the subject, otherwise I just half-ass whatever it is.Teaching and learning go hand in hand with me because I like to teach what I like to learn.

  25. My job as an artist is to make myself happy. If I can’t be happy making my own art, then there should be no purpose for it. A specific ah-ha moment I had was in one of my high school art classes. It is not a very vivid memory, but the moment is when I realized to look at something without seeing it as you think you would, but exactly how it really is. When people draw, many people take what they want the object to look like and put it on paper, whereas I, actually see what shapes and values the object has, and then transform it onto paper. I have helped many people with that and they have been making more quality artwork ever since.

    1. I have a distinct memory like that in college – you are YEARS ahead of me when I was 18. Keep reflecting on those moments of discovery and realization, allow those times to carry you forward in the creation of new and exciting works – who knows, this may not be the end of your artistic career.

  26. My job as an artist is to make art and learn different processes of art making. I also need to learn from my final product. I can’t remember a specific “ah ha” moment, but I know I have had a lot of them because I feel like I have grown a lot since I first started making art. My sister is in college to be a interior architect and she needed to take drawing classes. Since she never really learned how to draw before, I helped to make her drawings better by giving her little tips.

    1. The learning continues. Keep experimenting and exploring the variety of techniques you can. It is also GREAT to see you helping to teach others.

  27. I feel that there is always room for learning new styles and techniques, but when it comes to art you essentially can only teach yourself. You learn from your own mistakes. You are the ones making the marks. Not the person sitting next to you or your instructor. Learning art is all on you. Learning your weaknesses and your strengths. But thats not necessarily always true…when I was growing up my two older brothers were hellions, starting tree houses on fire, getting into fights with two by fours, blowing up just about everything..ect. I learned from their mistakes. I learned between what was right and wrong, so playing that into art, if you see someone doing something that doesn’t make sense you know better to not make the same mistake.

  28. Growing up I always liked art. It was my favorite class of the day. Instead of being taught to do something a specific way or being told to memorize this, in art you can express yourself and do whatever you want. I always liked that I could tell my pencil what to make and how to make the drawing or whatever look. I like being in a class because then I am forced to make art. I really like it, but when im not in the class I have outside forces pulling me away from it. I like this class because I am being pushed to find myself and find how I make art. I like how I am able to pick how I want to make art and I get to expand my ideas rather than just given a project.

  29. I don’t fully believe that art is a job when being the one who teaches and/or the one being taught. Yea for an art teacher its a job but it doesn’t have to be looked at that way. In the book is tells how its being taught is important but I don’t think its actually being taught, I think its more of opening our options and being shown new ways. The person teaching is also learning from the students who are there to learn because they may have there own little views and/or a different way to understand and learn. All of what is being taught in art is being taught in many different ways but in the end all comes back to being the same. Its like religion, everyone has a god but all gods are different but yet are referring to the all mighty in the sky who watches all and sees all. Art is always different to everyone and always will be. By this I mean we all look at art with our own views and opinions but I’m not sating we never agree or disagree all I mean is that no one has the exact same reason or thoughts.

  30. First off, I really like the analogy to skill in art being like a road, and our difference being the time we have spent traveling it. I think that is a really good way to put it because I have gone through that in my art skill and progress. When I was growing up, I always saw my brother Andy creating amazing art work, and I truly tried really hard to be as good as him and to look at my art and go “dang, that is cool!’ but it never struck home like that. He still makes art that blows my mind and I have come to the conclusion that I will never attain his level of skill because of: he has more experience than me, he practices more than me, and he will be making a living off of it. It is again, how long either of us have been on that road, walking.

  31. This year, I’m not really concerned with the principles and elements of art. Yes. they are important. and yes. they are the underlying theme of every mark put down on paper. However, while in years prior, EVERYTHING was about the elements and principles, now I want to see which element and principle I want to put in my work, which I can let go, and what I can do to go from the fundamentals, to my work. While reading this chapter I made a lot of connections to music. How in 4th grade when I picked up my flute for the first time, ALL I cared about was getting everything technically accurate. Fingering the notes with traditional fingering, keep direct tempo, and play EXACTLY what was on the page before me. Then as high school started and I started to get more advanced, I learned different fingerings to go from one note to another easier, I learned how to play very loud, and super soft, and the more I learned about your playing styles, or the style of time it was written in, the more I could intelligently put in little trills, or flips, and make the music more than what is written on the page. That correlation that I made between art and music was an Aha! moment for me, as I have been devoting A LOT of time and effort to music, since middle school, and Ive been thinking about how to make things my own with music. But, I never thought that with art, and throughout this chapter I felt the same was true for art. I have spent so much time learning the fundamentals, elements, and principles, but now, I want to learn how to make my own work. And learn how to be my own artist. I know that the foundation in which was laid will always be ever present, but now, I need to build from that.

  32. I feel like I have already learned all the fundamentals of art and how to make it. Now I want to learn to learn how to make my own work and deal with problems I might face. For example, I want to learn my own distinct style of making art. I also want to learn what process of making art is right for me. One of my ah-hah moments would be when I figured out that good art does not always have to be realistic and that kinda ties in with me wanting to find my own style. I like to think that I have taught my family things about art, mostly by example. Like when my sister and I were littler she would always copy me and ask questions about my drawings.

  33. I really don’t know what I’m trying to learn about art making, by taking this class. I just know that I like doing art and I want to keep it up, and that being in an artsy environment that’s going to pressure me and make me try harder is something that’s ultimately good for me. It forces me to take something that makes me happy, and turn it into something that I can take seriously and invest in, because of incentive and deadlines and stuff.

    An “aha moment” of this year is that I realized how much work and time good art takes. I’ve made stuff that I really care about in the past, but I’ve never really taken a step back and just comprehended the immense amount of effort and time that goes into it. The book & Mr. Korb’s emphasis on the process of art making caused me to think about this idea, and realize its truth.

    I think this section’s focus on teaching art was interesting, because art is such a relative and personal thing that I feel it’s difficult to instill in a person. I just really think that artists should encourage each other’s divergence instead of curbing it, because the best art happens when an artist has no idea what they’re doing, they’re just doing it because it’s what feels right to him or her.

    My favorite quote of this section: “Learning is the natural reward of meetings with remarkable ideas, and remarkable people.” I also liked the bit about the professor who shunned responsibility until people stopped expecting it from him.

  34. I love the quote from the book “…most people stop making art when they stop being students.” Because I do believe that you never finish being a student of art. I will never reach the day where I will know Everything about art, or anything. Without art education, I wouldn’t be where I am now with my works. They have developed with my knowledge and will continue when I reach university.
    When they speak of the difference between training and education, I feel it is true. Education does prepare you for life.
    And as for teaching art yourself, In the section of the chapter about “faculty issues” it says that your teaching is “skewed”. This comment goes a little off topic but I feel when you are an art teacher, your teaching is a bit “skewed” or in other biased. I really want to become an art teacher and I feel like my teaching would be biased because I would tell my students what to do from my perspective. And even though I would have more education that them, I am still learning, as I always will be, learning the ways of art.

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