Tuesday, November 25, 2008

how to survive art school

a string of text-mail push-pulls, ending with something to the effect of: "Thanks A Lot, Nice Walk To 16th And Mission Instead." 

....The kind of raw, miserable, aching feeling that such conversation produces, even when you see it coming from miles away, and have stockpiled enough supplies to get you and all the neighbors through the next natural disaster, if and when it strikes. 
Be it known: I am someone that carries a first-aid kit in addition to having a first-aid kit at home, and enough (not obsessive amounts of anything) on hand to get through at least a couple of days. water (usually.... ), band-aids/bandages, ointments, candles, matches, emergency fuel pellets + metal containers to light fires in, warm clothes, flashlights, painkillers, tuna, hot chocolate, etc. 

A fellow student at the glasgow school of art made a survival kit for emotional heartache. I wish I could find a picture of it. She carved a box, lined it with velvet. The contents fit perfectly, but I can't quite remember what they were.... A journal with a finite number of pages to "work through it," some chocolates, a compass, tissues; a condom was in there as a punch-line: Get over it, kiddo. 
At thirty-five, Vicki was one of the older students in the program, and seemed to me to be quite middle aged, and I was sort of awe-struck that she was pursuing life doing art, not just art, but this kind of art, instead of doing something more practical or raising a family; she was markedly from or out of punk rock, but dressed down, and though her body was spry and young, her face had this strange kind of rubbery quality. She had at one time been in a relationship with the guy I had a desk next to, Jim. Jim lived in the towers (the projects, where a number of artists lived), introduced himself to me by drawing a cartoon bug on my notebook with a speech bubble: "Wanker." I cried, actually, not on purpose, and he never did anything to tease again. When we took a class trip to London, Vicki and Jim adopted me for an afternoon to Brick Lane... They took me to second hand shops, sex shops, music stores, galleries; stories told through the lenses of previous trips to London shared when they were lovers. 
Post emotional-healing, Vicki composed a new list: "How To Survive Art School." 

"How To Survive Art School."
1. Ignore bullshit but learn how to use it, it will buy time.
2. Delight in all ideas no matter how shite.
3. Look at the work of other artists and try to understand, do not try too hard.
4. Remember art is a matter of personal taste
5. Ignore anyone offering advice if you do not like their work.
6. Try to accept ideas.
7. Do only that which stimulates and interests you.
8. The tutors do not always know best.
9. Drink and smoke, but not to the extent that you damage your health.
10. Laugh wherever possible.
11. Cry if you want to.
12. If you are lost in the world of concepts return to aesthetics.
13. Never ask "But is it art?" Anything is if you say so.
14. Try to get on with the other students, they are human too.
15. Mix with non-art people and allow them to take the piss.
16. Have a personal strategy (like Steve Mqueen in Papillon) and stick to it.
17. If you are confused concentrate on the craft and skill of good presentation.
18. Don't go for big statements until you know how to work.

Earlier today, I received a mass e-mail from a favorite curator-esque-person with the header:
"thank goodness; its NOT another folk thing :)"

A link to a video by Ryan Trecartin.