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one path | +Jo

5 Dec ’11
an_explosion_from_love

-Posted by +Jo

Around here everyone is self taught. You pick up, shoot and figure everything out along the way. It’s just how it’s done. It’s even a selling point for Leah and Mark that they didn’t go to an art school to learn about photography. That makes it all the more impressive. There have been other situations in the past year of job hunting and figuring things out that people would see an art school as a ridiculous thing to invest in.  I can understand their viewpoint.

But for me, the traditional route was the only way to go.

I’m part of a particular generation that grew up being told “You get good grades, go to college and get a great job.” Pretty simple philosophy and I stuck to it. But as soon as I entered into my college life the economy tanked and I hoped to wait it out. No such luck… Anyways. I’m not here to argue the point of the 99% movement or other political topics. I want to talk about SCAD. The good and the bad.

 

 

I was accepted to SCAD my junior year of high school. I didn’t really try for any other places. {Except the London Art Institute – but I wouldn’t havebeen able to move overseas for school.} I wasn’t very worried about paying for it because I had been saving for college since I was 5. Yeah. Dead serious there. I knew from the beginning I wanted to study as much as possible while at SCAD. I wasn’t sure which areas, but I had a pretty good idea. Through a lot of trials with life, finances and school I figured out I wanted to get a double major and double minor. Sequential art {comic books} with a minor in Printmaking and Performing arts with a minor in Dance. I told myself I would do it in five years. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

The administration thought I was nuts. The first 3.5 years every time I had to speak to anyone about my classes, finances or planning they would try to talk me out of it. I was tossed between so many advisors I really can’t recall any names. Around the time I was doing my senior project for my Sequential art degree they finally gave up and let me be.

The professors were amazing people. They are the reason I stuck it out at SCAD. They have so much knowledge packed away and as long as you put yourself out there, they would stuff as much as they could into your head. However, they all had the same reaction to my course of study. I “wasn’t focused enough”. Well, all except for one. Jeremy Mullins was the only professor to hear my long list of concentrations and responded positivity. “That’s so awesome!” I still hear his words ringing loudly in Norris Hall’s computer lab. He really wanted to see me make it in everything I was studying. He wanted to see how I would apply it as a whole. Though I only had two of his classes, he was hands down the most supportive person I met at SCAD.  {R.I.P. Sweetwater – you are the cranky angel on so many student’s shoulders.}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The students were a strange force to reckon with. I can’t really talk about the student body with out specifically talking about the department they studied in. Each department produced {or attracted} a specific kind of student. It was strange… everyone was the punch line to a different department’s jokes. There was not a lot of camaraderie between everyone at SCAD. In each department, sure, but not really across departments. Theater kids didn’t really hang out with game design kids. Sequential kids didn’t chill with jewelry kids.  This was one thing that made me stand out in all my departments. I wasn’t a consistant face so people didn’t know how to respond to me. This was a good and bad thing. Good – because I wouldn’t get caught up in department drama. Bad – because I had a hard time making connections with people. In the end, my friends consisted of a hodge-podged group from all over the school.

I never took a break. I always worked and kept learning. I wore my body out doing it. In my final quarters at SCAD things were a little dicy and I though I would have to drop a minor, possibly both, but the administration really pulled through. It was such a surreal moment when I was sitting in front of one of the many advisors and she was telling me “No, you’re going to finish the minors. You are so close. We are going to figure this out and you are going to do this.” I was flabbergasted. Years of fighting with them on being allowed to do it and then in the end, when I lost hope that it was possible, a couple people rallied behind me and helped me complete everything.

Five years and I met my goal head on.

So what does all of this even mean?

Nothing in particular. It was the path I took. It was a path that has now defined me in more ways than you can imagine. The past year has been very rough and there has been numerous occasions that I felt embarrassed not only about my degrees, but also about even attending one of the top art schools in the world.  I’ve taught myself many things over the years. Photography is one of them. But I don’t want to feel embarrassed about my time at SCAD. I don’t want to look down on my accomplishment. An accomplishment I tore my mind, body and spirit to pieces to achieve. I know art school isn’t for everyone. But neither is an alternative path.

 

~*~

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1 Comment

  • Reply David R. Arellanes 22 Dec ’11 at 3:43 am

    YES…the nuts are yours! Because you happen to be the Top Nut! But, remember one thing…..your are the ONLY nut that is strong enough, intelligent enough, stubborn enough, talented enough, persistant enough…to do and achieve what you have. Each and every thing you have learned, either through SCAD or on your own, will be useful to you in everything you do and achieve for the rest of your career and life. You may have not quite fit into each of all those departments at SCAD, but you are like the squirrel hanging upside-down on a telephone pole with you mouth FULL of NUTS……nobody – can or will – be able to ignore you or your work. Your getting there babygirl – enjoy the trip!

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