On the Fence with University

Dashboard Forums Weekly Member Message On the Fence with University

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #9813
    Samantha Sewell
    Participant

    Hi Matt,

    I’ve been out of education for almost a year now, but my boyfriend and his parents really think that I could benefit hugely from university. I could apply to start next year, when I’m 20, rather than the usual age of 18.

    I live in the UK, and support for student finance is quite good here, so that’s not a major issue. I think I’m just slightly worried that it could be a waste of time, but then again it might be quite useful to be in more of an artistic environment than the one I live in at the moment.

    I had a bad experience doing a local art foundation course, which I soon dropped out of, and was put off from further education. I therefore preferred to rather learn from online courses such as this one. But maybe I shouldn’t let one bad experience influence my decision to go to university?

    I want to be able to become a full time artist once I finish university, selling original work and prints. I’m worried that I won’t have enough time to build a reputation while studying in order to achieve this. But, then again, I’m not entirely sure how to build a reputation for myself in the first place. I had a meeting with someone from a local gallery to show her my work, but she said it all looked ‘unfinished.’ I have improved over the last year by myself, but do you think going to university would help to speed up the process of improvement?

    I understand that all universities are different, and I will be attending open days and such, but I’d just like to get some advice from you (especially since you work at a university)

    Thank you very much!

    Sam

    #9818
    Samantha Sewell
    Participant

    + one extra point: I’m looking at doing a Fine Art course, but my sixth form art teacher that I went to for advice said that fine art courses are often too conceptual & focused on sculpture, and I should go for illustration/graphics because she said my work is very illustrative.

    But I really want to go into doing fine art paintings for galleries etc. Although I did do an illustration for a book cover, it’s not a career I want to go in to. I feel like doing illustration will be too constricting, whereas fine art will be more free in what I can do and experiment with. I’m not a fan of sculpture, but I have found courses that will let me experiment within my own chosen field of media.

    This is my portfolio website: https://samsewell.carbonmade.com Do you think illustration or graphics could still apply to what I want to do, or should I stick with my original idea of taking a fine art course?

    (sorry for all the text, this is a big decision for me and I want to make sure I’m making the right choices!!)

    #9872
    Marjan Van der Donk
    Participant

    Hi Samantha,
    As a former private tutor I have guided a fair share of 17 and 18-year-olds through similar questions. Firstly: kudos for asking, for it is very important to get feedback from as many people as possible, esp. professionals. Secondly: 20 is an ideal age, for you make a more concious decision than most. Also I would encourage you to feel that you are ‘allowed’ to make the NOT so perfect choice 😉 for there are no perfect things in life. You base your choice on what you know and feel at a certain point in time, and that perspective might change through your experiences or circumstances. And then you just make the next choice, as simple as that! Could be changing universities, changing courses, experimenting in mediums … you never ‘loose a year’, rather you always gain experience and maturity. This applies to artists even more! I feel that you will gain a lot from going to university/professional art school. You will be challenged, will be pulled from your comfort zone, gain perspective on your likes and dislikes, hopefully get some decent tutoring re techniques and the reality of being an artist and get to know your way around exhibitions/galleries/the money side of things.
    Good luck!

    #9883
    Suzanna Lasker
    Participant

    I looked at your portfolio and found it attractive to the eye and thought provoking. I feel you could use further education just to widen your scope and expand your skills and technique. Looking back on my learning experience I hope you will continue to draw for yourself, putting down your wildest ideas…and not try for perfection. I am still learning. When someone asks how I am, instead of saying , fine, I want to blurt out what I drew and how happy I am drawing…

    #9899
    Samantha Sewell
    Participant

    Thank you so much to you both for sharing your experiences and advice!

    Marjan – That is actually quite a good point about being able to make a better decision at the age of 20, I think I was just quite worried about being older and feeling behind, but then again I won’t be because I’ve also been learning and maturing while away from education.
    All those aspects you’ve written about is really encouraging and exciting, and I think university definitely could be the nearest-to-perfect choice that I could make for myself in a year’s time.
    I just got a job working in a local gallery so it’ll help me save up as well as get me some good experience! My parents said it could lead to more opportunities, but I think I’m leaning towards it being more of a supplement to university, as I could learn more with other professionals and like-minded people than essentially being on my own.

    Suzanna – Thank you, I’m glad you like my work! Yeah, after getting advice from a number of people including you, Marjan, and Matt, I’m really starting to understand how valuable university could be to me. I’ll definitely continue to draw for myself, I promise! I’m looking at courses that are quite self-directed, so that my uni experience can be one of self-expression and fulfillment!
    That’s so lovely, I hope you continue to feel that way about drawing! It’s very easy to let it bring you down when it’s not going well (I’m going to work on this as I’m especially prone to it, so that I’m ready to experiment & fail and be urged rather than discouraged to press onward!)

    #9919
    Suzanna Lasker
    Participant

    I used to get very depressed when a drawing failed….either a really bad drawing or a mediocre choice of idea or medium. It’s like one of my other challenges…making hard boiled eggs. Sometimes I end up with soft boiled or over boiled with that greyblack sulphuric ring….but that doesn’t stop me from boiling eggs. From personal experience over decades…to quit making art is to quit being me…leaving a great gaping hole called depression. What I’ve learned to do is wait it out, go and research subjects and ideas, or just smell the flowers. The urge to make art comes back…I do think there’re is a needed breathing spell in the flow of creativity. I’m including a dud of a painting I started last Wednesday (from this week’s drawing post). I wasn’t really looking and painted the mouth a half an inch off center…you can see how I worried the watercolor paper trying to correct it…

    #9942
    Marjan Van der Donk
    Participant

    What a great opportunity to work in a gallery! Gives you the funds and the time to really research all the universities/art schools – I would encourage you to go and visit as many as possible for as you rightly said: it’s very important to be around people that will stimulate you and challenge you in a good way. You need that stimulus as an artist – and next take it all back to your ‘cave’ and make your personal art 😉 Going to the actual buildings and hopefully meet students/teachers and/or follow a lesson will help you make the best choice for you.

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