Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

I can't help but think, as I delve into these readings with a Philly Cheese Steak in one hand and aching legs from walking around Philadelphia all day, that I might have actually liked art class, (pause for the two most bitter-filled words of the English language) . . . if only . . .

Painting is scary, because you paint a stroke, and it's just kinda stuck there on the paper, and you're stuck with either painting over it, keeping it, or starting over. Drawing with pencil is scary, because I can't seem to ever recreate the cool ideas I have in my mind, and the amount of erasures I make usually create a rip or hole in the paper. Sitting there is intimidating, because the teacher wants me to stay pretty quiet, so getting help from a friend or socializing is somewhat diallowed. So my options: do it yourself, or bring it to the teacher so she/he can do it for you. I usually brought it the teacher.

I embraced abstract art with the enthusiasm of a kid at a candy store. Unfortunately, we never actually tried our hand at this type in class. Class time was for refining your artistic skills. Painting with a paint brush. Threading strands of paper together. Molding slimy clay. I longed for the safety of being allowed to make a mess on paper, and then be able to use language to BS your way out of the mess into something profound and deep. Sadly, no amount of BS could save my realistic bird blobs and landscape scenes . ..

So the vision of new media art seems promising in a lot of ways. The vision of "visual culture inquiry" (Freedman and Stuhr) could have transformed my art-class-taking-bad-attitude from "this is pointless" to "this is the point." Being encouraged to work collaboratively could have removed the discomfort I felt in the silent, whisper-filled classrooms and the feeling that "I was doing this whole thing on my own." Relying on technology art tools beyond my amazingly-stupid/rebellious hands and fingers seems like a dream come true.

No time machine, yet. But I'm pretty sure, if I happened to have one parked in my garage, I'd throw the key in the ignition and hop right on over to 1993, 6th grade art class, Mr. Hadley. I would hand him these articles, pat him encouragingly on the shoulder, and be on my merry way, with an artistic swagger to my step . . .


  1. Interestingly enough, the major reason why I didn't like art in school was the same reason why you thought it was scary. Art classes were highly structured. If something wasn't real enough or didn't have the proper shading techniques or didn't have the correct shadows, that was a piece of crap as opposed to art. That, in essence, was the issue. Artistic endeavors are supposed to be fun, school just took the fun out of it for me. If Mr. Hadley is still around, you could potentially email him these articles and digitally swagger away. :)

  2. I love it! Of course, part of me thinks that if I was GOOD at shading or techniques, I would have LOVED art class.

    One question- how do you "digitally swagger?"

  3. if you watch the office, this post reminded me a lot of pam. if you don't, ignore this comment haha