Art school is a fucking head trip.
I'm a recovering artist on summer break from school, living with my parents in Florida and working for my father as a marketing graphic designer at a local spectrometer company (more on that later). I attend the Rhode Island School of Design, as a fine arts major. The semester starts back up in a month, but I'm not quite sure I want to return when the it begins. It has become increasingly difficult for me to make art. I used to feel so engaged when I worked, the process being more of an actually enjoyable hobby rather than the tedious chore it became during my last semester. Art should be a natural process, an extension of your own inner dialogue coming out into the real world. It was for me an exploration, both of myself and of my surroundings. Art can also be an unhealthy investigation of your ego, and this past year my relationship with this process became just that.
As I painted, I stopped doing it for pleasure and began to be concerned only with my devlopment. I would spend many nights working from early evening until early afternoon the next day, kept going by caffeine in a dingy basement lit with clamp-lights. This constant isolation and stress that went into every piece I made was turning me into a recluse. I had totally lost sight of my own vision. My drawings and paintings had become a sterile product of technique, lacking any real personality or life, while the anatomy, light, depth and composition were all dead on. I could create a drawing that appeared
real and appeared
to have a lifeforce behind it, but beyond the technique - it was an illusion. They were lacking that breath of life that makes an illusion become real.
Besides my divorce from art, I also felt disconnected from everything outside of my school. As our political climate complicated, I felt powerless to react. I had fallen into a dumb slumber, pumping out my scheduled paintings and drinking heavily on the weekends, and never made any effort to fight for a cause that I felt strongly about. I wanted to travel, to be educated in more of an academic setting, to understand the natural world on a level past what I read in National Geographic, and to have a more active social life. This is not to say that an artist can't use their artistic talents as a vessel for alternative causes. I'm saying that I cant. I have a bit of a problem focusing on multiple objectives in my life, kind of an all or nothing type of person. Throwing myself into a passion is easy, but balancing multiple passions is not.
So, I'm taking a break from visual arts for awhile, thinking about possibly going to another school - New College in Florida - to study anthropology. Or political science....or film. Turning away from art when it has long been a constant in your life feels like getting a clean slate. I can do anything now, but how does one decide what to