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  • I'm doubting my school... Or is it just me?

    Hi, new member here

    I'm a college freshman looking into graphic design and I have to admit I'm a bit frustrated with my schools' art program and I have some questions for you guys... Well, technically I'm not in the art program yet. I passed the portfolio review (currently taking the required classes for participating the review) to get into the General art program and then I have to take more required classes to participate in a second portfolio review to get into the Graphic Design program. I guess that's fairly normal for these programs to be so selective of their students, but my main concern is the content of my current (and future) classes in this program. I mean, in my supposed art criticism class, the professor hardly mentions art. Instead, he discusses our country's oil supply, how technology is killing us and we meditate for half an hour to an hour. Not to mention that the professor once asked us if we ever considered talking to a plant and actually listened closely for a response and that selling my art or using it in a profitable way would mean becoming corrupted by commercialism. My other concern is that I'm told that to get into the Graphic design program (or rather, to make it to the second portfolio review), I have to pass sculpting and painting courses (areas that I admit are not my strong points) among others. Before going to college, I've done freelance work and am now buying books to read on my own because at this point, I've learned more about graphic design on my own than I have all semester with my current classes. That worries me, coupled with the fact that the design page on my schools' site has this little gem displayed:
    http://i.imgur.com/bSaGO.jpg
    I mean, what is that supposed to be!? A screenshot of what exactly?

    Some have suggested I look into to Academy of Art in San Francisco (which I did; I went to their open house in NY last month) because they supposedly get straight to the point without all the filler courses I'm currently taking. I guess I'm sort of frustrated because I've been drawing and experimenting in this type of art for most of my life and now that I want to get serious about it in college, all I get is some hippie lighting incense sticks while we sit on mats for 30-60 minutes. What would you all suggest? Are all colleges like this and I just have to get through it?

    BTW, if anyone is interested in taking a look, here are some examples of my work:
    A Birthday Card I made for a friend: http://i.imgur.com/Seyt3.jpg
    A book cover for a novel (this specific style was requested): http://i.imgur.com/96XN6.jpg
    And an early version of a business card for a friends's new cake business (still a work in progess, but I like how it's turning out): http://i.imgur.com/Pgvs6.jpg

    I hope I didn't come across as some childish kid whining about how difficult college is, because that's not what I meant at all! It's just that I'm worried about my future here if the courses and some of the faculty I've met in my freshman year are any indication of what I can expect in my next 3 years. I mean, even with a 50k scholarship, I've had to take out loans to stay here so I hope you understand my frustration >_<

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum, Box. We ask all new members to read the forum rules posted here and here. They will give you all the info you need on how the forum runs, the rules and regs, and give you some background info on our long running, inside jokes

    Your school sounds like a trip, and not in a good way. I'd keep looiking at other schools.
    This post is brought to you by the letter E and the number 9. Those are the buttons I push to get a Twix out of the candy machine.
    "I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process."

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    • #3
      Your art criticism course professor sounds insane. That or he/she has a very complicated plan to bring all of the current talking and meditating around full circle to art by the end of the course. Either way, scary. If you can transfer to the same course with a different teacher, I'd try that. Or speak to someone else at school about your concerns that you're not learning anything about art criticism.

      A lot of graphic design programs start with two years of foundational fine art, so the sculpture and painting classes sound normal to me. I had two years of painting, drawing, figure drawing, color theory, design theory, sculpture and art history before I even started learning about graphic design.
      Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by KitchWitch View Post
        Your art criticism course professor sounds insane. That or he/she has a very complicated plan to bring all of the current talking and meditating around full circle to art by the end of the course. Either way, scary. If you can transfer to the same course with a different teacher, I'd try that. Or speak to someone else at school about your concerns that you're not learning anything about art criticism.

        A lot of graphic design programs start with two years of foundational fine art, so the sculpture and painting classes sound normal to me. I had two years of painting, drawing, figure drawing, color theory, design theory, sculpture and art history before I even started learning about graphic design.
        QFT, although I'm finding it is less prevalent in design schools to have any focus on fine arts. A shame really, as learning the different disciplines of art ("filler" classes) can make you a better designer. Design is in just about every facet of life, so any knowledge can be applied at some point, you may think something is a waste of time now, but a few years down the road and you might actually use a nugget or two from one of these "filler" classes.
        Design is not decoration.

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        • #5
          Exactly. The elective classes we had included psychology and the science of color. I really enjoyed the program, as every course related to art in some way, and it could all be applied later. Especially psychology, lol.
          Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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          • #6
            Looks like you have a nice style, good in illustration.
            (you're covering up the sweets though)

            So, you are in a non art school I take it? not that there's anything wrong with a non-art school.

            That doesn't sound like the best of classes, spent doing stuff other than art.

            I'd do as Kitch said and see if there is another class taught by a different professor…ask around the other students to get their input…do people like it, just not you?
            A graphic designer is a communicator, not an "artist" per se and thus makes a living selling his/her "Art". Just because you are paid does not make you a sell out. It means you have talent people are will to pay for. Moby had an interview one time and talking about all these songs of his in TV, commercials, movies and other stuff and he was asked if that made him a "sell-out" he said no, he likes making music and having people listen to it and getting paid means he can live and focus on more music. If you went to a potter and paid for some nice clay piece is the potter a sell out?

            Anyway, welcome aboard the GDF crazy train.


            Best of luck to you
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            • #7
              Have you tried talking to the teacher, or the school administration and getting some clarity around what you should be learning from that specific teacher's class? I think I would.
              - Jen

              "You cannot soar with eagles if you surround yourself with turkeys"

              My blog

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              • #8
                I'd be frustrated too, if I wanted to learn about art and the teacher is wasting my valuable time teaching things that don't really relate. (Although meditation is vital to creativity in my experience.)
                But also in my experience art criticism is kind of major bs, so if you get the credit you need to move on... sounds painless...
                and I hate to say it but most professional artists, myself included, became corrupted by commercialism, you paint for you clients, you paint what sells. It can't be otherwise if you are dependent on your art for food, etc. You have to sell, you only have so much time to paint, so you paint what you know will sell. Not a lot of room for experimenting. You might want to open to what your teacher is trying to say, did he say 'don't sell', or 'be aware that you will be corrupted'. Did you hear him? He has some good insights. And the talking to plants bit, it is scientifically proven that plants respond to being talked to etc.
                Maybe he's trying to open his cynical students to a little sensitivity - essential to creativity.

                That being said I also would just want to learn about the subject at hand and would look for a different teacher. Or school...

                BTW I teach art. And I only teach art, the underlying principles to composition, color, etc. I figure the meditativeness, etc you'll pick up if you want, and being in the creative zone is meditation.
                Last edited by Rachel B; 04-13-2012, 09:10 AM.

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                • #9
                  You surely can't be the only one that would rather be doing actual learning in class. Your course sounds wacky enough to be a movie set. It is probably too late to get a curriculum in place. In any case, that isn't your job.

                  Get out before you waste anymore time singing kumbaya.
                  It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh

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                  • #10
                    Wow...your professor sounds insane, and I've had quite a few crazies. Its normal to be frustrated by a teacher once in a while, but that is sounding a little ridiculous. You should definitely try to get a different professor if you can.

                    I do agree with what's been said about foundation art not being filler, however. This is one thing I wish my current program had more of. They have optional drawing classes and it's beaten into our heads every class to get off the computer and back to the pencil, but I wish they were mandatory. I've taken the liberty of trying to work on my own drawing skills though, and I'm looking into adult art classes in the area. Aside from this though, we are all about art and design at my school, and even my psychology class was geared towards design. I've learned so much in such a short time.

                    One question you have to ask though, is are you just having issues with the one teacher? Or is everything in your school as ridiculous? If it's mainly just the one teacher, you will probably be okay, but if it's everything you might want to look for somewhere else to go. For example, in my current class, I'm not the biggest fan of the professor because he won't give feedback until you beat him down and demand it. Basically, if you do the work, even if it's not awesome, he'll just give you a 100 and be done with it, no feedback. However, the professor in my first design class was an incredibly hard grader and would look to the smallest details. She made you work your tail off for an A and provided explicit feedback for the grade you were given. It just varies.

                    Sorry for rambling on, but good luck! I like the birthday card.
                    "I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares."--Saul Bass

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                    • #11
                      The foundation art courses are really needed. There is so much more to the design world than designing for monitors or flat paper.

                      A lot of the design students I went to school with had real problems thinking in 3 dimensions. Especially in the 3D sculpture classes. But if you are ever asked to design something for an office space or a restaurant or an educational exhibit, or even product packaging, there are usually at least 5 sides to consider (the 6th is the back and may need to be included too).

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                      • #12
                        I wish I could collect that kind of salary with an hour of recreation time. Smart man that guy sure is.
                        In life there are a lot of grey areas; not in the conception phase of logo design.

                        When a person asks you to do work for nothing in return, they are saying to your face, "You're worthless but useful to me."

                        Shall is a direct command whereas the verb will is a prophecy of the future.

                        http://www.behance.net/tmt

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