Wednesday, October 17, 2012

D. Assignments 10, 11, 12 + midterm critique

Been a while since I made a post - of course, reason being I've been busy beyond sanity. All-nighters are abundant. In fact, right now I'm running on 50 minutes of sleep in the last 48 hours, so bear with me if I start rambling. This is going to be a long one anyway.

But for something completely off topic to start out...
I did effectively turn 23 yesterday. For those of you who tried guessing my age...well, nice try, you were close. :]

It was a bittersweet day, really. Nice because I have many amazing friends and family members who look out for me and send me sweet birthday wishes. But also 23 is the age all us military brats lose our military dependency status. Technically, we could extend it to 26, but it'd be $200/mo, and my family can't afford that. This wouldn't be a big deal if I could afford another source of healthcare. That, plus it's hard on me because originally, I was already supposed to be an officer by now with my own means of healthcare....but shit happened. 
I've gone 22 years on military-insured health services, and they've done me well. But it's time to move on. I'll regain healthcare in about another year when I go active duty myself... (but just for the record, I'm set to become an officer June 21, 2013 ... :] yeah, baby).

OKAY. Onto the art. Gawd, I hope this doesn't take too long as I have a metric shit ton of 3D modeling to do before tomorrow...

Assignment 10 -
We were told to stick with our theme of course and draw a piece...then cover the part we felt was most successful and draw over it. People took this assignment all kinds of places, again, like...using all kinds of different types of paper to cover their piece...and didn't necessarily draw the same thing over top, but they could have. 
I don't like mine. lol The heart-shaped cover was slightly clever due to subject matter, I think, but as far as drawing goes, it is pretty stagnant, and boy did Ms. S let me know it. In fact...she told me to pretend we switched places...I was her and she was me, and I was to critique "her" work. 
I was like. "...Fine. It's 'generic', 'too anime', doesn't have enough energy...I get it." She was like, "Yup," and walked away as a classmate of mine elaborated much to my irritation. :D

Assignment 11-

We were tasked with creating our own "interference." I liked it, I guess...I had some black art paper left over from my Graphic Design days and decided to use it for this one. Prof and class liked the "energy" and movement in these, and for some reason they're very attracted to my chain concept...I'm not complaining. p: Again...folks took this so many directions with different kinds of paper and sculptural approaches, it was cool.

Assignment 12-

This was the final homework assignment before the midterm critique, and I haaaaate the outcome. The idea was to choose two "milestone" pieces of ours and combine their techniques and/or concepts to create a new piece...and I chose a piece from the beginning of the semester ('s like I was good and then got worse) with the "spider leg" things, and then the piece with the watercolored heart and eyes. Again...going with the inner struggles theme. It's just........EW. Fuck, I didn't even wanna look at it as I was giving my commentary in class...and OF COURSE they all loved it. That pisses me off. If something doesn't turn out the way I want it, I don't want people telling me to do more of it! They loved the movement and apparent markings I made...these people love it when you can see someone's "hand" in the in be able to decipher mood/emotion and character with their choice of marks and strokes. It's so superficial to typical and expected of art students, it's like they can't break free of their damn cookie-cutter expectations. My desired approach is fucking different, and as I learned today, my professor actually loves my I'm gonna go ahead and move on to the midterm critique and explain just what happened with that today...

Midterm Critique-

These are the 3 giant pieces I've been working on for the past month and a half. Each are 3'x5'11". And I'll get detail shots at a later time, but for now we're gonna work with this. 
The concepts revolve around inner struggles and redemption. the piece on the far right is the last one I did and symbolized the hardship of being harassed and toyed with on certain levels.  The middle piece was the second one I did, and it's a piece revolving around the effects of music...there's and abstract battle going on in the background between good and evil. And then, of course, we have Uni who is the manifestation of said light/goodness, coming out of the darkness and offering a saving hand.
I like all of these pieces. They do what I want them to in my mind...
but I knew full well I was going to be ripped to shreds during the critique no matter how successful I think they are. 
What I wasn't expecting was the sheer disgust that would wash over me as I listened to my classmates evaluate these pieces.
SHEER. DISGUST. And I tried really hard not to full-on glare some of these people down...because I wasn't allowed to talk. But I'm currently in the middle of my monthly mood plummet AND running on less than an hour of sleep...I was just completely intolerable of some of the things they were saying. 
I felt like a rebellious teen all over again.
A lot of it had to do with their narrow-minded expectations again. I knew they would find the Uni piece boring and lacking meaning. It has meaning for ME specifically, so I was prepared for their comments about how "it seems too posed," "lacking depth and meaning," yada, yada. but the mere fact that they felt they had to mention they didn't think I already knew...was BS. They'd talked about it with me as I was working on it. I don't believe they even needed to open their mouths about it to that extent again.

The second one received some pretty harsh critique from one of the Teacher's Assistants. That bloody biased to the BONE. She's one of those lovers of random markings and dynamic strokes, and said that piece was too "pop-ish" and stagnant for her. I couldn't take it seriously, to be quite frank. She kept using those statements like, "I feel this could be like this," and "it's not working for me." 
I'm sorry...I wasn't aware I was drawing it for you. :]

other classmates were confused by the expression and the color scheme. It was a "happy color scheme" and a "dark expression." Gee...I dunno...maybe that indicates a conflict or something?? I thought that was pretty damn clear. My professor got it. But what SHE said about it...was that the background was flat out ugly. "Poorly drawn," she said I could do much better. It turned out exactly how I wanted it to, but that wasn't good enough for her. She wanted it to flow more instead of seeming like a "clumpy glob."

The last piece, people liked...they got their damn markings, their range of values, their movement, what have you...
And then prof hated it. LOL. What was it she said... "too like world of warcraft"?? What does that even mean? Does she that? I was using symbolism in a way that suited the emotion I was portraying.
And then someone said the teeth looked too "cartoonish" for them, and that I could've portrayed the ominous feeling a different way.
Yeah. I sure as hell could have. But did I want to? 
I get that they're challenging my thinking...but it's not so much that as it is them not being able to break out of their desire to see something truer to the natural world around them. If something is too anime or cartoonish, they somehow cannot for the life of them see passed that to the meaning behind something. It's like they dismiss it altogether.

Prof went back and mentioned that the actual figure drawing in the second piece was the "real drawing" of the entire group. I had a mental headdesk moment. Right when I thought I had her figured out...that she wanted those crazy-ass markings like every one else was talking about in order for me to create a successful drawing...she goes and says something like that. That figure is far from random and crazy...I hardly thought it portrayed meaning by itself. 
So, I told her I needed to talk with her later to which she agreed. 

One girl came up to me after the critique just absolutely mortified. My classmates consistently tell me how they admire my work, so it was a shocker for her to hear the things that were said by the select few who spoke during the critique. She didn't feel the TA or the others were justified in their evaluations. I told her I knew it was coming and that Ms. S pushes me like that because she knows I can "handle it." But I also mentioned I'd been pushed into a corner with what was said today, and that I'd be talking to the professor about it. 

So, I did...I waited until everyone else was gone, and Ms. S sat down and talked to me. I was...literally ready to start yelling at that point, I was just so fed up with my classmates, her, and even myself. But when she started talking, her voice was incredibly soft, and I think she realized how upset I was. It changed up my tune a bit, and instead of diving into my arguments I asked her a question. I said, "Why does one have to use a certain technique in order for a drawing to be successful?"
I asked because of the cookie-cutter expectation shit I'd been observing as a trend in the class's preferred pieces. She said there was no specific technique, it was all about what the artist can bring to a work that makes it seem original. 
Ugh. My mind exploded into a thousand tiny pieces. 
We went back and forth with me just trying to grasp what it was I've been doing wrong and how I fix it. I kept mentioning style, and she said over and over, it's not about style. God, I wish I could describe how hard of a time I've been having with understanding her. I keep thinking it's the style she doesn't like...the anime style, and what not, but she said it's not about that. And I'm thinking...then WHY do you keep telling me to break away from it... I guess she just wants me to bring my own elements to it, but wtf wouldn't that still be style?? ...I'm still really confused about this.
I mentioned how irked I was with people's expectations and how if I catered to their tastes, I wouldn't be creating something I love, and it would therefore carry no meaning at all for me.
I told her how the TA's bias irritated me. I mentioned how I respect HER opinion more because I'm sure she's dealt with many people like me in the past whereas the assistant JUST graduated...and she stopped me, she said, "No, you're unique." Whether I believed her or not isn't was that statement that made me realize she's truly interested in getting me through this regardless. So, I calmed down even more.
She began talking in depth about what it was about that figure in the second big drawing that made it successful...
She said it was "inventive." Specifically, she went over my headphone design. The class brought it up earlier, how it looked like it could've existed, but none of us have ever seen it before. Apparently, that was me bringing myself into the piece with my taste, values, and personality. So, I guess I'd never thought of it that way. I was just so focused on process and meaning...I thought that's what would make it fly with her, but it was only part of it. 
So, I've been encouraged to be inventive... I'm supposed to take something and draw it in a way that make people see it in a different light, in a way they never have before. 
Our next project is going to be a 100 drawing marathon over the next couple weeks. I'm going to use it to explore this concept a bit more.

In the meantime, Ms. S asked me if she was pushing me too hard and if she needed to back off. I kind of smirked before I answered...having just tweeted about how damn hard she was pushing. And it may have been Aunt Flo's fault, but I actually got a bit emotional on the inside. Like...if I didn't have the control I do over my body, I may have shed a few tears. 
I told her no. I said it was rough, and that I was frustrated as hell. But I don't have much time left before I graduate, and I want to be damn sure that when I get that Bachelor of Arts degree, that I feel like I've earned it. I said if I started feeling too overwhelmed, I'd let her know...but I don't think that will happen.
I get upset, yeah. And the irony of this is that just the other night I was lecturing some emotional artist about how they need to be expecting the pain in this business. And now here I am reeling from today myself. But it's for the best. I want to grow, and I can't do that by always going with what I think is right. In the end, my product will be up to me. But if I'm going to carry my skill into the professional world someday, I need to learn how to create on a whole new level.
...And I just hope I can accomplish that by the time this semester ends....


1 comment:

Michael Sutherland said...

Congratulations! Considering you are now bound for the USAF, don't worry too much about no longer being covered by your parents benefits... You shall soon have your own to pass on in the future.

Don't know what to say about taking harsh critiques. Nothing that hasn't been said before I'm sure. Just hang in there, its pretty obvious to your cluster of fans in the various areas online where you have published work that you have incredible talent and drive. Take what you can from the course, and move on without letting things drag you down. Seems you are doing that rather well already!