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Thread: TRADITIONAL vs. CONCEPTUAL art schools?

  1. #1
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    Nov 2007
    Seattle WA
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    TRADITIONAL vs. CONCEPTUAL art schools?

    this isnt something i had looked into very much, but i think i will have to start... except i really have no idea where to start. basically, since a couple hours ago, i started wondering about these art schools and their stance on their approach to art:

    im most concerned about these four schools as im getting the feeling that they have very strong illustration/GD programs (they are my top choices so far):
    art center

    still looking into:

    im looking to go into graphic design, but also want to do illustration/digital art as emphasis -

    anyways, by approach to art, i mean, are they more traditional, or conceptual? im getting a feeling that a more traditional oriented art education will help me career wise far more than conceptual. and this is a bit of a bias, but i keep thinking that a more traditional art based school will help their students get more connected to the work world, give more opportunities for gaining jobs, and are more commercially oriented in nature - i dont know, im confused.

    in fact, im not even completely sure what it means for an art school to be traditional/conceptual.

    traditional = classic, learning the basics, strong foundations, realism, ??

    conceptual = highly abstract, exploration, modernism ??
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  3. #2
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    Isn't that what you get in an art school though? A well-rounded education that blends both (hopefully)? For example, Fine Arts is all about concept/theory but even so, students still have the option to take illustration classes to get that traditional drawing skills down and vice versa. Frankly, I think the illustration students at my school should take some theory classes from the Fine Arts department. It's important to build the vocabulary to make your work say something. People, and god knows me too, need to THINK (and write/talk) more about WHY they're making art. Pretty pictures get boring real fast.
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  4. #3
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    I am grumpy about this subject. In my view art is visual communication, and great art manages not just to achieve the "gee whiz, it looks real" effect. It provides an experience that the camera cannot provide. Rembrandt's great work, Monet's great work, Vermeer's great work continue to touch us through the generations. We don't need a statement of "intention" to appreciate their work.

    The point of learning your craft is to be able to use it to express your vision.
    The conceit of conceptual art disturbs me. Are they implying that great artists like Rembrandt didn't have "concepts"?

    You need both traditional fine art training AND traditional illustration courses. If you want to be a concept artist (an entirely different use of the word than fine art "conceptual" art), concept specific courses are helpful, including object, environment and character design. This should be accompanied by work in all relevant computer programs.

    You may need to attend more than one school.

    Jason Manley states that he never received a degree or diploma, but was in art schools for 6 years (if my memory is correct). Maybe he was smart enough ( we all know he's smart) to go after the skills he needed rather than the piece of paper. Perhaps that necessitated switching schools once or twice. Maybe he'll read this, and tell us if my guess is accurate.
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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rex-craft7 View Post
    in fact, im not even completely sure what it means for an art school to be traditional/conceptual.
    Any large school like the ones you've listed won't have One Approach. Schools are made up of departments, and departments are made up of individual instructors. The focus of different departments will vary greatly, and a school with a decent sized faculty will have instructors with different, sometime opposing, viewpoints. Like Maxine said, a good school will balance how to make art with why to make art.

    Tristan Elwell
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