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Thread: Figuratively going into teaching
January 10th, 2010 #1
Figuratively going into teaching
I had a thought. I often hear figurative artists and illustrators (from either side of the Atlantic) bemoaning the disheartening experience they had during college and university, when they found an academic culture dominated by abstractionist and conceptualists. Only avant-garde bullshit gained any appreciation, little or no regard was given to technical proficiency, and representational drawing was actively discouraged.
It seems to me a long term answer to this problem would be for figurative painters to infiltrate the system and secure positions as lecturers and professors, thus eventually breaking the 'modernist' stranglehold. Anyone know of cases where this has happened, or indeed done anything similar themselves? Is it even possible for a realist to have a career in a mainstream institution of learning?
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This is all without considering the rarity of academic jobs and the high competition for them.
Granted there's still the one in a million shot, but a better route would seem to be going places where there's already been some headway (the few universities that do care about draftsmanship, private un-accredited schools/ateliers, et cetera).
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January 10th, 2010 #3
That's really it, in order to change the system from within, one would have to do a lot of playing along...
January 10th, 2010 #4
Yeah I agree with Anid. The way to do it. Is start your own and beat them by offering an alternative. This seems to be happening in the States. With private schools takiing over like Ringling and the SF Academy, etc. Having said that the next step would be getting programs affordable for people. The problem is it is bordering on a fad right now and everybody is teaching things that they aren't qualified to teach and how does a professional separate themselves out of the pack to people not yet ready to tell the real thing from bull shit.
January 10th, 2010 #5
im not really into the american art scene, but the term avantgarde-crap is pretty generalizing. of course theres bad non figurative art, but the same goes for figurative.
i can't really blame art academies for not being interested in the new rembrandts. why would they? we're past that point i guess. what you call avantgarde might sometimes be crap, but at least its hard to tell what new stuff they come up with, what makes it more exciting then just another guy that can perfectly draw people.
If you feel like learning about the old masters, and a bit of basical drawing knowledge should not be underestimated, you dont really need a school for it i think. At my school, i study illustration, i dont even have weekly lifedrawing classes. its not even in the curriculum. but instead they learn me stuff about experimenting, and discovering what my weak and storng points are, and how to exploit them. I can do the technical things at home, altough it takes a lot more self discipline.
i think at my school they underestimate the importance of a good drawing base, but i dont think it should be all about that. If i look at the progress of some young people on this website, with just the internet and a lot of drawing hours, i doubt if you really need a professor at a school to learn it.
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January 10th, 2010 #6
I'm in no way an expert (quite the opposite) but it's the attitude and ideas that you'll have to change, so you'd have to start an entire art movement and completely change the whole belief system of representational art being seen as already done/something to move on from. Or you could just set up your own school for figurative/representational art and teach there.
January 10th, 2010 #7
I have attended four different colleges in my time. From community college, public university, and even art school. Personally, I've been able to easily find teachers who taught figurative, naturalistic art at each of them. Maybe I'm just lucky, but the idea that schools only have abstracty teachers seems a bit dated.
Sure, there's some of that everywhere. RISD's painting program is a joke, but their illustration program is there for anyone interested in representational art instruction (same as VCU and I suspect many schools).
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January 10th, 2010 #8
Ah! You want to be a ninja art professor who instils his pupils with the ancient art of actually learning something. Good luck.
January 10th, 2010 #9
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January 10th, 2010 #10
I learned a great deal about realist painting from Anthony Apesos at the Art Inst of Boston: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Apesos
This guy's the man. Excellent painter, and professor. Class act all the way.
EDIT: OMG!!! He's got a blog and website now!
Last edited by TASmith; January 10th, 2010 at 04:24 PM.
January 10th, 2010 #11
I've run into this so hard so many times I gave up trying. I love teaching, and I'm pretty good at it, but I was too busy with my professional art career to earn a Masters degree. With 15 years professional art and art direction experience I wasn't even considered when a job opened up at a local Junior College - even with the Dean's recommendation and letters from VP's at EA. When I applied for the Drawing and Painting Masters Degree program at a CA State University I wasn't even accepted - one of the teachers there took photos of dog poop, blew them up to 36"x48" on Duraleen and had them backlit. I just couldn't compete with that.
But, all that aside - every school is going to have its own orientation - it is definitely true though that the the US academic world has been mired in post-modern bullshit for a long, long time. But things change. And you can definitely find opportunities for traditional study everywhere - or make your own.
January 11th, 2010 #12
January 11th, 2010 #13
Well, I suppose I'll share where I'm at in my journey towards becoming a good artist (whatever that means). I'm at the University of North Florida, a fairly new school (about 40 years old?). I can't speak for all the professors but one of my instructors has seemed to infiltrate the system. How you say? Well, she does a lot of dada-esc stuff (but completely not dada at all) and it's what she's known for. However, she is infact quite the technical artist. And when she teaches many of the courses, she focuses on the technical aspects and encourages personal research of various artists of skill including the old masters. Hopefully I got lucky! ^.^