How Art Classes Ruined My Creativity

For a really long time in high school I thought that someday  I might like to be a photographer or graphic designer or possibly both. I took hundreds of pictures to get the best shot of whatever I was photographing and on numerous occasions my digital art teacher had to make me turn in projects before I thought they were done because I couldn’t stop critiquing myself.

Photography meant the world to me and one of my high school art teachers pushed me and built me up and because of her I grew fond of the art that I could create, excited about the opportunities I had ahead of me because of my creativity. She helped me to hone my skills, step out of my comfort zone, let myself know when I needed to be done with a project, and was always cheering me on when I entered contests.

I’ll be honest, I never really thought of myself as creative and to this day I still don’t. People tell me all the time that I’m creative and I just nod along and pretend to agree, but I truly think that my artistic ability comes down to sheer dumb luck (catch that Harry Potter reference anyone?).

Then, my senior year, I decided to take AP Studio Art… I was absolutely insane my senior year and took five (5) AP classes (I was not one to participate in the good old “senior slide”). This art class was the downfall to my positivity about my art.

For an entire year I took hundreds of pictures, wrote out hundreds of critiques, created and recreated portfolio after portfolio until I cultivated something that I was so incredibly proud of. My breadth had a wide range of photos showing off some of my absolute best work and my concentration showcased people in various stages of being “masked”. The idea was to display portraits where the face, the normal focal point of a portrait, was not the focal point. And then came the time to turn it all in to be graded by the official examiners…

I remember sitting there and showing my teacher the portfolio that I was about to turn in. She shook her head as she scrolled through everything and sighed before turning to me and saying, “You’ll be lucky if you even get a 2 on this.” My heart just shattered. I had spent a whole year working on this portfolio, taking pictures every week, editing almost every single day. I was also furious because not once this entire year had my teacher had anything good to say about any work I’d done. No matter what, there was always something wrong. She couldn’t even be constructive with her criticism… I took it all to heart when I know I shouldn’t have and I’m still dealing with the consequences of that one art class.

Then in college I took a photography class, it was an easy course but in taking this I realized just how burnt out I was on trying to be “artistic”. Pictures no longer come easy to me, I haven’t even touched my camera in over a year. I rarely even take pictures with my phone anymore. I lost my edge. I hate almost every picture I take and I can’t imagine ever loving art as much as I once did.

The last time I loved a project I did was when I had this batshit idea to put paint all over my face and take pictures of it:

But the structure and rules that art classes laid out for me killed my creativity. The constant unconstructive criticism made me feel like nothing I created would ever be good enough for the world to see. I think that art classes can teach you so much but if you have the wrong teacher then these classes will fail you. And I think that’s what happened to me. Someday I’d like to relearn creativity, I’d like to be able to create without fear of criticism. I’d like to throw caution to the wind and paint my face and take creepy portraits. I like doing my own thing and being forced into boxes destroyed my creativity.

And if any of you reading this have ever been in a similar situation, or are in a similar situation now, I’d love to chat. Especially if you’re a high schooler or college student who’s in the midst of art classes now. Share your work with me! I’d love to see it.

Oh… And by the way, I got a 5 on my portfolio which is the highest score you can be given on an AP exam. So suck it high school AP art teacher.

 

17 Things I Want To Do In 2017

I have never followed through on resolutions. Never! Not once! So I’ve decided to make a big resolution to never make another resolution. Instead I am going to make a list of 17 things that I would like to do in 2017.

 1 Blog consistently

I’m horrible at being a blogger. That’s pretty obvious to me, so this year I’d like to try and blog at least five days a week. I want to act like this is a job!

2 Crochet

I am in the process of opening an Etsy shop of crocheted items that I have made. Obviously in order to do this, I need to crochet things. I need to make things and I need to crochet every single day.

crochetingawasoe

3 Take more pictures

I just want the memories.

aftonawasoe

4 Journal more

I’m working on a post about reasons to start journaling and I realized just how awful I am at journaling consistently so on top of blogging consistently, I would also like to journal consistently (every day would be amazing but I’d be happy with a few times a week, even just once week where I sat down and got out all my craftiness and emotions out would be awesome).

5 Workout

Starting off today I’m doing a 30 day workout calendar from Blogilates with my boyfriend and I’m hoping the two of us can hold each other accountable and workout a lot this year. We both really want to get into shape and I’m hoping by doing it together we’ll actually follow through.

6 Culture myself

Hahaha. Well I really just want to go to more museums, look at more art, go to London (hopefully!!). Hmmm. Yeah, that’s about it, I just want to appreciate stuff more. I want to go to plays and learn about history and people.

7 Go on a road trip!

Summer road trip to Seattle is currently being planned!

8 Meal plan

I’m one person. I hate making food for myself. I know that I need to take better care of myself and eat better and it’s so difficult for me because of all the food issues I have. I want to start meal planning and using the groceries I buy and really experiencing and enjoying food.

9 Develop an evening routine

Most nights this past semester have involved me working on homework until around midnight and then falling into bed and looking at my phone for over an hour until I’m finally tired enough to fall asleep (this “routine” also usually involved me forgetting to brush my teeth or take my makeup off). I want to have a routine that will help me wind down and maybe help with my insomnia some.

10 Cook more

This goes along with the meal planning. I started off the school year cooking a lot and I really enjoyed it! But then I started a second job for about a month and began to live off of granola bars and microwaveable meals which spiraled into me redeveloping some poor food habits and ended with me kind of never eating or eating really poorly. So I would like to cook more meals, I have a Pinterest board of recipes collecting dust and I intend to change that this next semester.

blueberrycheesecakeawasoe

11 Wear more lipstick

I love lipstick, I think it looks great on me. It makes me feel super bad ass but I rarely wear it because of my stupid anxiety. I always feel like people are judging me when I wear it. So now that I’m trying to care less about what people think of me I want to wear as much lipstick as I possibly can!!!

lipstickawasoe

12 Do more artsy things

I just painted a few days ago for the first time in about a year and it made me realize just how much I missed doing artsy things. When I had really bad insomnia in high school and middle school I used to stay up until two or three in the morning and just paint or draw or color and I really really miss just being so uninhibited with my artwork. I want to do more collages and paintings and use the adult coloring books I have.

13 Be cleaner and more organized

I have lost my student ID more times than I can count just because I put it wherever I please instead of keeping it in one specific spot. I have also run out of mugs (which is a feat for me because I have about 10 at school) just because I haven’t done dishes for so many days. I want to live with less clutter. So along with this I want to try and minimize my belongings. I’ve already done so with my books which is a pretty big deal for me.

14 Go on adventures

I want to be spontaneous and go hiking and just have fun.

hikingawasoe

15 Save money

Kind of self explanatory. I spend too much money, should save some more than I do. So I also need to learn how to budget.

16 Read more widely

I’ve really developed a wider reading range recently and I’d like to continue to read different genres and authors and learn things and be different from my younger only reads dystopian novels self.

bookandcoffeeawasoe

17 Treat others better

Tell people when I’m thinking of them. Bake cookies for my friends when they’re stressed out. Help people when they’re down on their luck.

I basically just want to be more consistent and have more fun this year. That’s basically it.

What do you all want to do this year?