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Art professor told me to reconsider studying art at university


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I'm currently in college studying a Fine Art foundation course - it was supposed to be a move to help me get into the course I want at university. But lately my professor has been incredibly critical of my work. He says that my essays and theoretical work are good but always makes little digs at my drawings. 

I'm really frustrated because when I try and discuss my work with him he isn't helpful and its like he can't be bothered to help me improve and during a talk after class the other day he made a comment along the lines of me looking at other options instead of applying for a university course to start in this September (I'm already 21 so I'm feeling a lot of pressure to get to uni as I'll already be three years later than most people). 

I love art and while sketching isn't my thing I love photography and more practical things. Do you think I should talk to another professor or maybe should I listen to him? After all if he doesn't think I am good enough then maybe I should rethink things. 

Any advice would be incredible! Feeling really lost. 

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He isn't a very good teacher first off.  I am sure he has seen many students that need a reality check but how you go about it is critical.

 If you are not a natural he may think you don't have a chance so he is trying to steer you to another option.  His opinion is just that, his not everyone's. 

 Ask some of your most talented peers in class what they think of your work and ask them to be honest but kind.  Also if you do not plan on being a sketch artist and this is just a stepping stone requirement get through the class so you can get to what you really want.

 He may be some old fart that is burnt out so get others opinions before you do anything.

 What grade do you have right now in his class?

 Lost

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Perhaps if your goal is to make it in a specific field that is very competitive and he can see you don’t have that leading edge required to make it? 
 

But if you’re there for the journey, rather than the destination. The University experience, the people you’ll meet, the techniques and perspectives you’ll learn about. Then nananana that’s some lame ish gate keeping. 
 

And anyway, by what criteria are we assessing the drawings? Good art is truly in the eye of the beholder!

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11 hours ago, courtney_2001 said:

I'm currently in college studying a Fine Art foundation course - it was supposed to be a move to help me get into the course I want at university. 

Is this course a prerequisite for the course you wish to get into? Are you a full-time student?

What is your major? Do you plan on getting a MFA (master's in fine arts)?

What is your goal professionally? Commercial art or photography? First decide what you wish to pursue.

Do you have student advisors as far as your curriculum is concerned? He seems like a poor advisor. One professor's opinion shouldn't matter. As long as you pass the requisite and prerequisite courses you need to graduate.

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I had a professor like that too. I was in nursing, and I hated doing research and she told me she was worried for me and didn’t see how I’d make it in the medical field if I didn’t want to do research. Of all my professors, she’s the ONLY ONE who said any such thing. At the time, I was so taken aback by her words that I didn’t really consider what she was saying.

Now, when I look back, I realize that she was being practical. She knew how much learning and research would be mandatory in this field and worried that I wouldn’t be happy. Now that I know myself better, I feel like I should’ve asked her more questions, about what my life might be like years into this profession, about different specialties, what other options were out there. I was set on nursing from the age of 17 and she was the first and only to give me a dose of reality. I am not saying I should’ve changed my mind…but I am not happy in healthcare, it’s just not the person I turned out to be, and I wish I would’ve at least opened my mind to her ideas.

With regards to your professor, know that it’s just one man’s opinion. He is not the deciding factor in whether you make it or break it. You can completely disregard him if you want to, if you know you want this for years to come, and you could go on and be great. I disregarded mine and I’ve been a nurse for 9 years, work from my home that I own, make 75k a year, am married and raising two daughters. I still “made it”. I am just not passionate at all about the work I do. You may also disregard him and go on to fail. Or you could be great but also unhappy. Life’s possibilities are ENDLESS, therefore I would recommend being curious about his ideas.

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Have you ever heard the proverb, those who can't do, teach. it is a derogatory statement meaning its easier to get a job teaching how to do a thing, than it is to get a job doing the thing. 

I would not allow one person's opinion deter me. He's one person in the world.

I would keep going.  In time, you want to look back on your choices and know you did what you wanted whatever the consequences. 

I received a partial scholarship to an art program at a well respect university and while in proud to have received that offer,  I actually didn't take it. I did not have the conviction to build my career around art. I knew I could not handle the criticism.

I don't regret it. I still love art, create it,  study it, promote it... art like many things is subjective.  if you say you're an artist you are an artist. 

That guy, not knowing him sounds like a big jerk.  find a mentor that inspires you and leads you to happiness, confidence and freedom of expression. not some hack that spews negative criticism without construction. 

Believe in yourself & your dreams! 

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16 hours ago, courtney_2001 said:

I'm currently in college studying a Fine Art foundation course - it was supposed to be a move to help me get into the course I want at university. But lately my professor has been incredibly critical of my work. He says that my essays and theoretical work are good but always makes little digs at my drawings. 

Have you ever seen his drawings?

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2 hours ago, indea08 said:

... she told me she was worried for me and didn’t see how I’d make it in the medical field if I didn’t want to do research.

Thank you for this. It's a great example of the same kind of message, but expressed in a wholly different way: with context, and with a motivation of concern rather than dismissiveness.

While you may have been too shocked to pursue a deeper discussion about this with her, look at the context--she "was worried for you." And she explained WHY.

Despite the discouragement, you were being encouraged to consider what was behind her concern for you, as opposed to being dismissed and written off with snark as though your instructor's time was more valuable than your own.

OP, we don't know your ultimate goals behind taking art classes, and none of us can know whether your sketch work speaks of something stylistically the guy doesn't like, or whether there is an overall issue with your composition skills that could harm your chances of reaching your goal.

If concept drawing will be a foundational part of the work you seek, that may be one consideration. If not, and sketching is just one aspect of a course you need to 'get through' to meet a larger set of goals, then that's something else entirely.

I just think your instructor's delivery was the pits, and more teachers need to be aware of how one instance of unnecessary harshness can impact the whole trajectory of another's life.

 

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On 11/26/2022 at 5:40 PM, courtney_2001 said:

I'm currently in college studying a Fine Art foundation course - it was supposed to be a move to help me get into the course I want at university. But lately my professor has been incredibly critical of my work. He says that my essays and theoretical work are good but always makes little digs at my drawings. 

I'm really frustrated because when I try and discuss my work with him he isn't helpful and its like he can't be bothered to help me improve and during a talk after class the other day he made a comment along the lines of me looking at other options instead of applying for a university course to start in this September (I'm already 21 so I'm feeling a lot of pressure to get to uni as I'll already be three years later than most people). 

I love art and while sketching isn't my thing I love photography and more practical things. Do you think I should talk to another professor or maybe should I listen to him? After all if he doesn't think I am good enough then maybe I should rethink things. 

Any advice would be incredible! Feeling really lost. 

I had an advanced painting teacher that was annoying  He was a first year there and a schmo, and I had him fired.  I also have a buddy who never painted in his life, and one day started doing it and was one of the best at school.  My point is, don't take what one professors says as what to do in life.  I find a lot of times, they are talking about their own shortcomings.

Follow your heart.  Live your passion.  And you go to college for networking too; it's not just about the courses you take.

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Courtney, if this is what you want to do right now, don't let anyone else deter you.  You are not creating your future in that one course, you are weaving a tapestry that will last your whole life - it is a thread that contributes to the masterpiece that will be, do it! 

IME wound up studying something somewhat unrelated to what I found, got chuffed by, and established my career on.  My standard joke if/when someone asks what I majored in, is "underwater basket weaving."

In 6th grade art class my passive-aggressive intructor criticized my drawing because I had one element isolated from the other shapes. It seemed to really bother him..

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