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Art Student- 10 things you need to know

I have been an art student for around 4 years and within that time I have discovered some essential things that you need to know as an art student!

  1. Music and headphones will keep you working much longer

The studios can be oddly quite sometimes and that can be overwhelming. Having headphones, allows you turn off your brain from the outside world and focus on what your doing in the studios. It also tells other people in the studios that you do not want to be disturbed. Whether your listening to Rock, Pop, Musicals or just the radio or and audiobook. I highly recommend making a studio playlist and get working. 

2. Make a schedule and keep to it

I don’t think that this is just for art student or just students in general. But on an art course you have to balance time in the studio being creative, lectures and time to write your personal statements and essays and getting the balance it key, otherwise you’ll end up writing a blog post at 23:16 ( totally not me right now) just because you didn’t have time during the day to update your blog. So look at your timetable at the beginning of the year and organise when you can be in the studio and the best time of day for you to get your written work done.

Side note: Also schedule some time for you to relax, time to yourself is just as important as your education.

3. Materials are expensive but sometimes you have to pay out for the good stuff

Depending on your practice. Materials can be expensive especially if your a painter. You can get the cheap stuff when it comes to your sketchbook and quick sketchy pieces in the studio, but at some point your gonna have to pay out for materials for a finale piece or an experimental piece that you just don’t know whether its going to work. But its worth it I promise you. Think about it if your paying thousands of pounds a year to be here so don’t cheap out on your own art. 

4. Stealing is okay!!!

Now I’m not talking about taking materials that are lying around the studios that aren’t yours. I’m talking about when your studying a particular artist and you discover a process or subject matter that interests you. Its okay to copy them out right as long as you don’t claim it to be your own. Sometimes copying someone else work can led your own work down a path that you never thought it would take before.

5. Your clothes will get destroyed

I would recommend that you get one outfit at the beginning of the year and that becomes your studio clothes. Otherwise all of your clothes will be covered in some sort of paint, charcoal or chemicals and you’ll never have a outfit without  some kind of un-identifiable stain.

6. Art Block is a thing!

Much like writers block they will be a point where you will just stare at your sketchbook, canvas or studio space wall and have absolutely no idea on what to do. The good thing: everyone experiences this, the other good thing: i encourage you to do anything to fill this space with what ever you please. When these moments happen it can be infuriating but also freeing; fill the page or space with something anything. Dots, lines, squares, circles, drawing of eyes or ducks. What ever the first thing you think of use it. 

7. Theres always someone better than you.

 This is not exactly true, but it is an overwhelming feeling that you get when you share a studio space with a lot of artists, I for instances cannot draw or paint people and I have a small amount of envy for anyone that can. But the great thing about art is no one can make your art better then you! its just every now and again we need to be reminded about how we actually all pretty awesome and talented in our own way.

8. Critique groups will happen often and are long

Group Crits where everyone gathers round and talks about your work can be intimidating. But try to go into these with an open mind take notes on what was said and response to this. But be very careful! Trying to adapt and change your work on ideas of others while trying to keep your work true to whatever subject matter you are portraying is difficult. Watch that your not just painting something blue because someone told you they’d like it better. Its your work in the end take ideas that help you and the work move forward not get you stuck down in trying to please an audience. 

9.  Procrastination is a deadly enemy

Within a lot of subjects you are able to procrastinate until quite close to the deadline; as it can be just remembering knowledge that you have accumulated through out the year. But within Fine art, this is not really an option. There is no way that you can produce and entire art protect within one night; with all of the experiments that you did in preparation and the research of artist and inspirational sources plus a finished piece. It is impossible to do all of this at the last minute, believe me I’ve seen people try to do it its not worth the hassle. 

10.  People will judge you for being an artist

You will constantly have to justify your degree; and answer questions like “What are you going to do with that after uni?” and “wow! I wish my classes why just like drawing!” or “Oh you studying art can your draw my cat/dog/grandmother?”. Try not to let this get to you I wouldn’t have studied anything else. Even if it did increase my “employ ability” after university.

Thank you for reading. I hope these helped prepare you for the life of an art student.

K.A.P

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