Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Inspirations from Vienna

We went on a work/holiday trip to Vienna, Austria! Travel gives me such intense inspirations like nothing else can. I'm dreaming of the paintings I can make on this new power... hope the ideas don't melt away under the blanket of home-monotony before I can create them.

We also had short stops in London and Paris, which I'll blog about later!


- I loved the winding stairs leading up to our borrowed apartment. The building was probably almost as old (if not older) than my country. So many stories must be contained within those sunlit hallways, filled with assorted potted plants from neighbors, ornate wall carvings (in need of a good cleaning), the smell of cold stone and old tobacco... and the occasional echo-y cough emanating from a missing window pane of one of the apartments.

- I loved the fresh, spring air of the city as we explored it by bicycle. The bike lanes in Vienna are constant and wide, so you can get anywhere you please with the utmost speed and convenience. There was lots of golden pollen drifting about and people coughed and sneezed with their allergies. But there's nothing like that brilliant yellow golden shine from statues and memorials in the middle of the city.

- I loved the bakeries on every corner, and the dizzying varieties of just-baked delicacies. They were all so cheap, though I would have paid anything to have them! The friendly "GrĂ¼ss Gott!" of the store clerk girls, the bustle of daily patrons, and the tantalizing possibility of adding a fabulous cup of dark-roast coffee to the sugary treasures was also so such a comfort.

- Flea markets and recycle shop paradise! The antique shops in the US could never hold a candle to the treasures you can find in Europe! The older I get, the more I love to rummage through dusty old treasures in random shops much more than buying shiny outfits in modern malls. We bought an interesting black iron light fixture for €3, and struck a deal with a kindly old Vienese gentleman over some botanical pages from 19th century field guides.

All these lovely feelings and beauty lead me to effortlessly imagining some new artworks. I'm thinking of girls faces on wood, with wood as the skintone. I was to surround them and cover most of their faces with ornate golden swirls, horses, and boughs full of leaves and white berries. The backgrounds can be pure black. Very European, very chiaroscuro, I think.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Should Artists Go to University?

J graduating university, circa 2006.

I've been hearing this question a lot recently so I thought I should write a post.

My short answer is YES. Go. Finish it like a boss.

The Skillz.

Not only is college about the most fun you'll even have in your life (If I could, I would be a student forever....) But you will gain some very valuable instruction there. This is true whether you want to major in graphic design, studio art, or any other art form. I would never have the technical abilities I have today if it weren't for the excellent instruction I gained in college classes.

College is like Chicken Pox.

 College is like chicken pox! Do it early if you can! "Doing it later if I want to" gets exponentially harder after you have a life, spouse, and kids. Why wait? Having a bachelor's degree simply compounds the possibilities in your life. If you're like me and change "what you want to be when you grow up" every few years, you'll know that you can choose to be a studio artist, entrepreneur, or... you could even apply to a government graphic designer job. You should give yourself every tool other people have in their arsenal.

Balance the Benjamins

One thing I think an artist should avoid is to get into huge debt to go to college. College is advisable for artists, but not dead necessary like it is for a medical doctor. Don't rack up a $120,000 debt after school. Your artist career will most likely not support that! Look into inexpensive colleges. (I think my alma mater, Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK is the King of Inexpensive. I had zero college debt.) Apply for scholarships. Work student jobs that give you discounts on tuition. Be creative.

You can make it work if you really want to!

JUURI's Golden Advice Point (I wish I would have done this)

 Use your electives and take marketing classes. FOR REAL. I have no idea why it's not required for artists. That is a huge flaw. 50% or more of your time being an artist will involve marketing, whether it's for yourself or a client. Become a guru of it. As for clueless little me, I squandered my electives on stuff like Billiards class and I had to learn marketing on my own time once I desperately needed it.

Reasons Not to Go to College

- If you stumble upon some amazing career opportunity or mad entrepreneurship chance, and things are going so so swell that going to college at the moment would be impractical and in fact impossible.
- .........

That's the only one I can think of. Please feel free to let me know what you think!