If there’s one lesson that I learnt from being a fresher; don’t rush time. Or decisions.
And secondly; wing it.
With the sweetest of intentions to pursue my love of art throughout my time at uni, my dreams came crashing down around me as the year continued.
Why, you may be wondering. I was certainly wondering that as I cursed myself for mistakenly choosing an abstract painting elective.
Day one of my art class began wide eyed and confused. Thirty students crammed into a white studio with a bunch of stools and two dudes.
I have no idea what I was expecting.
Art that resembled NCEA L3? Ha. Say your goodbyes.
And hello to; dreaded presentations where every single word from our mouths when analysing real artists artworks was either plagiarised or a lie; twenty different trials expected a week; enough false meanings to get me to the moon and back; more presentations where my body shook so bad I must have looked like I was having a fit; and a rapidly vanishing cash fund.
Perhaps in an attempt to make us even more homesick, the brief was to connect with a place within the city that was a reminder of home. What came to my mind? Childhood memories of being forced to wander around rose gardens as my mum and nanna photographed each and every single rose.
Okay, that’s an over exaggeration. But to a kid, it honestly felt that way.
To simply recreate a rose prettily wouldn’t cut it. Not for this class. Racking my brain, and my expensive Gordon Harris paper stack that constantly needed reviving, I drew and cut out a mountain of roses until I had a happy accident.
A sheet of paper with a rose silhouette cut in the middle landed on a pile of previous tests, and with a “This has potential” from my tutor I was on my way to a happy A-, plus or minus a few more trials.
And to accompany my art endeavours, what better than to choose an abstract painting elective, right? Right?
Oh so wrong.
If having two tutors named Simon wasn’t confusing enough, there was no way in hell I understood the meaning of abstract art. And I had to create a series of it.
Honestly I’m not going to waste too many words on this failure of an elective, because a, my head already hurts, and b, I have nothing much to say.
Except for know your primary colours people. And be prepared to lie. In explaining your artwork, other artists artwork, and why you chose that piece of cardboard covered in fabric to mount your work on rather than wood.
Apparently students have all the money in the world to be throwing around on their abstract failures.
With a grand grade of B-, showing that in the end it really comes down to personal taste, an inability to create a grand meaning behind a piece of painted fabric mounted on a frame, and a poor exhibition spot, I can confidently say that I will reject the word abstract for now and ever more.
Or, I guess Simon just really hated flowers.
To all you design students out there, I give you cred. I have mad respect for you.
In my second studio I spent more time positioning pieces of text and trying to give colour meaning than I thought humanly possible. EVERY single design element had to have a purpose. I almost lost my mind.
Tasked with creating a design on Evan’s Bay’s history, and then animating said design, the one sole survivor of history was a giant cog sticking out of the ground, along with a half-rotted pier.
Not quite the inspiration I was after, I decided to include Mr Evan’s himself in my design, which turned out to be quite the mistake. Staring at his face for around 6 hours a week became a little too much for me, along with the airplane I animated to circle it.
As far as I can remember, only two positively memorable moments came from that class, and neither were design based.
The first, a mini road trip to my assigned location, where I was more excited to find a café with my mum’s name in the title than anything else. Honestly, getting in a car and going somewhere that wasn’t my hall or the university added to my uplifted mood.
And the second, finding out four weeks into my six-week course that a girl I sat with on the regular was neighbours with my hall friends, where we drunkenly bonded over our hatred for our tutor and a self-centred girl who sat opposite us.
To put the icing on the cake of a borderline bearable class, the last day was a presentation. Not just to our design class, but to students within other modules. With the useless group that I was assigned to for presenting, I had to save our asses and the classes reputation by swallowing my fear of public speaking and essentially ripped my design process to shreds, aided by my tutor.
And to top that off, I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth after ignoring the fine print and receiving a $100 bill to cancel Photoshop once class had ended, in an attempt to avoid wasting $20 precious dollars on it every month. What luck.
True to my ‘most likely to’ attribute of getting ideas at 2am, this blog post finds itself posted in the early hours of the morning.
I thought I’d share my experience of my first year at uni, while the blog posts regarding my ongoing projects take a back seat, mostly because they require more thought than me ripping out my tutors and classes and also because I desperately need a break from them sometimes.
Pt 2. will be out when I decide I’m inspired or feel like writing at 2am again, so don’t have too many expectations.