Whenever anyone I work with learn I have an art degree, I get the eyebrow raise. My job is in clinical research and really has no place for art. Do I have regrets? Maybe, but not for the reasons you may think.
I will always be thankful for getting an art degree. Even though the “art” doesn’t help me with my current profession, I’m thankful for two reasons:
I Learned How to See
|An EARLY sketch of boxes, plates, cups|
As much as I hated drawing box after box, or the constant measuring – once I got it – not “oh, this is how I do it”, but “oh, this is WHY I am doing it”, it made perfect sense! It’s something I wish I did in high school or even earlier than that. As simple as drawing boxes made me see the angles and measuring made me see something as simple as eye placement on a face. I was able to see objects as they truly are and not see them as I think they are. I was and continue to be thankful.
|A later sketch of fabric draped on a cylinder|
I Learned How to Think
Yes…to think about society as it relates to history, as it relates to the world, throughout history. I was a sponge when it came to learning about cultures and historical facts. I fell in love with ancient history – Greek, Roman, Ancient Sumerian, Japanese, Chinese, etc… not ancient, but still fascinating was the Moghul Empire.
I also took classes on the history of religion, where I learned aboutAncient Sumerian culture and then later took several classes on Christianity through the ages. It was an eye opening experience to say the least.
One of my favorite classes (looking back of course), was a course on Abstract Expressionists. This was the perfect combination of my interests. It wasn’t just about art, but also about the historical, political, and cultural events that surrounded the movement. It was a great class that I remember 15 years later. And I still have the books.
|Helen Frankenthaler: Mountains and Sea (1952)|
The classes I took weren’t really taking me anywhere successful career-wise. I wasn’t taking law classes, or statistical classes or even design classes for a lucrative profession. I wasn’t interested in those careers. I wasn’t interested in a career at all. Maybe I needed a little more guidance in that since there was a moment after graduating where I thought, “Oh. What now?”
I would do the same thing, take the same classes, but would add to them. Take more liberal arts classes (yes, more!)…but it would have helped to have taken more practical classes on being an artist, like framing, printing business cards, brochures, etc. and a stress of KNOWING YOURSELF ENOUGH TO EXPRESS YOURSELF – being more comfortable in the world AFTER the degree may have steered me to this earlier on. But maybe…I just needed to learn this in my own time as a “student of life”. 😉