Monday, November 1, 2010

Straightening up

The past few weeks have been really rough on me. I've had too little sleep and too many projects with too many problems and, "Well, you see, professor, this happened..." too many tears, too many pent up frustrations that led to too many other negative feelings that I know too little about how to deal with them.

But it's getting easier. It always does.

I'm feeling a lot better, which takes away a lot of problems concerning not being able to do work. See, when I'm sad, I can't do anything. I can't draw, I can't design, I certainly can't sit down and crank out something good. But now I've been getting on the ball again. Sure, I've got a lot going on and classes are hard, but if I just take things one at a time and apply focus to all that I do, I will be fine.

Today at the end of advertising class, our professor asked us if there was anything left to discuss. He said he was open to anything at all, that he was here to help. Some of the people applying to the BFA program for Graphic Design started expressing their worries and concerns for the program: how it's changing, how they now only have one shot, how they've been shafted when it comes to getting classes they needed, how they've been told by the VCDA (design club) not to bother professors for help, etc. It sure seemed difficult, and eventually the subject steered towards the BA program.

I'm going to graduate with a BA in Studio Art, Emphasis in Graphic Design. A lot of the BFA-to-be kids were expressing their distaste for that route, complaining that they'd have to take more "pointless" classes like art history, wood, metals, and fiber. I hadn't joined the discussion, but at that point I had to chime in.

I actually really like that. I'm taking metals and fiber (bookmaking) right now, and they're some of the best art classes I've ever taken. I've thought of ways to apply these skills to design projects and frankly, I love it. I think it's all about what you take out of it. Some of the students said they want more design classes, and while that's undoubtedly helpful for any fledgling designer, I think getting out there and learning other things is just as essential. After all, what is the point of being stuck in the design world? From where will you pull your inspiration? Other designers? Design concepts? To me, design has always been more connected to the world than simply how to kern letters and arrange images and pictures and layouts and whatnot. To me, it's so much more than that. It's about injecting meaning into anything and everything you can find, making art and giving it a function as well as a form, digging into the minds of the people and finding out what makes them tick. You need to know culture, politics, language, and so much more than just design to really know how to design.

I've heard talk like this coming from designers older and more seasoned than I, but I don't feel like I'm just parroting what they're saying. I suppose I'm validating my choices and my way of doing things. Now I don't regret graduating sooner instead of going for the BFA. For all of my life, I've never been one to sit still—I flit from topic to topic, and in design, I can make this work for me. I have hundreds of different knowledges and interests from which to pull ideas and inspiration from, I can make more connections than somebody immersed totally in design. I'm not trying to put down anybody, like I said, I'm validating myself right now. This is a blog, isn't it?

There are people I know who are on a sure track to success. 5-year bachelor and master's degree, BFA programs, ROTC. They have it all set for them, and for the longest time I felt jealous and alone because I was different in this aspect. Now I have to stop wallowing and embrace that difference, find a way to succeed and shoot for it.