Does Alma Matter?
I miss studying art in college. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Those three-hour studio classes, and countless hours after class in the studio, drinking gallons of coffee and pissing off the T.A. who thought we were being too loud. I guess running around the room singing at the top of our lungs was distracting to her studies.
The soundtrack: Adele's 21, Florence and the Machine, The Fleet Foxes, and Keane. The scent: turpentine, linseed oil, and dark roast in cardboard cups.
I miss sitting in Dr. Choate's art history class and hearing all of the weird little anecdotes about the lives of the renaissance artists. I stayed up late making flash cards of all of the famous artworks we had to know for those tests. Oh GAWD, those tests, many a case of carpal tunnel originated from that classroom. Ah, but it was so worth it to get that elusive "A."
I was excited to be an artist. Who am I now? Can I still say I am the ambitious young woman I know I was in school? What is driving me now? It's not grades. At school I was genuinely challenged by professors and peers. Now, it's all on my shoulders to challenge myself.
My senior year of college I found myself waking up in the middle of the night sweating, crying, and generally freaking out in a way that I had never before and have never since experienced. What would happen to me when I was flung out on my own? No more school, no more supervision, no more breakfasts with Mrs. Austin, or Murals with Mr. Adams. Just me and my art supplies.
I was afraid of the future, and of failure. However, since graduating I've learned that the only failure is the failure to keep trying.
Sure, I have my day job but I'm still painting. I'm still showing my work, and I'm not planning on giving that up any time soon. It isn't a cake walk. I've somehow acquired all of these other responsibilities (I'm looking at you kitty-cat).
They say you have to be creating every day to succeed. If you work from 9am-5pm, you should be painting from 5pm-11pm, and I certainly want to get there. That means I need to make sacrifices of my time and money to make it happen.
I no longer have the structure of higher education to serve as my training wheels, and now that I'm here, I don't have to be afraid of...well...being here. College was incredible. It provided me with some juicy stories (such as streaking in New Zealand), but more importantly, it prepared me for this time in my life. All of those classes and talks with my mentors only existed to allow me the support I needed to stand on my own two feet right now, at this part of my life.
It is harder to be on my own, but it's also empowering.
I love depending on myself. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. All of those hours in the evening painting with a glass of wine in hand. Pissing off my cat who can't get to her water bowl.
The Soundtrack: Chairlift, Susan Sundfør, and still Keane. The Scent: Turpentine, Linseed oil, and Cabernet in a glass.
I love struggling through a new painting. I don't stay up as late as I used to in college...I don't know how I did it as much as I did back then. I do however still have carpal tunnel flare-ups, but it's all worth it to get where I want to go.
Oh, and I'm still excited to be an artist. :)
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Angela DeCamp is an Indianapolis based artist. who enjoys the finer things in life: black coffee, carnival tickets, the sound high heels make when they clickty-clack on the sidewalk.