We recently went on a trip to visit family and friends back home for a week. I have been suffering through my art work lately. I don't know if it is the lows from coming out of the holiday season or if it is just that I am growing tired of my routine. Either way I have been feeling a little less that thrilled about working on my paintings and selling my wares and being social.
I wouldn't call this depression, because I still want to get up and do things. I know that if it really were depression it would be more debilitating, that is not what I am going though right now. But none the less I am still feeling like I am in this kind of slumpy mess, where getting up and working on my art has become a chore. Like eating oatmeal for breakfast for a year. You know you should eat, and because you are hungry you want to eat, but you have a hard time motivating yourself to eat because it is oatmeal again.
So like I said I was visiting family and I was hanging out with my closest friend, and we were talking about his weird place I have found myself and how it is that I can get out of it. She suggested taking a couple of community college courses to get back in the more social side of the art world.
I thought about it and for the next couple of weeks thought that that was exactly what I needed. I needed structure, and I needed to get in touch with the greater art community again. I looked at classes, and applied, and analyzed class costs. But for some reason I couldn't commit myself to actually signing up for classes.
Even though I had spent days convincing myself that taking classes again was a good idea something kept telling me that it wasn't. I didn't know why I was so hesitant to start classes again. I mean I have been taking classes for most of my life and I know how to tackle them. I know how to get good grades, I know how to work by a school schedule. There is really no reason for me to feel like I shouldn't be taking these classes.
Then I realized what it was. For me school is a cop out. I know how work that way. I know how to finish assignments and get grades, I know how to work with people in that environment. It is like knowing the system so well that I can without thinking easily jump through all of the hoops to finish a class, but then what? What would I have gained?
I would still be having trouble dealing with my self. I would still have confidence issues. I would have just paid the school for a few weeks of jumping through hoops for grades. It's not like any of that was my work. I did it, but these are assignments the work I would have completed wouldn't been marketable. It wouldn't be gaining anything. I would have come out with the same issues I came into it with.
I have not really learned how to function outside of the school environment. I excel at finishing assignments and doing what other people tell me to do, but that doesn't make you a successful person outside of the school zone. I need to learn how to manage myself. I need to learn how to push myself to be better without having the teachers tell me what to do.
So in the last couple of weeks I have been making assignments for myself. I figure there are two advantages to this school I have created for myself. I get to exercise the discipline I would have had in class that I thrive with, and I know what my weaknesses are. I can adjust my "curriculum" to what I need it to be. I can give myself assignments designed around what I feel needs improvement. As for the social aspect that I have been missing out on I don't need a classroom to get that. The real art scene doesn't happen in the classroom anyway. I have made it one of my assignments to get out to galleries and art functions and circulate with people who are working artists and not just students.
I guess what all of this leads to is yet again I am realizing many of the flaws of our schooling system. I have learned again that I was never completely prepared by school to know how to function outside of its doors. There are life experiences that you have to gain through experience rather than through school. If we are ever going to learn how to function outside of school we are going to eventually have to leave it, and learn about ourself enough to flourish on our own. We cannot have the training wheels on forever.