Sleek cases of coated wood, full of art materials, serve as the base of a towering pile of art books and New Yorker magazines that flank my desk. Within the cases are an elaborate array of pastels, acrylic paints and colored pencils that haven’t been touched in years. They serve as a reminder of my high school days, when I lugged those cases to and from my art tutor’s house to finish pieces for my portfolio. I aspired to go to art school because it seemed like the logical step for me — a boy inseparable from pen and paper who would draw on any available surface.
Funny how it happens, but that aspiration didn’t quite pan out. When I began my senior year, I realized art school may not be for me. At the time, the idea of enrolling in a school that focused on one subject seemed suffocating. After talking it through with my parents (who luckily were very supportive), I decided to apply to universities that provided a broad selection of majors and subjects. Little did I know that I would find myself doubting that decision years later. At the time, I just felt so liberated.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time at my university and studied a subject I really enjoyed. But, as life would have it, I find myself in a job where a college degree in illustration and design would be a huge asset, not to mention go a long way in propelling my current aspirations – grown-up versions of my childhood dreams.
One of my goals is to start an art blog. When I browse through my feed of these blogs, it doesn’t escape my notice that all of the artists I admire went to art school. This realization fuels my regret and doubt and makes me question my younger self: Why did I give up trying to get into art school? Why did my parents let me give up?
Then again, seeing where I am now in my life, it’s hard to say I fully regret the decision not to pursue art school. It was through my exploration of life and its many subjects that I realized drawing and illustrating is something I was meant to do. It was through the jobs I took after graduation that didn’t foster a creative environment that cemented my need to work at a job where I can create things and express myself. It was through not going to art school that I realized I had this innate drive within me to be an artist.
I realize it’s my own unique journey. I sometimes wish it could’ve gone differently, but if I made the decision to attend art school, who knows what could’ve happened? I might have that popular art blog with thousands of followers, or a job creating storyboards and character designs for Pixar and Disney — or I could’ve burned out in the process and longed for a life at a university where I could explore other subjects.
This month’s issue explores the importance of creativity and art. I wanted to share my perspective about the importance of the arts in our education system. How we learn – and prioritize – the arts in school is such a reflection on my life and my own educational decisions. I may always have a twinge of regret for the decisions I’ve made regarding art school. While it can be easy to get caught up in regret, I’m content in knowing my decisions have also pushed me to grow as a person. And who’s to say art school isn’t still in my future? I guess you’ll just have to stay on the look-out for my art blog to find out!
Washington FAMILY Magazine