Artists should build community

There are many misconceptions with art, but one of the biggest and most prominent ones, even among artists themselves, is that art is synonymous with solitude. To make a great artist one does not have to shut themselves in a dark place and tap into their darkest emotions to create something moving. Great art, like Heidi Goldberg, the printmaking professor on campus, states, first comes with research. Research is done through exploring art and other artists and collaborating with one another. Art comes through experiencing art and getting your hands dirty. Artists, in general, do tend to be more in touch with their emotions, yes, but not because we are all wired differently. We are just expressing our senses through a visual component.

Many scientists, and mathematicians make amazing art, and their professions have strict rules and procedures that prevent diluted emotion and ambiguity from entering their work. Art is vague and ever-changing, no matter how many art history classes you take, you will never truly understand all of it. Growing together as artists and learning from mistakes and happy creative accidents is what has grown my personal art into something I feel happy with showing. If I had sulked, as many people do in the beginning art classes on campus do, hiding their art until the critique, I wouldn’t have established fulfilling and personal connections, and my art wouldn’t have multiple lenses of creativity approaching my topic.

For this reason, it breaks my heart every day that here on our campus, artists come to class, put earbuds in, quietly get work done and leave. There is minimal comradery, lots of independent study and little to no presence around Olin in the art studios at night. My professors assure me that in order to be truly good at art, you have to live in the studio. Put in the time. Practice and practice and continue to create both good and bad art, because both are normal. But Concordia lacks this community. Most art students are suburban, mid-western kids who had minimal to no funding in the arts in high school and are used to packing up their colors and going home to finish at the end of the day. I beg to differ.

Concordia doesn’t have to be an art conservatory to have people pulling all-nighters in the studios on days other than the ones before critiques. We all brag tired-eyed and three coffees in how many hours it took to paint or print or draw the last of our projects the night before, upwards of 3 to 7 hours, yet none of us do it together. Breaking through our habits of going home and curling up under blankets and pushing off assignments to a day that has more energy, more creativity…. more… anything is not a lifestyle anymore.

Come on Concordia students and Concordia artists. Let us make art, make mistakes, grow and cry and laugh through the pain together. I envy the choir kids the pre-medical students with their friendships that extend past class. I know we will never have our own shiny science center to call home, and even getting couches to ourselves is a work in progress, but art is supposed to be an uphill battle and there are so many places and people to find a home within the first and second floors of Olin. Come to create art with me. It’s cold out, but practicing art with other artists and doing more than the minimal interactions will do everything for your artwork and everything for your esteem, your future and your emotions in return.


Small plug, Art Studio Nights are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 PM. Come join me!

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