Jun 2, 2008

at what costs?

"$63 a day" (click to widen)

I'm not sure if the real life or an art school would have cost more and I'm not going to get into the whole "you can't teach art" and "you're born with it" crap. I will admit though, that I am damn glad I wasn't cooped up in between a dorm room and a classroom for the most adventurous years of my life. Not just for my photography, but for the better man it has made me strive to be today. I believe everything happens for a reason.

and from last "hallmark moment" sentence, I will now tell you how you too can change your life with the help of God and prayer...Ok, Ok, just kidding, I wouldn't go that far.

I'm bringing all of this up because in the last few days I have had to put together some bio info for 3 different people who are all looking for that and I always have a weird feeling of embarrassment/awkwardness explaining I have no formal schooling (seems like 90% of photographers in the art world have a degree from this school or that). I did grow up in a house with a very prominent commercial photographer for a father, but he didn't give me a degree for just being his son.

disclaimer - stay in school kids. I'm not advocating, I'm just saying.


jimmieknuckles said...

old habits die hard i suppose,

and i know its for some drunken late night discussion, but i think that all that formal training ruins minds and hearts.

so i mean, yeah , stay in school people.
itll add to the mounds and mounds of lackluster work flooding the mainstream, so maybe guys that do something a bit different will have a chance to shine

hearts and minds aaron, hearts and minds.

i still blame the hip hop

Anonymous said...


A friend of mine, who happens to also be an increible poet, recently sent me the above link...a "poem" by Marvin Bell called "Thirty-two Statements About Writing Poetry"...substitute photographer for "poet" and picture(ing) for "write(ing)"...pay special attention to #3 and #5...there is no one way to picture...and rules need to be broken.

Seems to me you're simply breaking the rules from the ground up...

...so yeah, what jimmie-k said...


Aaron said...

thanks for the comments Jim and James.

I wonder how many photographers are really created from schools for photography? I mean, if someone has no "eye" for it, can they come out of 4-6 years of being immersed in it and actually find the vision?

@ james: cool little read! I passed that along to my old man's for possible fodder on his blog (you know how he likes to stir shit up!).

r.h.i. said...

it's a difficult topic for sure - but one that's on my mind as well - even though it might be nice to have some formal training in traditional techniques etc. i as well think that it ruins minds and hearts.

i have the feeling that most of what is taught in art schools is how to hide boring bullshit behind a cloud of rhetorical presentation techniques. i simply can't see the art in a mundane drawing of a cat eating sardines - no matter how cubistic it might be - but they have proof that they learned 'the rules' - they know how to construct some wild metaphoric explanation etc. etc. so they get away with that crap.

sometimes i dream to myself how great it would be to have studied arts... then i finally could take pictures of dollhouses full of fish in various states of decomposition wearing pink tutus without my sanity being questioned. people might actually think that there's some deep sociocritical message behind it etc. and it might spawn a new expressionist movement - supradollfishtutuism is born...

to stop the rant and to get back to the topic: i think that at least 90% of what real, honest art REALLY is about is learned 'on the street' or while wandering ones mind's endless hallways.

i rather 'know' what i want to express and learn how to do it on the way then the opposite - to know the how but not the what - if that makes sense.

closing words: nothing is true, everything is permitted

jim turbert said...

a lot of people who go to art schools end up not making art after they graduate. i went (and still make art), but the first question i ask school chums when i bump into them is, "are you still taking pictures." most are not. not seriously anyway.
i guess it comes down to the fact that some people are going to spend their time working on art projects (photo or otherwise) and some aren't. many of the people who do have the inclination to work on such projects happen to go to art school, but it certainly is not pre-requisite for making great work. that said, most of my photo buddies have degrees, and many of them have advanced degrees. going to school for art is nice because you get to have your work be your primary focus instead of having your job or something else be your main thing. also, you are surrounded by mentors and peers who give you feedback. i don't think it's entirely fair to say that formal training ruins minds and hearts. most movies suck. most pop music sucks. most books aren't so hot either. i think the lackluster work flooding the mainstream that mr. knuckles speaks of is not because of schooling. it's because most people are not great, whether they've gone to school or not.
i also believe that to get the most out of art school you need some perspective. i was older than traditional age when i started. many of my friends were in the same boat. we had lived on our own, and experienced stuff that most 18 year old college kids don't experience. in addition, as undergrads we used many of the same facilities as the grad students, and the grad work from older students (late twenties and thirties) was far more interesting that that of the grads who went straight from an undergraduate to a graduate program. i guess i'm saying that real world experience and a good learning environment is a sweet combination.

thanks for listening,
yet another jim

jimmieknuckles said...

the other james, that posted after me agreed with me,
i like to think he was agreeing with the part about hip hop

Anonymous said...

...jimmie-k, this is james-sqaured...actually, hip hop was the only thing I disagagreed with...as the Will Smith video plainly proved...on second thought, is Will Smith actually considered hip hop?

...anyway...I mostly blame the media...


Aaron said...

@ RHI "supradollfishtutuism"

that is some funny shit! thanks for the comment.

Aaron said...

@ Jim Turbert (or Jim #3)

I understand that point of view. My wife thinks the same thing is true for any college experience. Whether it be for art, nursing, culinary... you just don't know much straight out of high school. Ya gotta live life for a while before you make a decision like that. IMO.

jimmieknuckles said...

@james []
blaming the media happens in the polaroid kid post, and only the polaroid kid post

haha you mentioned will smith and hip hop in the same entry.

oops guess i did too

Steven said...

Seems it's a moot point, really. All that matters is that you can express yourself as an artist. And remain true to your personal style and voice.

Aaron said...

says you and me and a bunch of others Steven. But go tell that to a dozen of the prominent Photo Galleries in NYC (specifically chelsea).

When I was at the NYC Photo Festival a few weeks ago, I learned that this new neighborhood called DUMBO that was hosting the event, has opened up as an alternative to the establishment in Chelsea.

DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Brooklyn Overpass) is in brooklyn and consists of 4 square blocks right on the shoreline with amazing views towards manhattan under the two bridges.

Steven said...

So having a degree is all the difference? Sheesh. The master's didn't have degrees. They actually did apprenticeships. Wonder if Reubens could make it in NYC?

Aaron said...

Interesting point Steven... but don't you think that the Master's (of painting I believe you are referring to) you speak of apprenticed under very important people that were the equivalent to a degree at a prestigious University?

Instead of schools on their resume, they had the name of so and so?

Steven said...

Yeh then like now, though, commissions make the artist in those circles. The Medici have modern equivalents in Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Buffets and Gates. Get some of those folks to pay attention (and buy) and I bet any gallery would be willing to take you board for commissions -- regardless of pedigree.

Find your "sugar daddy" and the galleries will follow. :)