4.12.2011

Welcome back blogger and Graduate School.

As you already know I haven't written in here for a while. I'm not going to apologize about it. It always seems kind of funny when people don't write in their blogs for a while and make a big apology, as if everyone is so eager to read their words or that regularly writing in one's blog is something we are ethically obliged to do, making an apology is necessary.

I've had countless(not literally. I'm sure it could easily be counted. Probably under 100) ideas I've wanted to write about and have them written on various scraps of paper or notebooks, but for whatever reason I haven't had the motivation to write.
Also, since I hadn't written in a while, a part of me felt I should come back with something big, instead of just saying something like 'wouldn't it be funny if Steven Spielberg or James Cameron directed a re-make of Napoleon Dynamite next year?'

I do have big news, though I'm sure most people who read this blog are familiar with it. As you likely know, I've been in the process of applying to Grad Schools since late last year.
It has been a nerve racking experience. For reasons I later regretted, I only applied at top 10 schools. After i sent out my applications I became very nervous I wouldn't get accepted anywhere. I wasn't sure what I would do if that happened. I likely would have seriously considered giving up art as a career, taking the Gre and applying to grad schools for philosophy or writing and eventually getting my Phd after the 25 years or so it would probably take me.
It would be at least another year before I could even apply and in that mean time I don't know what I would do.

While it is common for our lives to hinge on one moment or event, it is rare that we can see this ahead of time. Usually it is in retrospect that we see our lives would be significantly different if only one thing were changed. But in this situation, I could see ahead of me the possibility that my life was going to go one way or the other. And one of the ways seemed very discouraging and boring.

It was while in the depths of my anxiety over not getting accepted anywhere that I received a letter informing me I had been selected for an interview at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Saic) through the painting program. I was VERY excited about this. Out of 500 applicants only 80 are interviewed. A few days later I bought a plane ticket to Chicago and later that very day I was surprised to received a second from Saic informing me I had been accepted into the Ceramics program. I had previously been interested in the school, but very disinterested about the idea of living in Chicago, but I went to my interview, it went great and I loved the school and liked Chicago. (That was in february. A few days ago I officially accepted my acceptance) Ceramics is fairly technical and I don't know a lot about glazes and kilns etc, but I would love to master it. Plus, I would really like to teach ceramics at a University, while the idea of teaching painting or drawing doesn't appeal to me as much.(not from any philosophical disagreement, I just enjoy the technical process of ceramics much more than that of painting or drawing) Plus, ceramics has changed a lot over the past decade in ways I love. It has become very experimental in terms of media used and not limited to clay and glazes, which is similar to how I currently work.

I am very very excited about this. If you aren't familiar with the School of The Art Institute of Chicago, it is ranked #3 by UsNews and World Report for Fine Art Mfa programs and was voted the most influential art school in the country by a survey of art critics. (since much of the value in art is how others perceive it, it seems the Usnews, which are based on peer rankings, carry more weight for art schools than other types)

Since art is so subjective I'm constantly unsure about the quality of my work. I know that I like it and I know I tend to get positive feedback, but I'm sure there are many terrible artists who have supportive friends that feel the same.

It feels nice to finally not be an underachiever in the school/work aspect of life. It isn't as if this was something that had bothered me before and I don't know if I'm any happier because of it and I was surprised myself how nice it felt, but it does feel good. It feels good to realize that the rest of my life (in that regard) will be a bit easier than it might have otherwise. I'm sure it will still be difficult, there are so many artists out there it can be hard to make a name for oneself, but having this sort of stamp of approval will hopefully open doors for me and make finding jobs and getting shows a less of an uphill battle.

Also, since I make art that isn't too realistic or appears to not be difficult, despite my spending enormous amounts of time on it, I feel that some people who aren't as familiar with art may have seen me as somewhat deluded in thinking I could be a professional artist and that having been accepted into such a good school helps them see that even if they don't appreciate my work, I'm not just making crap that everyone but me thinks is crap.

I'm still very conflicted about art making and my notebooks are filled with lists of the pros and cons of being an artist and my con list is always much longer, but I'm now feel fully committed to seeking a career as an artist and art professor and am very excited. I've been more interested in the lives of artists than I have ever been before.

7 comments:

Heather Lea Zweig said...

This is very exciting news, congratulations on your upcoming endeavors.

WhitneyJoy said...

congrats Chris! That is so exciting, and please keep writing. I have enjoyed your art, but also didn't know if it was just crap or actually really good art. It's the same when I would catch a glimpse of american idle and wouldn't know if the singer was good or not, until Simon said so. I want to know more about your pros and cons lists about art.

Seriously, congrats - that's amazing.

meg said...

I am so so so proud of you, Christopher's Whener. You truly are an inspiration. And damn, I missed your blog! You owe me one thousand apologies.

ricky said...

Three hundred cheers for Chris! After I get 300 apologies for not blogging.

Vincent said...

From what you have revealed of yourself through blogging, I’d say that you have made a sound choice, defensible on all grounds. There is something about your ceramic art which strikes by its uniqueness and its ability to hit a certain spot in the beholder. Beyond that I am unable to analyze but I do feel your interviewers made a wise choice.

It’s very understandable that you feel conflicted with pros and cons. At the risk of puncturing this pleasurable agony, I venture to point out that going to art school doesn’t stop you subsequently running for President, starting a new school of psychotherapy, being a landscape gardener, or becoming a Jesuit and devoting yourself to community work in Somalia.

But I hope you will blog more regularly, regardless of not having such an obligation to your readers.

libby said...

You're coming to Chicago then?? welcome!!!!

Chris Almond said...

Thank you very much for the supportive words everyone. I will make a post outlining my list of pros and cons about art.
Libby, maybe in Chicago, me and your boyfriend with my name and marissa can all be friends. Talk about how windy it is all the time.