E-Journal #4: Making Art After Graduation

Read the ART21 Blog posting, Life After Graduation from last April and look over the website of current graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill, Lee Delegard.  Lee was one of my students at Beloit College, which has a studio art curriculum very similar to Rollins.  The Way Things Are includes installation views of the works that Lee produced for her senior exhibition.  I encourage you to look at her more current work as well, in order to get a sense of how her work has progressed.

After reading and looking over these materials, provide a 100-200 word response detailing your reaction to both.

Jeffrey Augustine Songco, “I’ve graduated before.” Courtesy of the artist.

11 thoughts on “E-Journal #4: Making Art After Graduation

  1. Life after graduation. There’s a loaded statement. I’m often filled with fear, apprehension, and for some reason that it is pretty much the end of my life as I know it. Graduation was the end game, now what?
    Jules’ life after graduation story is the art student dream I suppose. “Arrive at school, start making work, get noticed by an up-and-coming gallerist, have a roundly loved solo exhibition (or two), get glowing reviews from important art critics, sell a lot of art, buy a big studio and keep working.”
    In my head this is the dream. This is the end goal. But in reality I’m not sure if I want to get launched into the art world, at least that quickly. Maybe when I’m a little older and have some time to experiment and discover what it is that I’m trying to say. I do want to get into galleries and I do want people to experience and connect with my work. How that is going to happen is going to be me building up my portfolio and then marketing the heck out of myself.
    As far as grad school goes. I would like to take a year off first to travel or find some art residencies. I do want to go to grad school, just not yet. I’ve been in school for the last 17 years and I’m feeling a wee bit burned out. I think I could use a break. I know that I do want to go to grad school for graphic design. Graphic design is separated from fine art in my head. It’s something that I love doing and could absolutely make a career out of. Fine art is something far more intrinsic. I don’t see myself making it into a career necessarily.
    The second blogger wrote about how difficult it was for a fellow graduate to find a job that could keep them afloat, yet still give them enough time to create art. It reminded of what Doug Whitmore suggested to our senior class. Find a job that won’t suck your soul from you and doesn’t drain you so that when you do come home, you still have enough energy to make art. I definitely see moving to California, Portland, New York, Chicago as a possibility. I would get a crappy waitress job or maybe get a job at a museum if I’m lucky, and make art on the side. Who knows. The possibilities are endless I suppose.

  2. “The Continuing Education of Jules de Balincourt”
    In the article we find a young and spunky Jules traveling all over the country just whipping out work left and right for all the shows that just dropped into his lap. However that isn’t to say that Jules was a spoiled jerk who got everything handed to him- far from it. The impression I got from the article was that Jules was a hard working student who just got extremely lucky. I do see some connections between me and Jules, certainly. Both of us are hard working abstract art students who created a body of work their senior year. The only difference between us is the fact that my school is public and has a gallery to showcase student art, and his school is public and most likely has guest artists/ gallery owners come by to scout for talent. I am a bit jealous of Jules though for his success and seemingly doing things out of order (that order being: Graduate from College, Go to Gradschool, become successful, die.).

    Personally i don’t really like Jules’s portfolio too much, but like he said: “Either people like you or they don’t; you just have to learn how to differentiate between the two and reach a median (this quote being paraphrased, of course).” So I guess I’m just one of those people who doesn’t really like his work.

    On the other hand I really like Lee Delegard’s abstract drawings and can obviously see similarities between me and her. Though I couldn’t see the art that she made during her time in College, the way her current art looks is just a step or two past my own in terms of development. I wouldn’t have thought to have used splatters in that way, nor would I be so messy with the line-work- but when its all thrown together it just looks really good. So in a way Lee inspires me to just go bigger and messier, and to later experiment with watercolors….

  3. The message that I got after reading the ART21 article is that life after graduation can be extremely challenging and that you must find a balance between what do you want to do with your life and what do you want to do with your art. Jules is one of a rare example of artist who has his hard work paid off. Most people would not have been as fortunate to be able to have a solo exhibition during their graduate school education, or even after they have graduated. I think the article also warn people to think hard before choosing an artist as a career, since it is such a competitive field and it is quit impossible to sustain a living on creating and selling art alone. Most people graduate without a career plan or ended up having to give up their artistic pursuit for a job that helps to pay the bill.

    I found Lee Delegard’s work to be quite interestingly similar to Leigh-Ann Pahapill’s for the fact that both of them used found objects and put them into a new context that allow viewers to interact with them (the objects) in a new way. I can clearly see how her work has developed throughout the years. She still interested in the interaction of different object and how it reflects human society, but they are slightly different in terms of subject matter. In most of her work she is creating a new landscape which forces people to enter into and interact with the space. You can see the progress very clearly from her drawings. Her earlier drawings, although look equally abstracted to her later ones, contained recognizable forms such as human and animals that shows up in some of her drawings. She then get progressively more abstracted which shows that she starting to sacrifice some aesthetic quality of her work for the effectiveness in which it will carry out her message.

  4. I don’t really know what I want to do. I enjoy drawing sharks and other various aquanimals in my spare time as a hobby, but I do not intend to sell them or do anything professional with them. I have no desire to be shown in a gallery or become famous from my artwork in the traditional sense. I do want to start my career as a specialty cake shop owner, and I see some connections to art there. Some cakes that professionals make really are works of art. They are sculptures made out of edible materials. It’s art in a more elementary sense because it’s really just about skill and less about the idea, but that’s what I want to pursue after graduation. I could make fake cakes which could go in a gallery, but I prefer them to be eaten and enjoyed. I do use a lot of skills that I have learned through art classes when I make cakes, so I do think of baking as an artistic process.

    As for the article, it was just kinda ehh for me. They’re passionate about pursuing MFAs and being in galleries, which as I said, I just don’t really have a passion for. I enjoy painting and drawing as a hobby, not a profession. I really enjoyed Lee’s work, though. It’s bright and alive and you can tell it was created by someone around our age. It’s very refreshing and beautiful. I am really drawn to artwork like hers, and if I had a more creative mind, I would love to do paintings like hers. I just have a really hard time coming up with inspiration and ideas for things like that. I have a lot of admiration for artists that have that vision which I lack, which is why I have struggled a lot this year.

  5. Life after graduation is really frightening to me. I don’t know what I want. I have plans and a lot of options, but I hesitate, fearful that I’ll regret these choices later. I know I want to go to grad school, but what for is what I’m having difficulty with. Do I want to continue with an MFA or go after art history or art conservation? The links were very interesting. I found myself extremely envious of Jules. He is so lucky to already be this successful in the art world and especially so early in his career. I’ve been reminded time and time again that a career as an artist is difficult, so seeing him that well off is really surprising. I thought Lee’s progress with her style was inspiring. I sometimes think my style isn’t very good, and have had moments where I considered trying to completely change how I do things. It was nice to see her stick with her style and develop it farther. Her work has definitely improved over time. Seeing that progression helps me see where I am now as the first step in my own development.

  6. Art after graduation. Sounds like something every art student is waiting for, but sitting here now with only a couple months left, I am wondering how in the world will I make art with absolutely no boundaries, no rules… no harsh critiques from professors or even my classmates. At the time of critique, I often feel drained, as if I just took 10 steps back, instead of forward, but when I finally get the chance to progress and look back, I realize how helpful the whole process really is. I definitely want to continue creating art for myself, but I feel that teaching the practice would be more fulfilling. After I graduate, I am planning on doing my master’s degree in Education online, and fulfilling a teaching career in the Bahamas (where we REALLY need teachers!).

    Jules’ story was somewhat rare, I think. He had a huge amount of success in a small amount of time, and that is something every growing artist should strive for. He had a well thought-out plan on how he was going to execute his work, and how it was going to become recognized in the art world. With that said, I think it is very important as a young artist to intergrade yourself in your art community. In the Bahamas, there is a tight-knit relationship between all the artists, and slowly I feel like I am getting more and more involved in my art community, as apposed to only the community at Rollins. Dedicating a lot of my time to the art world while not at school has helped me make these ties at home, so after graduation I am already in the game (if that makes sense….)

    The second blogger wrote about the difficulties in working and having time to create art (and the money….) This is why I feel really good about my decision to go into teaching. Not only do I think it is extremely rewarding, but it keeps you in the loop of making art, and also inspires you. Being in an institution where everyone is making art keeps your brain creative! I think there is a lot to be learned from students, as well, because they are at the time where experimentation is all they have!

    Art after graduation…… I thought it would take forever to see the day, but it’s almost here!

  7. It is interesting to view the phrase ‘art after graduation’, because I currently have been bombarded with the word LIFE. what are you going to do with your ‘life’ after graduation, as if we were to cease to exist because we are leaving college. Something that I read in the first article was a bit upsetting, but also gave me some hope for the future. the article was talking about one of the artists and stated that “Whatever the value of his education, the value of his studio practice was undeniable. ”I went to the studio everyday. I would go to my job and then have a second day from 5 until midnight. The studio building was an oasis for me.” In college, especially a liberal arts school, I feel like I have at least 5 lives. I have swimming, my social life, Art, Religion (minor), and all the other General requirements that even within themselves vary from acting to physics. What also gave me hope was, that it was not about what kind of an education you got exactly, its what you did with it, or more so during it. One of these artists found that when he was out and about experiencing the world, moving art and interacting with different artists with different levels of “success” that he really felt he was learning. I do feel that if art is something that is meant to be in your life, you have to make time for it. not only because it requires time, but it also requires having other time to rest. In one day I go from studying about aborigines, to acting class, to a highly cliquey lunch cafeteria, to Senior seminar for Art, then to Religion class where we dissect the human language, and then I have to switch gears yet again to hop into a pool and swim as fast as I can. all these things are mentally and physically tiring, and I feel as though once I can focus on one or two of these categories I will be more successful and even enjoy Art more! How everyone views success if very different, but I think i would feel successful if I made work I was truly proud of and felt connected to. then after that if I got more attention for my work so be it, but that’s where I would like to start after college if I pursue art.

  8. I’m just going to come out and say that I wasn’t very interested in these links. I like advice and I like hearing about other people’s experience but if I do not know that individual on a personal level or if I am not super into what it is that they are doing, it’s hard for me to pay attention. I am not interested in the professional art world, or at least I am not interested in it when in relation with myself. Whenever I take myself serious, that’s when everything starts going wrong. And as a professional artist, your end goal is to be taken serious. Jules and Jeffery are two examples of individuals who enjoy art but also want to be recognized as Artists with a capital “A”. Whenever I attempt to view myself in that way, I feel like a grade-a poser. So after graduation, I will continue to make art, but I don’t think I will be trying to follow the path of Jules and Jeffery.

  9. Senny is right. Its a loaded question. It could be a loaded gun just waiting around for the day when I realize when I’ve made my parents spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on my education only to have them realize that all they needed to do was buy me some tubes of paint and hand me some linen to paint on. ( Ok, now… im kidding and now ive got my cute depressed joke out of the way)
    In the highest of highest of dreams, yes, I want to continue to make art if it sells. I will always make art for myself, for the therapeutic quality? For the fact that I know what I’m doing ( I may not do it well, but I do know what I’m doing) Photography will be something that I want to explore further. I think it is something that I have a strong eye for.
    As for career wise, I want to be in the creative field. My dream= creative editor for a magazine or fashion website. I think I have the eye. I know what looks right and what does not. I can articulate what I want and what a customer won’t respond to, what will make someone react and what will dull out. And although I did not follow an english major or minor and or creative writing like I now know I should have, I know I can write in a journalistic manner.

    I would love to be able to sell work on the side, believe me! That would be awesome. Funding my obsession with shoes that I cannot afford, hello!

    MFA… it would be nice. MBA would be a dream come true + make me multifaceted. But this has to come after a couple years in the shark tank. I am not the best student. I am not so gung ho’ about paying an institution all this money for them to tell me what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and then hold me back. If I am the one being paid, then I work much better 🙂 ( ok not going into politics)

    Bottom line, I want to graduate and be the girl in the suit, not the painters apron all day. I want to use my critical mind and creative eye because that is what I feel most confident about.

  10. The question, what do I do after graduation, has been in my head for the past year now, and I still do not have an answer. Personally, I still have not found my “dream”, a thing or job that I definitely want and I know will keep me happy. When it comes to art, even though I enjoy it a lot at times, after going through the senior year, I believe that I do not want to pursue a professional career in art, but I would like to keep doing it once in a while, as it relaxes me and makes me imagine and forget other things.
    Reading the Art21 Blog, I see how hard it is for an artist to move forward and succeed. From the reading and from my own experience, I believe that it is very important to be at the right place, at the right time, and with the right people in order for someone to excel in art, or in other words be lucky, and meet the right people that willl at the same time appreciate the art this person makes, as art is very subjective and everyone sees things in different ways.
    Looking at Lee’s work, I was impressed, and I really liked her prints and drawings. I thought she had some very interesting compositions and some well balanced worked. Personally I loved the aesthetics within her 2 Dimensional work,and she definitely is a new source of inspiration for the few weeks that remain for us to create ‘the’ body of work.

  11. I know it’s going to be marvelous. Sometimes you need to take a second to step back and appreciate where you are and everything at your fingertips. I have been so obsessive over planning every second of my day to maximize my productivity. This pressure has forced me into to complain about how much stress I am under; but in reality it is not pressure; it is opportunity. I am fortunate enough now to pursue something I love. Thinking about the future and its questions and uncertainty has for some reason made me pause and appreciate the now. Because at least now I have to-do lists, deadlines, projects, purpose. My biggest fear for life after graduation is to have spare time, no work, no opportunities. I see many intelligent and driven people who have recently entered the “life after graduation” world and are at a standstill. I hope to never settle for this, even for a minute. The successful artists of today may yes be partially because of being at the right place at the right time; however, they were many more places many more times then their counterparts and that is what is driving me.

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