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  #1  
Old 06-12-2011, 09:06 PM
Adelgander Adelgander is offline
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Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

Hi all,

It's been quite a while since I posted here, with my college portfolio. I've encountered some pretty disappointing times, and I am hoping to pick the experienced sculptor's brains here to get on the right track.

Here is the situation:

Since my BFA graduation in 2009, I have not payed a dime back on the loans and other debts I acquired during those four years at SCAD in Atlanta. This seems like the least of my worries, but having a minimum wage job doesn't make the future seem any brighter, considering.

I want so badly to begin creating sculpture again, but lack the time to do so. I took my minimum wage position because of the shop access, but I can't afford materials to create anything....

I feel like I am in such a rut. I am constantly coming up with great ideas, most of which are so different and new for me, as well as for the sculpture community as a whole. I feel like my work could really resonate and change things if I had a real chance.

I have been looking into residencies, graduate schools, and even internships (despite the whole financial problem). I just want to move on to something better, but I feel trapped. I am living with my parents at home, and I feel like I am disappointing them because I have nothing planned, and nothing to really look forward to.

What is the next step? How do I save myself from this boring 9 to 5 dribble that I have unwilling prescribed to? My grand dreams of a contemporary lifestyle and work environment are slowly slipping away from me. I need a catalyst, but I really don't know where to begin.

I would really hate to think that my professors, as wonderful as they were, left me unprepared for the real world.
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2011, 09:20 PM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelgander View Post

I would really hate to think that my professors, as wonderful as they were, left me unprepared for the real world.
Worse than that, they are part of a system that left you in debt for the privelge, which is one reason why I have advocated for alternative approaches to learning the craft side of becoming an artist.

Don't let materials cost stop you. It does not cost much to make small scale models of your ideas. It is important that you work these out and leave them in some form, be it 2-D sketches or 3-D small models, materials for which can either be found for free or nearly so. If you are doing figurative work clay can be purchased cheaply and armature materials can be cobbled together from construction site debris.

Working out these ideas at a small scale will keep you engaged in process. You will also build up reference material that can be photographed and will be ready for if and when the right circumstance or person comes along that may provide the opportunity to go the next step.
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  #3  
Old 06-12-2011, 10:32 PM
raspero raspero is offline
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

One way around the high cost of materials is to use modeling clay and plaster. Both are cheap; Dick Blick sells Klean Klay for a bit over a dollar a pound (he calls it Dick Blick Gray Modeling clay) and once you buy the clay it is yours for a very long time.

The process that comes to mind is making plaster piece molds of clay figures; then make plaster casts in those molds. Obviously it's not ideal as you have to be very careful of the mold release and the undercuts, or the mold won't release.

I like working in plaster. I have a bronze foundry but I make things in plaster too. Here is one I did a few years ago.

(I studied up on anatomy after this one, but still, I like it.)

Richard
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  #4  
Old 06-12-2011, 11:02 PM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

It's rough right now for many. Curious, if you have a job and are living at your parent's home, where is the money going???

free sculpture materials: steel- those political signs that appear on people's lawns are a great source of rod. the neighbors might even give you stuff from their garage. fallen limbs and other stuff gathered on trash day or at the dump. dirt, blown out tires from the freeway. scrap from transmission shops. ( politeness and explanations go a long way)

Look around, artists are resourceful and respond to their circumstances. designing something and then figuring out how to get the funds to do it is one way, but there are many other ways. If it's important to you, it will happen. pick up some crud and just start making stuff. You will feel better and have more energy. hang in there.
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  #5  
Old 06-12-2011, 11:10 PM
Adelgander Adelgander is offline
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

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Originally Posted by grommet View Post
It's rough right now for many. Curious, if you have a job and are living at your parent's home, where is the money going???

I have struggled with finding an answer to this question myself, and I keep coming around to the fact I just don't make enough. My weekly paycheck is usually just at $200 or a little under. So after a trip to the grocery and the gas station, I am out of money, hahaha. I can't imagine what it would be like if I didn't have family to lean on, I could be sitting on a street curb next to a guy with a p.h.d.
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  #6  
Old 06-12-2011, 11:06 PM
Adelgander Adelgander is offline
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

Thanks for the quick replies!

I suppose I do take for granted a lot of 'cheaper' materials I could use. More importantly, its after I make the work that I really worry about.

Having a safe place to put these things in the interim, or having them placed in a gallery seems like a formidable task in itself.

At this stage in my career, I am finding it difficult to promote myself. Name dropping at galleries, and submitting hard copy portfolios feels a little... forceful. I would really like to get going on actually putting my work 'out there'.

But once again, the professional practice side of being an artist is lost on me, as it is on potentially all fine art graduates out in the world without a clue. Is it really as easy as calling a gallery and asking them their policy on reviewing new artists?
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  #7  
Old 06-12-2011, 11:11 PM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

maybe start here.
http://www.amazon.com/Id-Rather-Stud...p/0974272582#_
perhaps the library has it?
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Last edited by grommet : 06-12-2011 at 11:53 PM.
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  #8  
Old 06-13-2011, 01:35 AM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelgander View Post
My grand dreams of a contemporary lifestyle and work environment are slowly slipping away from me. I need a catalyst, but I really don't know where to begin.
The only catalyst is only going to be your need to see your ideas come to fruition...not a "contemporary lifestyle/work environment."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelgander View Post
I would really hate to think that my professors, as wonderful as they were, left me unprepared for the real world.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennT View Post
Worse than that, they are part of a system that left you in debt for the privelge, which is one reason why I have advocated for alternative approaches to learning the craft side of becoming an artist.
Your professors were never charged with preparing you for the real world.
That's all on you. Students, (especially art students) shouldn't just enter a program wanting to be molded and prodded along incrementally.

And Glenn...Please correct me if I'm wrong as I veer off from the focus just a but, but were you ever a student at the type of university, (let alone an art program) you continually rail against? You have this vague idea of what it means to attend a university that exists as some hippie/liberal free-for-all that undermines all of your moral, socio-political and artistic leanings. I've just wondered about your uni experience(s) that led you to these criticisms...As cheesepaws touched upon in another thread-- Universities contain administrators, instructors and students all of whom encapsulate a range of hyper-liberal and hyper-conservative mindsets. It's up to the student to filter as needed... I do agree with some of your misgivings about university art programs, but not to the point of dismissing them outright.

On material costs, Glenn is dead-on about not allowing material costs to stop you. Let industriousness and improvisation reign.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grommet View Post

free sculpture materials: steel- those political signs that appear on people's lawns are a great source of rod. the neighbors might even give you stuff from their garage. fallen limbs and other stuff gathered on trash day or at the dump. dirt, blown out tires from the freeway. scrap from transmission shops. ( politeness and explanations go a long way)
Yep, knowing how to communicate your need to those overseeing your scrap bounty goes a long, long way. Knowing how to interface with galleries and other artists isn't the end of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelgander View Post
I have struggled with finding an answer to this question myself, and I keep coming around to the fact I just don't make enough. My weekly paycheck is usually just at $200 or a little under. So after a trip to the grocery and the gas station, I am out of money, hahaha. I can't imagine what it would be like if I didn't have family to lean on, I could be sitting on a street curb next to a guy with a p.h.d.
You've got to make a distinct decision to come up with a basic plan of attack, and at least, commit to some general goals in mind...One important thing I've learned is not to rush/force things.
After all, you're only two years removed from your BFA.

Last edited by obseq : 06-13-2011 at 07:35 AM.
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  #9  
Old 06-13-2011, 07:37 AM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

200 buck a week? That sound way below minimum wage to me. Got to get a better crappy job than that.

There will be very cheap space in the worst part of town. These areas have always served artists very well. You must get your OWN "place" to work (and so you live there too, amongst your art-stuff) . This is of primary importance. And as Grommet said, there are materials out there to be scavenged aplenty. No excuse there. That scavenging merely has to become part of your creative process; as important as the crafting and conceptualizing and composing.

Never blame anyone else for your inability to make art (or "succeed" there-in); hopefully you didnt enter into art for a career. You make art IN SPITE of a career. It (the making) might yet intertwine with other parts of your life and BE a career - or YIELD like a career OR it might outfit you for parallel opportunities that you could not have imagined had you not plowed through the resistance and persevered.

I would say you NEED to go the grad school...there will be folks there (students AND professors) who might awaken you to the REAL reason for making art - and once THAT has been internalized, the regular struggles seem easy...you will learn there how to negotiate the mountains of adversity that will be trying to stop you from applying your creativity in purity. (plus there are tools and gear to be borrowed in school as well). But It must begin with some interesting thoughts...and proceed from there with great will.
Money is the easiest and most obvious thing in the world to complain about. Art only happens when the least obvious and MOST difficult things are being addressed.

Last edited by evaldart : 06-13-2011 at 07:48 AM.
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  #10  
Old 06-13-2011, 08:01 AM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

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Originally Posted by evaldart View Post
200 buck a week? That sound way below minimum wage to me. Got to get a better crappy job than that.
In his post, he mentioned that the with the crappy job came shop access...That kills me to read that!!!
You should be camping out there after your nightly scavenging sessions for free materials. You've got rent covered, free work space, and very nominal cash flow.
Difficult to see any logistical roadblocks to any art-making.

Oh, and what materials are you trying to afford?

Last edited by obseq : 06-13-2011 at 08:42 AM.
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  #11  
Old 06-14-2011, 09:05 AM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

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Originally Posted by Adelgander View Post
Hi all,



Here is the situation:

Since my BFA graduation in 2009, I have not payed a dime back on the loans and other debts I acquired during those four years at SCAD in Atlanta. This seems like the least of my worries
.... Paying it back seems like the least of my worries".... Sounds like Obamanomics to me
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  #12  
Old 06-14-2011, 11:26 PM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

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I admit, this situation is a little more difficult to produce work than it was when I had everything all in one place at school. But that is in no way an excuse to be idle, and you are all very correct in scolding me for that. Thank you!

It is more difficult. Absolutely! Sculptors have it hard but that's part of the challenge.
I always cringe when I hear about photographers and painters moan about their difficulties when it comes to materials and taking their work head-on.

Since you mentioned a MFA as a possibility, one common refrain I've heard while in contact with grad school committees is that they prefer to see how a prospective student contends with creating a body of work --outside--
of an academic environment, where facilities/materials are always within easy reach.

Hopefully, you're waist-deep in a newfound construction site dumpster!!!
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  #13  
Old 06-15-2011, 04:41 AM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

Being frustrated is a good thing. At least you feel the lack of support that you had while you were at SCAD. So many students leave school, never make art again…and never really miss it. So you are one up!

You have already gotten some great “just do it” advice form folks here – listen to them. Reaching out for guidance on this forum is a great start.

Also, like has already been mentioned, there are many great ways to continue your education in art/object making – but really, given your background, portfolio and suggested expectations for a “job” – grad school is your best option. Ries already mentioned you could probably go very cheaply to a good grad school (for example, I think I only paid about $200 a semester in fees at a large east coast state school.) Once back in school you can defer your undergraduate loans (or, more responsibly, make reduced payments) and you can pick up some awesome and inexpensive health care (that might be a nice gesture toward repaying your family for their support). Pick a program that maximizes the resources YOU are interested in. Studio space, tool facilities and professors who make work that might align with your own ideas is a great place to start. School – ANY SCHOOL – is only what you make of it. The bulk of the responsibility is always on the student to work hard, ask questions and seek out opportunities. Grad school (or undergrad) never guarantees you any kind of job but it certainly might make finding a job that meets your expectations much easier than some of the alternatives mentioned. Of course, with experience, expectations change. All systems have their pros and cons. Given how academic your work already is – I think you would flourish in an MFA program.

Oh – and your school DID provide you with resources for employment. Below is a link to the career/alumni service center at SCAD. You paid for access to these networks and I am sure they can help support you in many ways. However, in the end the “job” of being an artist has as many different meanings as there are students - YOU must define how you want to make art before any fellow artists, parents or professors can dole out guidance that best fits you.

If you are still not sure about grad school – or if you have missed the application deadlines for the program you are interested in – contact your student loan officer and ask for a “hardship” deferment – it will buy you some time and perhaps free up some more resources for strengthening your portfolio even further.

Best of luck!

CP

http://www.scad.edu/connect/career-services/index.cfm
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:14 AM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

Very good advice Cheese. He would be smart to follow that to a "t".
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:12 AM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

Good advice on more schooling from Cheese. Oh yeah you'll succeed in getting an MFA, but now Adelgander must do some hard thinking and focus on what problems an MFA will actual solve. Its time to get real and zero in on goals. Where specifically do you want to be in x number of years? What new doors will open? In other words: what is the PLAN? Otherwise you'll be in the same boat in the same puddle, and still sinking.
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:24 PM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

Goals? Plan?

oh no- do I have to worry about that stuff too?

I am 56- and I have never had either. And hope never to have to.

I am more of the Maynard G Krebs school of thought- Work? Me?
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Old 06-15-2011, 02:30 PM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

Good point Joe; the hope is that the additional maturity, development (intellectual) and experience will provide an avenue (cause there will still be MANY). Most MFA's quit art shortly thereafter also. It wont be easier, indeed. But you'll be stronger and more determined and more realistic about what it means to give yourself to your creative potential.

And some folks just get it for teaching; pure and simple. But there DEFINITELY is no surplus of opportunities there. And god knows where you'll end up to fill that position (Detroit...yikes).

But, being amongst others in a more advanced form of the predicament will stimulate much discourse about "plans of action". And who knows...you might share an apartment with someone who becomes famous and they'll get you a leg-up. That happens all the time.
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Old 06-15-2011, 03:12 PM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

Quote:
Goals? Plan?

oh no- do I have to worry about that stuff too?
I've never been a planner, except when huge time and financial commitments were involved. Don't want to squander either. Also, school debt ain't what it used to be, and the middle class ain't what it used to be either. I paid off my university education while in school working part time. Reality is different now.
Quote:
I am 56- and I have never had either. And hope never to have to.

I am more of the Maynard G Krebs school of thought- Work? Me?
Maynard was an early influence too. My favorite episode was the 8' ball of aluminum foil. There's an art project.
By the way Ries, do you have your sons watch Dobie Gillis reruns to study Maynard as a role model?

Last edited by jOe~ : 06-15-2011 at 03:59 PM. Reason: more
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:18 PM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

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Good advice on more schooling from Cheese. Oh yeah you'll succeed in getting an MFA, but now Adelgander must do some hard thinking and focus on what problems an MFA will actual solve. Its time to get real and zero in on goals. Where specifically do you want to be in x number of years? What new doors will open? In other words: what is the PLAN? Otherwise you'll be in the same boat in the same puddle, and still sinking.
I know I do seem to suggest more skoolin' quite a bit - but in this case you only need to look at his work to know that the kind of sculpture he wants to make is primarily attached to academia.

But you are absolutely right - he will get more from his MFA program with a good exit strategy.

So what's the deal Adelgander? What do you want to do with your life?
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Old 06-15-2011, 07:41 PM
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Re: Lost in Monotony: After college dilemma

Quote:
I know I do seem to suggest more skoolin' quite a bit - but in this case you only need to look at his work to know that the kind of sculpture he wants to make is primarily attached to academia.
Agree completely--it looks exactly like good MFA work, but like you said:"he will get more from his MFA program with a good exit strategy. " Call it a plan, or goal, or exit strategy, it was absent from his BFA experience.
Quote:
So what's the deal Adelgander? What do you want to do with your life?
He says the following:
Quote:
My grand dreams of a contemporary lifestyle and work environment are slowly slipping away from me.
One of the toughest things in life can be "making things happen" that you want to happen. As an artist you either sell what you make or teach others how to make their own stuff, or make it and not worry about sales because you have other income that doesn't require messing up your art head too much.
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