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  #1  
Old 01-11-2004, 09:45 PM
LaForte_2oo5 LaForte_2oo5 is offline
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schooling?

Hello, I'm a young artist looking more into sculpting, I was wondering how many of you went to school after high school for your art and if so where? Right now I'm not sure if I really want to go to a school (for various reasons) but if i do I'm looking at North Carolina School of the Arts (I live in NC)...any advice?
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Old 01-12-2004, 10:36 AM
jwebb jwebb is offline
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Re: schooling?

I'd recommend getting all the schooling you can get, but question and resist almost all of it. I'm somewhat typical of 1960's era US students, in that I attended various colleges and Universities, dropped out, got drafted, survived, traveled in Europe for two years studying on my own, and finally, at age 25, married and with children, went back to being a student with a more serious attitude. (I wouldn't recommend all of the above.) But when I got serious about Art and Sculpture I wound up at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. They had a small but very solid program, and I feel very fortunate to have been in it. A real gentleman named Frederic Littman, assisted by Prof. James Lee Hansen, taught Sculpture. Mr. Littman was European, and had studied under Aristide Maillol, who in turn studied under Rodin. That fact still blows me away. He was wonderful just to be around. His love for the Classic tradition of Sculpture, the materials and processes and techniques, influenced about every sculptor in the Northwest, including Mr. Hansen, who succeeded him as head of the Sculpture Department. Jim was very much an Abstract Expressionist, very verbal and thoughtful, and with a strong influence from northwest Native American Art in his Sculpture. He broke a lot of ground in this region. He had his own foundry, where he cast bronzes up to 7 tons. (They also have a smaller foundry at PSU). Later, Donald Wilson, a wonderful and prolific stone carver, was added to the staff. To cut to the chase, I think there is great value in doing a "body of work" over a sustained period of time, under the trained eyes of people you respect. In addition to sculpture classes, I did life drawing 3 hrs a day, 3 days a week, for about 3 years. That's a wonderful experience and you just can't do it on your own. You also get a lot of Art History jammed down your throat. I think it's important to have some idea of yourself in relation to that history. You also learn a lot out of class, by example, about how to be a professional artist; how to put yourself on the line; get rejected; get some success; get some real satisfaction out of it. One of the lasting lessons was that the only reason making Art is worth it and makes sense is because you want to do it. It was an eye opener for me to learn that it's possible for a very good artist to also be a real ass-hole of a person. I'd never have suspected that. Anyway, in the end, you have to find your own voice and go your own way. You can't let yourself be too influenced, and nothing great can grow in the shadow of a great oak tree, etc. Well, that's a diatribe. More than you asked for or wanted, I'm sure. But maybe it'll be of value to somebody. I hope you get some interesting responses here, as it's a great question.
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Old 01-12-2004, 02:30 PM
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Re: schooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaForte_2oo5
I was wondering how many of you went to school after high school for your art...
Hi Kelly, I'm no help with advice on schools, but to answer your question - I did not go on to University after high school. I found art at high school a dismall experience, and living in a small town I'd had no direct experience with higher education. If I had, I probably would have gone and done a degree. How that would have changed my life is anyones guess.
As it was I partied away my late teens and early twenties with students as house mates and friends, while I fancied myself as an artist but did bugger all about it. I survived on a string of stupid and menial jobs, with an income I could have had as a Government assisted student. Go figure.
I think I just had a deep suspicion that my 'minds eye' couldn't survive the structure and subtle influence of formal education. Nonsense in hindsight.
Anyway, I just plodded along, actively seeking out working artists I respected, and vasilated between thinking art was dead, to imagining I'd re-invented the wheel.
Looking back, I probably would have ended up right here, no matter the path I took. A fulltime working artist.

jwebb, that was a great post.
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Old 01-12-2004, 04:51 PM
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Re: schooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaForte_2oo5
Hello, I'm a young artist looking more into sculpting, I was wondering how many of you went to school after high school for your art and if so where? Right now I'm not sure if I really want to go to a school (for various reasons) but if i do I'm looking at North Carolina School of the Arts (I live in NC)...any advice?
I agree with both of the previous perspectives - yes, higher education, and no, experiment and discover on your own - I've done both. I went to Parochial school and we didn't have any art classes at all. I've always made things, so I did anyway in spite of the lack of guidance, but when I went to Mass College of Art in Boston I had the opportunity to try media like ceramics that I had no access to at home and techniques and styles to learn from that gave me a better range of choices. I only went for a year and a half before one of the other art students and I got married and started a family. I worked on my own then and developed and strengthened my skills, exhibited and so on. Then, many years later I went back to the Museum School to finish my degree thinking I'd focus on painting, which is what I had been exhibiting. The tuition was very high, so I took advantage of averything that was offered to make the most of the huge investment. The Museum School is probably one of the most open format art schools available, so yo are not locked into set classes or choosing a major as long as you are workoing and learning. They offered a six week non-credit class during lunchtimes called "Arcs and Sparks" and I took it because it was included in the tuition. I had never once in my life thought about such an industrial thing as welding. Now I am a sculptor and have my own welding shop. There is no way that I would have stumbled into welding without school. In my view, one of the great things about school is access to the fascilities and the help of the people there.
I went through parts of North Carolina last summer on a road trip, but don't know anything about that school. Try to contact some students who are there now and go for one of the guided tours to check out what's available.
Best of luck!
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Old 01-12-2004, 08:17 PM
LaForte_2oo5 LaForte_2oo5 is offline
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Re: schooling?

Thank you all for your input...it is very interesting and helps me figure out what direction suits me best...I am really intrested in doing it as more then a hobby but as a career...I know I need to get to know more people and look into things a little more...but I figured basically if I kept high standards for what I do and activily pursue opprunities I could be successful...do you find this to be true, is the opprunitity really out there? What are the chances of supporting my self as an artist?...to cut to the chase how many of you make a living being an artist?
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Old 01-12-2004, 09:32 PM
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Re: schooling?

Some great posts above. I am a drop-out myself after taking three semesters of art/philosophy from a small liberal arts college. I felt I got about all I could out of it and circumstances conspired to get me out as well. I received a large commission while still a student that gave me some freedom. And I got married and moved down south so my wife could finish school. The biggest influence on my work is from growing up with a great father who taught me how to work at his welding shop. Looking back, it was not that different from an old-fashioned guild environment. Except that I had zero exposure to art until high school. I think the most important thing is to just do the work. Build up a body of work, put together a great portfolio, and never stop learning. Read all the books you can and try and meet as many great people as possible.

To put it bluntly, very few people make a living solely from their work. I read one economic report that put the number in the USA at around 1000 at any one time. Seeing as how the census puts those claiming to be "artists" at over 2 million or so.... well, you get the idea.

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Old 01-13-2004, 01:26 AM
Stephen Casey Stephen Casey is offline
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Re: schooling?

No art schooling.
I am a bit long winded, but I do eventually get to the point.

While in junior high I was refered to a lit professor at the local college. The subject was a fictionalized account of my actually finding my grandmother dead. The next day she claimed she had lost it. I was so shocked by this I walked out without saying a word and did not even consider writing again for almost 20 years. In retrospect I think she thought it was too sereal or gothic for such a young mind. The option to write was blotted out of my mind.

The next year an art instructor in high school, once raved about an abstract piece I did in front of the full class detailing the strong composition and such. Then she turned around to me and said, "But of course you didn't know what you were doing did you?" I turned over the desk and never returned to her class. I did file a complaint. Later that year I was called to the principles office where some other students and a couple parents were assembled. I was informed the same instructor had submitted that very same piece of mine as her teachers entrance to the state fair. And she won. Whoopie. Some other odd behavior had bothered the parents and students. The principle said in short, "The woman is cracked. And she is on the last couple months to retirement. Please let her coast." The parents insisted she "coast" at home, and that is what happened.

High school was all about paying bills with my inhereted family responcibility. GED and a only a semester at ENMU. (Electronics and math.)

I turn 40 years old in a couple months. Only over the last decade have I earnestly sought to make my mark as well as support myself as an artist. Like everyone else I have my share of problems, mental and physical illness. And my greatest lacking being insuffecient motivation to get art DONE. My motivation diluted greatly when my family responcibilities were over. SO the finished products are dismal, hense totally reworking my artistic pursuits of late as well as my goals. Amoung them building a business model with high profit so I can donate 2/3 of the profits to charitible causes, people that need it more than me. So far it is working.

If I had not had such early experiences, I may very well had managed to attend and prosper in university, now due to health concerns it is not even a possibility.

BUT, and here is where I sum it up, over this last decade of eanest self directed artistic researching, practicing, and synthisizing, the hard knocks of life have taught me my greatest lesson about art. That it captivates me, challenges me and enthuses me like nothing else. Good, Bad, Great or Lousy, I would rather do this than anything else in the world. And my friend let me tell you this one last thing. Strokes and morbid depressions have been a big part of my life over the last decade, it was my art that kept me from taking my own life on more than one occassion. So bear in mind that when you decide how commited you are to being a full time artist, realize that it will bring unknown stresses on your friendships, marriages, finances, and maybe even your health. Some good, some not.
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Old 01-14-2004, 02:45 AM
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Re: schooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaForte_2oo5
Hello, I'm a young artist looking more into sculpting, I was wondering how many of you went to school after high school for your art and if so where? Right now I'm not sure if I really want to go to a school (for various reasons) but if i do I'm looking at North Carolina School of the Arts (I live in NC)...any advice?

Right now, if you are indeed adamant about getting a formal art education try to decide if you want a small, private school or a larger public school. I began in the sciences at a large public university and decided to shift to art half way into my degree. In the spirit of hindsight I think I would have gone for the smaller setting.

The clear disadvantages of a large public school is the quality of education. My experience yielded perhaps two wonderful instructors out of dozens. Also your courses will likely overflow with students who are going through the motions of 'higher education' and have little interest in taking art seriously.

A private institution will certainly cost much more but wont have the population/apathy issues mentioned above Which of these types of environments will you thrive in? For now focus on this in addition to rounding out your personal vision. Soak in as much art as you possibly can in the lull between high school and college.

Best of luck and be sure to keep us posted!
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Old 01-15-2004, 03:04 PM
jwebb jwebb is offline
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Re: schooling?

"...What are the chances of supporting my self as an artist?...to cut to the chase how many of you make a living being an artist?"

More good but very impolite questions, LaForte. I believe it's different in Europe and maybe Australia, but in the US it's tough. I've never come close to making a living being an artist, so far anyway. I'm convinced that's because they're all too stupid to recognize my brilliance, of course. Just look at an issue of Art News, and you'll see how arbitrary and capricious the Art World in this country is. I've had a "day job" for 30 years. I only know about two people who do make a living solely on Art, and I know a lot of very good artists. Many teach to support themselves while making Sculpture (another excellent reason to get some degrees). At the University or Art School Level that is a very nice life, as it's mostly Studio classes so there's no homework to have to read; classes are usually only 3 days per week, so that leaves 4 to work on your own stuff; and you get this built-in adoration society of students and hangers-on. However, Professor of Sculpture positions are very few and far between. Every opening gets a zillion applicants. And the academic world is more political than politics.
I think the important question is "Can I be successful being an artist?", and then you have to define "success" for yourself. I've had to compromise a lot, but not in any important ways. (Hell, this is beginning to sound like some old Sinatra tune...) The bottom line for me is, the life of struggling to be an artist is way ahead of anything else I know about to do with your time on this mortal coil.
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Old 01-15-2004, 03:28 PM
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Re: schooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwebb
I believe it's different in Europe and maybe Australia, but in the US it's tough..
I imagine the US as the 'land of plenty'. I'm selling to a mere 20 million, most of who wear cork hats and chase crocodilles for entertainment (joke). The problem we face is cultural cringe - that is, that foreign art is somehow superior. Common in young antipodean cultures.
I've just let my first really professional workshop this week, and taken on yet another weekly bill. With no other income but sculpture, it is a risk. But I now have several very good galleries working with me, and can spread the work around. I've looked at other part-time jobs etc, and teaching (unlikely without degree), but I don't think I can make the best work with a divided focus.
So, I struggle. I drive a crap 20 yr old car, rent, and hit months where I live entirely on credit. I make the equivalent of a modest wage, and could not afford kids.
But, I think I have a shot at pulling out of this, as I mature, and prices go up, and in the end I will be doing what I love - without much compromise.

My suspicion anyway is that this is the only path open to me, and besides, I've being doing it so long I now have no other employment prospects.
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Old 01-15-2004, 08:37 PM
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Re: schooling? antipodean ideas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Araich
I imagine the US as the 'land of plenty'. I'm selling to a mere 20 million, most of who wear cork hats and chase crocodilles for entertainment (joke). The problem we face is cultural cringe - that is, that foreign art is somehow superior. Common in young antipodean cultures. .. deletions ..
Araich - Thatís not uniquely an antipodean concept. I canít think of the exact phrase, but there is one that says basically ďHonor never starts at home!Ē Nor fortune either, typically.

All comments here Are valuable to the whole thread.
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Old 01-15-2004, 10:34 PM
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Re: schooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Araich
I imagine the US as the 'land of plenty'. I'm selling to a mere 20 million, most of who wear cork hats and chase crocodilles for entertainment (joke).
The new issue of Sculpture (Jan/Feb) has a nice article on the reviving of high-profile and high profit sculpture awards in the land down-under. See if this link works: http://www.sculpture.org/documents/s...orum/forum.htm You need to get yourself a piece of that action, Araich!


That Studio course sounds good. I'd say a prospective artist should hang out with some dedicated artists/professors just to get the feel for that electricity that runs through such focused activity. Often, the most important thing a student learns is not what to do but how to do it. The art of Work, especially get-your-hands-dirty and sweat-on-the-brow work, is just as important as understanding history or style. My favorite professor was the one that never slept.
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Old 01-16-2004, 01:14 AM
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Re: schooling?

Sam, you're a champ! Ken Scarlett is our best sculpture writer here IMHO. I think this year I will make my first application to a number of these prizes. I could have entered before, but have waited until I could make the best of it. Right now, with my new working space, and a few new tools, I feel like the king of the world.

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Old 01-16-2004, 04:45 AM
anne (bxl) anne (bxl) is offline
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Re: schooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwebb
I believe it's different in Europe and maybe Australia, but in the US it's tough. .
It's not different in Europe, 90% artists support themselves by teaching, being praticioner (working or offering services for other artists), or making commercial art (wedding pictures ) and as Araich said it deforces their art to have divided focus. In addition there are much less grants and awards or private commisions here.

To speak of my own experience : I have had a more-than-full-time job as an architect (this means to be technician, jurist, accountant, drafsman; all in the same time in a fighting world). To survive, I decided when I get fourty to change my life. I sold my expensive house, my nice car and took an evening class in sculpture (an old dream) for the next 5 years at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels (there is no university degree in arts hereover). I had a more what-to-do teacher than a how-to-do (to use Sam expression), I thanks her very much as she learned me how to express personal emotions but I am still a poor technician!

I guess, in addition of what have been said that school helps to quickly meet the art community around you and offers you the opportunity to experiment many different technic without major investment.
And before choosing a full time artist life be conscious that it is a lonely life...
(that's why such a forum is so important some days! isn't it, guys? )

Today, I live in a small studio, I drive such an old car that it looks now much like a small truck and I am much much happier. But if I had kids responsability I am not sure I should have done the same choice. Unless the father..... but that's another story!
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Old 01-16-2004, 02:34 PM
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Re: schooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anne (bxl)
And before choosing a full time artist life be conscious that it is a lonely life...
This is very true, and became a concern for me a few years back, when I realised that I wasn't coping with social events as well as I once did. My life now consists of long periods alone at the workbench, punctuated with intense hand shaking and cheek kissing at gallery openings. Luckily I'm not single, and my beautiful girlfriend of 11 years keeps me from growing a beard and moving to a log cabin to write a manifesto.
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Old 01-16-2004, 03:01 PM
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Re: schooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Araich
Luckily I'm not single, and my beautiful girlfriend of 11 years keeps me from growing a beard and moving to a log cabin to write a manifesto.
Hey, there's nothing wrong with a beard, man! All the great ones had 'em!

sam
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Old 01-16-2004, 03:16 PM
jwebb jwebb is offline
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Re: schooling?

OK, I obviously don't know anything about Australia or Europe. I thought Id heard that in Sweden, all you have to do is proclaim yourself an artist, and the government provides you a stipend. Another myth? Oh well. Personally, I'm content with the remote prospect of becoming famous and revered long after I'm dead, for the benefit of a bunch of Dealers and Collectors and other pimps I'll never know.
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Old 01-18-2004, 04:03 PM
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Re: schooling?

That was intended as humor, from a guy with a beard living in a log cabin in the woods.
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Old 01-18-2004, 04:17 PM
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Re: schooling?

Look what you miss when you are working on a show. This thread really touched a vein - anything I could have added has been but I'll throw in as well to help round it all out.

Is it a reflection on sculpture, on this forum or the arts in general that most of the replies are from people with no degree in art? I don't have a degree but my work has been discussed in 'institutions' and my writing has wound up as part of a course at an 'institution', some limited recognition can come even without a 'certificate'.

In spite of that I think someone starting out should get a degree, or failing that second skill set (I was given this advise myself but didn't take it - I knew everything when I was young). A thin chance becomes thinner without some sort of support. Arts administration, teaching or a second trade totally outside of the arts would likely be found in the lives of 999 out of a thousand artists in Canada (some very good artists).
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Old 01-19-2004, 06:14 AM
anne (bxl) anne (bxl) is offline
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Re: schooling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwebb
OK, I obviously don't know anything about Australia or Europe. I thought Id heard that in Sweden, all you have to do is proclaim yourself an artist, and the government provides you a stipend.
Your information may be correct as Sweden has a very strong social politic. But, as NY doesn't make US, Sweden doesn't make Europe.
By the way, Stockholm is at the same latitude as Anchorage. Would you live overthere?
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Old 01-19-2004, 10:27 AM
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Re: schooling?

Anne,

I'll fantasize about it. I have been to Anchorage, by the way, and it's a paradise - during the month of October, which is right after the hordes of tourists and mosquitos leave, and just before the snow comes.
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Old 01-19-2004, 08:06 PM
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Re: schooling? Northern Europe

I'll fantasize about Stockholm, in part. Iíve actually been there several times, to science conferences and as part of other trips. Northern Europe is warmed by the Atlantic Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream is the reason Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle, and the rest of Britain - England, Scotland, Wales, and so on, could be as well. The islands look like greenhouses much of the time, with a relatively warm, cloudy atmosphere that encourages lush plant growth. The climate is much milder that the continent in general, and the effect carries over to Scandinavia. Altogether, probably great places to live year-round.
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Old 01-20-2004, 05:38 AM
anne (bxl) anne (bxl) is offline
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Re: schooling?

I am so surprised that you US guys could fantasize about such an expensive country with a 3 hours daylight winter! I have several swedish friends herearound that wouldn't return to their country! Well, summertime could be great anyway for some holidays...
The climate you describe Fritchie is the one we have here in Belgium, Netherlands, north of France.
If you want to join dreams and efficiency here is a forum to know more about Sweden and swedish people (including schooling to not forget the main topic of the thread)
http://www.sweden.com/community/joinmem.php
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Old 01-21-2004, 11:37 PM
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Re: schooling?

For the last week I've been doing exhaustive research into forums that pertain to my medium (polymer clays), and end products that are simular to my goals, (Action figures, fantacy, etc, same scale as my chess men). I have joined and conversed in several extremely helpful forums this week. And conversed via e-mail messages with one very fine artist that makes her living in polymers; Katherine Dewey. After she was so qiuck and generous in her responces to my questions I invited her to join us here in this community. http://www.elvenwork.com/elvsam22.html
http://www.elvenwork.com/elvsamp2.html

She is very busy with teaching, sculpting, publishing her latest book, and who knows what all. But through it all it is her connection with other artist, financially successful or not that she gets what she really needs. Respect from peers and human interaction. Thats the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

I also had the pleasure of talking on the phone for a couple hours with another artist that makes his living with polymers. He is just barely scraping by. But like myself recieves the nurturing menefits of meditation on my craft. I am ignoring some more lucritive oppurtunities, gladly. This is easy for me to say, I have a full disability pension and no current family responcibities. Family comes first, yes, but sometimes pursuing your dreams and living a more meager existance makes you a calmer, more satisfied, in short-better person to live with or be around. A more calm nurturing and vital person. There is always compromise even in the best of situations. The trick is to stop and appreciate what is working in your life, art is just a part of that.

P.S. As great as the other forums I've join are, it is here such dialog is fitting.
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Old 01-22-2004, 01:03 AM
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Re: schooling?

Polymer clays are a godsend if you are pushing ideas on a tight budget.

The properties of these clays allow anyone with a kitchen to create something presentable without spending allot of time or money. For someone going through school, working on their own after work or creating prototypes for an edition its great stuff.

I used allot of it for a show in 99 when I had to fill a gallery quickly.

www.hendersonsculpture.com/signifer.htm
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