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Student Blogger: If you didn’t get that art internship, learn on your own

June 15, 2011

'Spanish Dancer,' John Singer Sargent

'Spanish Dancer' - John Singer Sargent

By Sarah Alfarhan

If you are an artist, musician, or dancer, you should be practicing and developing your skill whether you landed an internship or not! Yes, it is nice to take a break from six-hour figure drawing classes; but what would you want to do six hours a day that could get you to the level you want?

Keep yourself busy. Art school isn’t going to give it all to you; you have to work on your own to sharpen your skills and develop your talent. Make sure that by the time next semester starts, you have developed a new skill and used your time to experiment.

Quoting one of my favorite bands (The Clash), Joe Strummer once said: “We are not particularly talented, we try harder … we give it all we got … that’s all, it’s as simple as that. You gotta give it all you got, or forget it.”

Here are a couple of ideas:

  1. Go see your favorite original paintings. Is your favorite painter John Singer Sargent? Go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. There’s nothing like seeing an original in person, rather than a reproduction in an art history book. Go to your local museum along with your sketchbook! If you are an art student, your school probably offers free or discounted entry to local museums.
  2. Study artists. By the end of my sophomore year, a professor of mine suggested an exercise for the entire class, which consisted of studying different artists/ styles/ schools. And I am glad I followed her suggestion, I made a journal that included photocopies of different artists paintings, my notes on each artist, composition studies of their works and notes on what I like and why I like their work.
  3. Develop a new skill. Whether it’s photography, Photoshop, or web design, teach yourself anything that will help you get to the skill level you want!

This summer, give it all you got.

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