The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Monday, November 09, 2009

a rooskie in dublin

By Irina Kuksova


Most people think young artists go to Fine Art Schools to learn how to draw. Well. According to my teacher, students' art-goal is self-expression. We – students – are supposed to "free ourselves from the limitations of the tradition and express ourselves in whichever medium we desire". Does that sound like live figure drawing, anatomy and color theory study to you? ("No" is the correct answer. If you want to study those, you can do it in your spare time. Don't bore your professors with that.)

Now, think about it – what is "self-expression"? Ok, I did the homework for you, here is a definition from a dictionary: Self-expression = expression of one's own personality, feelings, or ideas, as through speech or art. Easy enough? Not quite. Whenever I brought in an artwork which – to my mind – "expressed my personality, feelings and ideas", it would be dismissed with a shrug. "You're too square, Irina. Your Russian discipline shows through your paintings. You should really relax". In those days I used to take any "relaxation" in any piece of art for sloppiness or lack of technical skill. In addition to that, "free self-expression" which I had a chance to witness during the school years brought me to a conclusion that some selves should not be expressed at all. Half way through the course I learned how to paint "self-expression" paintings, just to keep my teachers happy. Not that my "squareness" was gone. I just stopped expressing it.

My style has indeed "relaxed" considerably since Fine Art Academy days, but this was simply a reflection of the changes in my character. Those were NOT brought about by any art school professor, but by seeing more and doing more.

So next time when you're thinking "I'd like to paint, but I never went to an art school", think again. Think about people like me who'd say – thank god you didn't! Maybe all you need is an enlightening book or a walk in a park, some quiet time on your own to allow you to relax and truly express yourself. That's one thing you can figure out on your own. Thank God.


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