why art class rocks

while working on one’s own is good, there’s something about going to art class, where you can be with other artists, all working on solving the same problem. everyone’s dressed the same: t-shirts, jeans stained with various art materials, comfortable shoes and sandals. i remember when i first went into the atelier, and i was so surprised to be in a room full of people who all looked and dressed like me. most of the men who teach there all have long hair, pulled back into ponytails; hoop earrings. it was so refreshing to be in a place where i *matched* that i nearly cried.

now that i’ve been going to classes at the atelier off and on for a year, it’s nice to see familiar faces, have people know me. of course, these are all other introverts, so they’re a little shy at first. for the first term, people didn’t really talk with me much, but by the second term, they’d shyly say hello. it’s amazing, the difference between someone who’s shy being quiet, and someone who’s snooty being quiet -- a completely different vibe for the same behavior. the instructors do make an effort to say hello to new students and talk with them, which i think is cool. there is a little bit of a split between the full-time students and the part-time students, which i suppose is natural. if you’re going to the atelier full-time, you’re just about living there seven days a week (no, i’m not kidding). part-time has much less of a time commitment, so you don’t bond as well with the other students. i do enjoy sitting down on the saddle and just working (although my back does not enjoy it afterward). i look up and realize three hours has gone by, and i’m sad that class is over.

i suppose my graphic design background has paid off, because i’ve got enough discipline to sit down and produce work, no matter what’s going on with me at the time. deadlines are a real motivator. this is something i noticed in grad school’s writing workshops. some people would talk about these elaborate rituals they had to go through before they could write: they needed the special pen, the special cup, the right tea, the right chair, the right time of day. well, all of that seemed very... precious to me. come on, people! when i got asked what my ritual was, i said, ‘i sit down. i write.’ they were suspicious that that’s all it took. it’s the same thing with art: i just sit down. i do it. that’s the thing about having a job where i’m expected to be highly creative, ALL DAY. i don’t have the luxury of self-indulgence. the deadline does not care if i feel like working, or not. the most i can slack creatively is to do things like paperwork and billing in the morning when i’m not really awake, and once i’m awake, it’s time to work.

speaking of work...