Before I was in high school I didn’t even realize art was a career. I don’t even know if I knew anything about the masters. I’m sure I heard of them, I watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, after all, but I don’t know if I realized that was their actual job.
I hit high school thinking I would take all the hard classes and let my nerd flag fly. Luckily, we had to take a quarter of art and my teacher wanted me to sign up for his full class the next year.
An adult telling me I was good at something and wanting me to take their class???? Call me Sonic the Hedgehog because I zoomed my way into that art class.
I decided I wanted to be an artist. I even had the two schools picked out, the American Academy of Art or THE Art Institute of Chicago.
I started taking some outside classes and worked really hard on a portfolio. I went to college day and waited in line for at least an hour and a half with my Grandma and my high school boyfriend to hear what the Gods at THE Art Institute had to say.
They literally just told me I needed better paper and I should get it from Dick Blick. I did get it from Dick Blick. I thought their silence on my work just meant it was so bad they couldn’t find anything nice to say about it. Frankly, that still could have been the case. I haven’t seen any of the drawings since then. Crushed, I thought, that’s it. There’s no way I can be an artist now.
I left thinking I would just do something else and I tried a few things out. Little did I know rejection is just the first step to awesome.
Fast forward to when I was 23. I did a drawing and showed my co-worker. She was so excited she wanted to sell prints on the Magnificent Mile. That boosted my confidence and we happened to talk with temps from an ad agency every day. I talked it over with one and he explained the differences between THE Art Institute and the Academy and I made my decision pretty much right there. I went and looked at the Institute just to make sure, but I’d already known, if I was going to art school, it was the Academy.
After a quick interview, I was accepted. Although, I didn’t know it until after orientation when they called to ask why I wasn’t there. I’d moved and my acceptance letter was never forwarded. Thanks, Chicago Postal System.
The rest is history. Or at least another blog post. If it wasn’t for my co-worker’s support and excitement and a chance job which put me in contact with artists, I may never have gone to art school.