Twelve Things I Never Want To Hear In My Classroom

 I’ve been teaching  for the last twenty five years, covering every college level art class except ceramics and photography. One thing that continues to amaze me is the excuses students come up with; as much as art students would like to think they are bohemian and individualistic, the same rationalizations for (basically) ego and sloth pop up year after to year. Now when I teach studio classes I publish the following list  – along with my standard response) so we won’t have to waste any time.


Twelve Things I Never Want To Hear In My Classroom

  1. “I can’t afford good art supplies”. Good art supplies won’t make a bad artist good – but bad art supplies will screw up a good artist every time.
  2. “I’m not done with the assignment” You have to meet your deadline. Period. Art directors value that quality more than anything else you can offer them. One of the best illustrators I know sells carpet in Georgia because he can’t keep a deadline.
  3. “This is the best I could do at 4:00 in the morning”  Don’t complain about not enough time for a good job when you’ve just bragged about  staying up all night beating Grand Theft Auto. Put the time in.
  4. “I didn’t like the assignment so I did something else.” Stay within the parameters of the assignment. If you don’t follow instructions in the real world your clients don’t have to pay you….and will never call you again.
  5. “My building is out of perspective but isn’t the drawing I did of Lindsay Lohan sunning topless on the roof great?”  Gimmicks won’t save a bad drawing.  Stay on task.
  6.  “I’m   just getting a bad grade because I am black/white/mutant/gay/straight/male/female).” Don’t twist comments made during the critique into a personal attack. It’s all about the art.
  7. “I tried a technique I found on YouTube –  but it didn’t work and now you have to fix it for me” I encourage you to learn from any and every person or source you can, but I give no guarantee for something you learned outside of my class. You don’t go to Macintosh to get your PC fixed.
  8. “I meant to do it that way” Please resist the temptation to shield your ego by trying to pass off bad work as artistic license. Nobody really believes you and it prevents you from progressing.
  9. ‘I don’t need this class” It is possible that you already know the material we’ll cover in this class… but it isn’t likely. Michelangelo lived and worked to the age of 89, and at that age he would often remark “I have so much yet to learn”.  If you’re ahead of the other students help them out.
  10. “Did you mean it when you said we had to present our work with a good mat and a flap?” If I don’t mean it I won’t say it.  You have to present your work professionally for the same reason you don’t wear worn-Chucks with a suit to an interview. You’ll be working with anal-retentive “suits” in the business world and to them presentation is everything.
  11. “But that’s what my reference photo looks like” Don’t be a slave to your scrap. We’re artists, not cameras. If your reference material doesn’t have all the information you need, find additional reference material and use it to fill in missing detail.
  12.  Any comment that includes the phrase “…when I was in high school:”

2 thoughts on “Twelve Things I Never Want To Hear In My Classroom

  1. Reblogged this on David R. Deitrick, Designer and commented:

    As best as I can tell I went for a second round with the ‘rona last spring and I am still as weak as a kitten. I am slowly getting back up to speed but I am doing a lot more “beginning” than “finishing” so new work has been pretty sparse. I appreciate all of you that have continued to read and support this blog and I want you to know that new work is on the way.

    Until then I will share some of my older/lesser known work.

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