Whenever I tell someone I'm an art major, I usually get one of two reactions. They either exclaim, "Wow that's so cool," followed with a series of questions about my artwork and what my classes are like. Or they look at me with an expression that says, "What are you doing with your life?" Either way, becoming a starving artist is only a small part of our worries at the moment for Mason Gross Students like myself.
1. Juggling art supplies between your dorm and class
Crowded buses are already a pain, but it's 10 times worse when you're carrying a huge portfolio case, stretcher bars to build your canvas, and looking like Bob the Builder carrying your toolbox of supplies. Rush hour is bad enough. When it's raining or bad weather, forget about it.
2. The EE is the worst
10 minutes to get to class. According to the app, the EE bus will be here in two minutes. Two minutes later, it's not here and now the app says three minutes. Lovely. Even worse is when the bus disappears from the schedule completely. How does one make an entire EE bus disappear?
3. The broken elevator
You hop off the bus on George Street, still juggling your supplies, sprint past the construction by the State Theater, and almost get run over by a forklift. You make it into the Civic Square Building (where all the art classes are), but sigh as you see the sign that the elevator is broken... AGAIN. You look at the time and class is starting. You should be hanging up your work on the wall, but instead, you're taking two steps at a time, panting as you fly up the four flights of stairs to get to the studio.
4. Being late for critique
You walk into class and everyone is already congregated around the pin-up wall where we display our homework for critique. Rushing to find push pins, you apologize for interrupting and put up your work. Even worse, they've already started the critique, so you silently join, leaving your 3-hour homework drawing unseen and without feedback in your drawing pad. Maybe next week.
5. Painstakingly long critiques
Now it's time for the torturous critique where you're forced to talk about each of the 15 works. You hope it'll go by quickly but everyone's being extra silent today, making the process go by so much slower. Two and a half hours later you've gotten through all the drawings and its time to start the next project.
6. The endless cycle of creating and critiquing
You pull out your supplies, and your professor begins to explain the next project. As you think how glad you are that critique is finally over, you then remember that as you start this in-class drawing, you're going to have a homework drawing and another critique two days later, and so the cycle continues.
7. Being forced to be creative 24/7
Some days the ideas just aren't coming to you, no matter how hard you try. And then the more you try, the worse it is because the ideas usually come naturally. Some days you just really don't want to draw. Then you walk into class and see that same still life set up in the middle of the room with the same old combination of plants, apples, and vases. Fun.
8. Running out of supplies
You're almost through a painting and you realize that your Titanium White tube is almost empty. Everyone knows you can't paint without your Titanium White. If only there was an art supply store nearby campus, but you'd have to Uber to one and with the amount of money you've spent on supplies already that's out of the question. You rush to order more online, but you know you're going to run out and need it before it comes. Here you are walking over to your friend, asking to borrow his paint. Don't be that guy.
9. The dreaded supply list
That brings me to another point: one of the biggest struggles of them all. The beginning of semester supply list which is an ultimate money pit for art students. You walk into Blick (the art supply store) having printed out the four-page list of everything you'll need to get, wondering how you're going to transport it all to campus. You search all the shelves up and down, selecting everything you need, and fill two carts. You push both carts up to the register and wince as the cashier scans each item, seeing the total cost skyrocket way above the cost of a normal college student's textbooks. But it's all worth it for the love of art.