Artists live and learn at ASD

A+part+of+the+art+gallery+by+the+theater%2C+presenting+works+by+an+ASD+art+class.

A part of the art gallery by the theater, presenting works by an ASD art class.

I am not an artist. I love art. These two statements truthfully coexist. 

In my interpretation, art is not just a pretty thing to look at; it’s a look into the mind of someone else. If you ask Aristotle, it’s the most effective way to feel emotion on command –– a way to fill an emotional deficit. And indeed, it can often be a pretty thing to look at.

Everyone has some opinion about art, however minuscule. Often, they love it, or don’t see the point. Quite often, the artist is absent from this conversation. Maybe it’s deliberate. Maybe it should be. But I decided to have that conversation. 

A painting by E.G. Bravo (’24).

It seems, to the three artists I talked to, Aristotle’s idea of catharsis was not a significant factor. “It’s a simple thing to do,” said E.G. Bravo (‘24). “There’s no thinking involved –– you can just relax and just do it.”

Similarly, L. Bech (‘24) told me, “A lot goes on in [my brain] and it’s very loud, so when I draw, I can sit for hours on end.”

Perhaps art is a kind of reverse catharsis; a way of emptying out the contents of your mind. If so, it goes to show how complex the mind can be. Enough to prompt education in art. 

This is grounds for debate in itself. Can you teach a person how to make art? Should you? 

As Bech put it, ASD’s art classes have “definitely widened my abilities… like interpreting an object and drawing it with a full range of value, and transferring a photo onto a piece of paper.” She mentioned how art at ASD has given her opportunities. She said, “there’s barely anywhere else in the world where I can do fused glass art.” 

But on the other hand, artist Y. Cho (‘24) disagreed. “In middle school, they kind of told you what to do.” She recalls, “They literally taught us how to draw cats on a fence… We had to draw rainbow fences.” No shame in drawing rainbow fences, if that’s what you’re into. 

Bravo sees room for improvement in the art program, stating, “I’d like to learn more about painting. We didn’t touch on that much in art class.” Less traditionally, Cho is interested in animation.

A drawing by artist Y. Cho (’24).

Regardless of artistic education, art isn’t a grand pursuit for any of the three. 

Bech told me she planned to major in psychology in university, “but then I wanna take art as a minor, so I’m studying kind of both at the same time.” She also considered merging the two. “There’s also some category of art called art therapy, so I would like to kind of mix that in, somewhere.”

Cho said, with a shrug, “Maybe I wanna work as a character designer or maybe I’ll just make my own things on the internet.”

Unfortunately, it’s still true that art is not a very lucrative profession. Bravo said she’d like to study medicine. “I would pursue art more as a hobby,” said Bravo, “because in this day and age, it’s pretty hard to make it a career.” 

As a hobbyist, Bravo’s work is still incredibly impressive. At the time of the interview, she was working on: “a graphite drawing that’s based on Greek Sculpture.” 

“I guess [art is] a hobby,” Bech said, “but it’s also a passion… A hobby is just something you like to do, but a passion is something you’re… passionate about. Hence the name.” Currently, she is drawing a horse bit art class. “It’s a super old bit that we’ve kept through the generations. It’s super sentimental.” In that way, art contributes to her identity. 

As I see it now, art is just a way for humans to let out their humanity in beautiful ways, whether it be to throw out their consciousness on a page or build something important to them. In that way, art isn’t complicated. And while education is important, and in some ways helpful, art education is not what makes good art. Maybe in that way, anyone could be an artist.