18 Signs You Graduated From an Art College

Art school may have been the best four years of your life as far. But never fear — after graduation, your art college experiences will still follow you. Whether you graduated from SAIC, Rhode Island School of Design, or any other art school, these things never change:

1. Your art from various classes becomes your friend’s and family’s holiday presents. While you wait for checks from commissioned work, your friend’s living room doesn’t look like a bad spot to hang your old stuff. Especially when everyone’s already eyeing certain works.

Art piece on living room wall

2. All of your art lies stacked at odd angles in a back room of your house. And when friends drop by, they crack jokes about your home-grown museum.

3. You have more money stacked in your art materials than in your apartment. Or your car bill. Let’s face it: paint is expensive, and so is wood and copper and canvases and…

Big art pieces in an apartment

4. You accumulate excessive amounts of odds and ends. Those pieces of junk might just puzzle together into your masterpiece — and never mind the organizational hazards in the meantime.

5. Your day job has absolutely nothing to do with your degree. Or maybe you’re back at college for a second degree. You sometimes have to take the long route first to get your dream job.

Superhero characters with odd jobs

6. You have several classical books on your shelf that you never read. Perhaps they’re great sources of intellectual stimulation and remembrances of a golden age of art and literature, but they look better to you at a distance than in your hands.

7. You went through a hipster phase. Maybe it was just the black, thick-rimmed glasses, or the bare feet, or the scarf around the neck, but your closet and sense of fashion has been scarred by the remains.

Young man with a bow tie

8. You instinctively know what is postmodernism. The problem is how to describe it in 25 words or less.

9. You can stay up three days straight to finish a commission. But you forget to eat. Or buy groceries. Or do real life things.

Meme of owl with cigarette saying "Too inspired to sleep too tired to create"

10. You see the artistic potential in everything, even in stuff you don’t like. Or in people you don’t like. Then you really feel that creative crisis all over again.

11. You can talk up the theory behind a conceptual piece on the spot. All you have to do is tilt your head and stall for one second. Bam. New historicism and post-structuralism.

Male pointing to art piece

12. A good bit of your clothing is stained by various art supplies, including charcoal and pottery stains and paints and clay. You struggle with keeping your clothes clean, as well as the rest of you.

13. You can’t go to a museum just to appreciate art. You have to critique and analyze it for its elements.

Students discussing art piece

14. You are either a closet barista or tea guru. This secret power derived itself in the early morning one semester, when you realized you needed more money to pay your school bills. Or that you needed more caffeine to survive.

15. You don’t even blink at shock art and Lady Gaga-esque things. You can recall Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 “Fountain” as solid support for the strange and the avant-garde (Jones, 2008). After all, what isn’t art?

Shock art

16. For your art to be “high art,” you realize you have to create something truly dysfunctional. Like an oversized clay eyeball that hangs off a picture frame. Forget functionality; it’s art for art’s sake.

17. You’re constantly dragging your friends to art museums they don’t want to go to. Good thing you can justify their painful smiles and obligatory willingness as performance art.

Two men sitting in an art museum

18. Once you graduated, you realized you had no access to the equipment you used to create your art. But you still keep your technologically-challenged designs filed away, just in case said equipment reappears in your life. You never know what the future holds!

Sources:

B. Acton, personal communication, May 3, 2014.

Jones, J. (2008, February 8). Reinventing the wheel. Retrieved from The Guardian