Wednesday, February 15, 2006

So, Who's Your Mentor?

I came to realize a particular truth about education. Often times, i've (and perhaps many of you) have been asked, "so, which university are you going to?" This draws the emphasis of education to the institution, and I find that even though it bears some economic value to have been involved with a top tier school, the actual enrichment of the individual is not always in line with the perceived quality of the school. Hence, I believe the better question is, "so, who's your mentor?" I went to an art school, and like others, I acquired the skills of composition, the understanding colour, and practiced the rules of design.

That made me a capable designer, but regardless of my proficiency, I felt that I was a mess. I had lots of ideas that I didn't not know how to cultivate and actualize, and it frustrated me. What ultimately brought me to this realization on education was the introduction of a mentor.

It was a life changing occurrence. What I thought was good enough became a pile of crap at the corner of my studio. And when I thought I had a great idea, she said, "so what?" I used to have the comfort and confidence of dancing around the syllabus, but when she came along, everything became undone. Part of me grew stressed, but then another part became more and more exhilarated of the changes that took place. I became more focused, I began to acquire a clarity in thought that allowed me to more accurately actualize my ideas. Most importantly, I felt I've matured as an artist.

She didn't have to do what she did. It wasn't in her contract, but she knew how important it was. She could have danced within the bounds of the black and white, but she decided to teach in the realm of colours. And as a result, she has shown what art is. Many of us aspire to contain an understanding of art, but I came to realise, there is no higher artform than to guide another in the the understanding of what art is in him.

To Melanie Menke

1 comment:

Scottgfx said...

That was really beautiful. I have a mentor in one discipline, but in design, I lack one. My goal is to find that mentor.

Currently I am a mentor to a few, but I too have that feeling that I'm missing something.