Challenges when returning to formal art and design education

Challenges when returning to formal art and design education

Many of our students have been outside education for a long time. I know how it feels because I was in a similar situation myself for a long time. Thinking about getting enrolled in a course can feel stressful, challenging, and something for which one might not be completely this really for me? 

It feels very different to engage in your own art as compared to following a course. However, I can tell you that practising art on your own only leads to very limited artistic growth. I remember the days when I was freelancing as a photographer but had not pursued any formal photography education. I was always repeating the same lighting techniques, using the very same props, and not thinking really outside the box. As you can imagine, this is also detrimental if you aim to get people interested in your art practice as your art becomes a repetition and people just get bored. 

Enrolling on an art and design course is an excellent opportunity to experiment, challenge one's creativity, and try techniques or processes that one may have never tried before. However, there are some barriers that sometimes prevent students from making progress. 

One of the challenges for some art and design students is the lack of openness to experimentation. Many of the students want to stick to a particular practice or medium in which they feel comfortable. This is definitely a good starting point but it is important to be brave and to experiment as much as possible. Think for example about Picasso. He passed through different stages in his creative work. Some stages were definitely more successful than others but what we can assure is that he developed as an artist through all the experimentation. 

Another barrier present in some art and design students is the constant search for perfectionism. It is important to work hard and try to present the best possible work, but sometimes this can backfire and lead to a lack of progress. In this sense, students can feel the work is not good enough to be shown. Art is not done to surprise others but to learn from the experience and the process. As an art practitioner, it is important to critically evaluate one's own work and identify what worked and what could be improved. Tutors play a big role in this process as well. At Access, we pride ourselves on being very supportive and encouraging as we want our students to learn and grow artistically, so we encourage this critical evaluation and not fear the possibility that not everything will be perfect...because, in fact, this is the absolute normal. 

This year is almost coming to an end and I know that many people will start thinking about their New Year's resolutions soon. For some, these resolutions might be going back to education. If this is your case, and you are passionate about art and design, do not miss the opportunity to go back to education. This will be the best decision ever, even if it feels scary or daunting. At Access, we can support you all the way through to ensure that it feels less challenging. 

If you are interested in any of our courses do not hesitate to get in touch. We are looking forward to welcoming you and seeing how you develop your art practice! :)

Alberto Gonzalez

Photography tutor-Access online courses



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