06 June, 2009

On Tutors, Bullshit, Mixed Messages, and Failure

Remember how the Dean told me I had to pass all my projects in order to even have a chance of moving on to 2nd year? Let me give you a few highlights from my project hand-in and final crit yesterday:

"You don't have any understanding of how to design, or create a sketchbook."

"You didn't do enough work, that much is clear."

Tutors: "If you were going to design a dress, I want to see all your research into dresses."
Me: "But that has nothing to do with my theme. And every time I've put that sort of research into a sketchbook, I have been told to take it out because it doesn't apply to my actual inspiration."
Tutors: "You misunderstood. If you're going to design something with pockets, I want to see that you have researched hundreds of pocket shapes. I mean look at this page. You looked into some pockets and sketched them. But your sketches aren't to the exact proportions that the photos are. Why didn't you take a moment and draw exactly what you saw?"

Tutors: "Your designs are too simple and boring."
Me: "I am sorry to argue with you, but the last time we met you told me that my design ideas were too experimental and that I needed to think about whether or not it could be sold in a shop. So I went VERY simple and focused on fabric design."
Tutors: "Yes, but now it doesn't make sense because your designs are too simple and mean nothing."
Me: "You understand why I am confused then, because my understanding was that you wanted me to stay very clean and simple even though I was working from a Dada collage artist. When I went experimental like I did here and here and here you told me no one would actually wear that."
Tutors: "Those three pages are just useless exercises in illustration, not actual designing."
Me: "I didn't think so. I was completely serious about making that into clothing until you told me not to."
Tutors: "Well, you obviously don't understand any of this then."

Tutors:" You don't have enough research or design development"
Me:" I'm confused. You told me that I had enough research and enough fabric samples to design last time we met. And the project requirements were 20 rough designs, and I did 75."
Tutors: "I told you that because you were too far behind to continue doing research. And your designs are, well.... you clearly have no understanding of how to develop an idea into designs."

Tutors: "So you did 75 design roughs. But did you really think about what each of these garments would be? I mean, look at this sketch here. Is it a tshirt? a dress? How do you get into it? What is it?"
Me: "Perhaps I misunderstood- I thought that the point of design development is to rough out ideas until you come upon something you like enough to develop further and finalize. At the time I was sketching that shirt, I was just thinking through an idea that I didn't end up using."
Tutors: "Yes, these are rough designs. But you're not answering the question your research poses by simply sketching out roughs. You need to think every detail through every time you design something. These sketches mean nothing."
Me: "So in future, when I design rough designs, I should leave them out of the sketchbook until they are finalized enough to be actual garments"
Tutors: "No, that's the point of a sketchbook, to show how to develop your ideas."
Me: ".....um??"

They proceeded to tell me in every which way that my work was awful and worthless and that I know nothing about art or design.


And so it ends. All I can do is phone it in for the next few weeks while I wait for the letter from the school that says I am no longer wanted as a student at CSM.

(Oh, here. I tried something new with my illustrations, since I was inspired by Dada collage artist Hannah Hoch. I should have been more rough, less lines, more color and media. But it was 4am and I was too tired to think and be creative...)


K. said...

What a terrible fucking 'school'. They aren't worth your efforts, and are running you around in circles. Time for something better.

Cybrid said...

Err, seriously the last paragraph aobut your sketchbook is a bunch of pure madness, so they are saying that when you do rough design you should finnish the design up to every possible detail? but at the same time they are telling you that that's not the point of a sketch-book? hmmm, I'm not into art or fashion design but logic tells me that's impossible to do... Anyway, can't they just give you a sample of what they want?, at least you'd have something to compare your work with...

Anonymous said...

This "tutor" sounds like a passive-aggressive piece of shit, who has no idea how to mentor, teach, support or communicate.

I can't believe you actually got this far in this school without going crazy. You don't deserve this kind of treatment. I'd like to meet this "tutor" in a dark alley and pummel him with Marcel Duchamp's toilet and then, as he lay on the ground tell him that I didn't actually beat his head in, its a figment of his imagination, since the toilet is actually a piece of art and not a weapon, and cannot be used to hurt him (contrary to what his gaping head wound would suggest). "Ceci n'est pas une headwound"

Anonymous said...

Speaking of passion and passive-aggressiveness....

So there was this artist who once waited until everybody had put their pots into the kiln and then snuck into the studio and opened the kiln before the firing and threw glaze all over the pieces, causing them to stick together. Eventually the kiln was fired up and this conglomeration turned into one huge ...well...who knows. The next time the class met, the teacher asked this art student where HIS piece was, and he opened the kiln and said, "THAT's my piece!"

Maybe you can design a dress that is silk-screened all over with an open letter to prospective CSM students giving them the top 10 tips for surviving CSM, e.g.
Welcome to the Tastefactory: Tips for Survival
1. Give up your pretensions of being taught anything by the "staff."
2. Don't be too wedded to experiencing support. Or communication. Or human logic.
3. Make crap. They might love it.
4. Don't make crap, they'll hate it.
5. Work hard.
6. Don't work too hard; it won't get noticed.
7. You can't think too much here.
8. Don't think too much here.
9. See number 2.
10. See number 8.

The Redhead said...

Anonymous- ha! I'll design a new handbook for the school to send to prospective students.