Art students are under valued. Generally.
Having studied art from GCSE onwards and done a Foundation degree and then an Undergrad at two different universities I like to think I'm well versed on the subject.
Art departments, art lecturers, art faculties.....they're all fabulous and some of the most creative and inspiring and motivational people an art student could hope to be in contact with. It's just, on the whole, the rest of world doesn't see it that way.
I studied Illustration and Children's Publishing at degree level and graduated nearly a year ago and in retrospect, I've decided that creative students, and the degrees they choose are often considered second class amongst peers, other university faculties and in society.
"Well it's only drawing isn't it?"
I'm sure we've all heard that one. Eye roll.
"So illustration is like the pictures in books? Oh I love them Roald Dahl ones."
No babes, you loved Quentin Blake's illustrations, not Roald Dahl's.
Admittedly a lot of the scorn and the put downs and the under valuation is not from a place of malice and is generally from a lack of understanding of what it is you really do. But that can be frustrating to explain over and over and the look of pity when people realise what career prospects you have ahead of you is just too much.
Creative subjects are deemed less difficult, less worthy, just because they aren't necessarily academic. I'm not for one second saying art students have to provide the level of academia on a par with medical students, with engineers, with historians...but have some perspective. Art is a talent. Sure it can be educated and helped and guided but when it boils down to it you either have something or you don't. You can either draw and then be aided to be better...or you can't draw.
Quite often (and I know I found this to be the case in my education), unless you got to a dedicated arts school, funding and resources are often pretty lacking. The money is in academia, in sports, in something deemed more worthy and often arts lecturers are fighting a loosing battle to get more funding so they can provide their students with the best possible chance at making it.
My tutors had bought second hand resources and restored them to working order out of their own pocket. We went to a design show in London, representing our university and we were only given partial funding. We had no money for study trips, no money for printing, no money for any equipment that might give us the opportunity to try something new, something cutting edge, something we hadn't thought of before.
I am firmly of the opinion that creative students should be able to apply for additional student finance. We might pay the same fees as everyone else, we might get the same funding as everyone else but we're expected to find the cash for paper, printing, materials, software.... everything we HAVE to have to go about our studies and to complete our degree. With no additional help.
Art materials and software COST. I did a tally when I was still studying and I worked out I owned around £3000 worth of art materials and utensils. And I hadn't finished studying. It's made plain to art students that for the software we need and the software we should be learning to use, Adobe and Apple are the one.
You buy a macbook and the Adobe suite so you can learn the skills necessary for you to get a job and to create the best design work you can and you're already down 2 grand.
Art students need all the extra help and advice and discounts they can get and that's why when London Graphic Centre sent me their press release I was all YASSSS fist pump the air.
London Graphic Centre are suppliers of art materials and utensils and are both online and on the street retailers. Their flagship store in Covent Garden is supposed to be one of a kind and today they held a student day event there full of all kinds of goodness.
There's workshops, events, talks, demonstrations, freebies, discounts - all manner of things geared for students and because I am 1. Not a student any more and 2. In Wales, they kindly sent me a goody bag with some more information about the event.
I love the kind of work London Graphic Centre are doing. Student events for creative students are a vital part of learning, of networking and of finding out what's out there. I have been to loads since I started my studies at 16 and this kind of event would've been right up my street.
Quite often there are goody bags at these types of events, big huge canvas things and when you get them home you normally find there's like a biro and a few highlighters and a butt load of paperwork and flyers. But ohhh no not this one nuh uh. London Graphic Centre were giving away these bags with every purchase over £15.00 (which I can guarantee with the products on offer, most students would have) and it was full of high quality items. None of this cheap branded highlighters, the freebies are names art students know, brands they trust and quite often, items they might not be able to afford to keep purchasing all that often. Top that off with one in eight bags including a surprise bonus prize AND every bag including a student discount code; this type of event is a students dream, and what we need more of.
London Graphic Centre value art students. They value what they need at a price they need it and I am thrilled to have been a part of promoting that.
Check out London Graphic Centre website here for news and information on their discounts and their next student events.
* My goody bag was gifted to me for free by London Graphic Centre but all opinions, thoughts on art students and all love is very much my own.