Art & Writing by Christina M. Turner


Art As A Major

My junior year of high school, I had no art classes.  I was in the thick of college prep, and decided it was time to cut the "nonsense" and focus on true academics, "real" subjects, serious ones worthy of study, and try to narrow down a major.  By the time senior year rolled around, I realized what I needed most, what I wanted to study exclusively, was art.  

And I felt behind.  Like falling through the Looking Glass, I suddenly viewed all my time taking non-art classes as a waste, and felt sure no art program would accept me.  I worked feverishly preparing my portfolio, and felt certain professors reviewing it would see that I had manufactured all these pieces in one semester, that I didn't have a "style" or a breadth or depth of work that showed years of focus on design and training my eye and my hand.

But no one accused me of being an impostor.  At the very least, professors nodded at my work and outlined their programs, but some of them actually gave me wonderful, gentle critiques, advice to think about over the summer, and compliments on my preparedness.  What I had learned in those other classes was to take notes and be organized, to latch onto an idea and follow it through.  And what I felt was an area I was lacking in was an area that looked from the outside more like something I truly valued, something I had clearly been more focused on recently than many future classmates who had not thought too hard about what they were going to do next, let alone ultimately.

Here I am my fifth year of art school, still somehow uncertain.

Here I am my fifth year of art school, still somehow uncertain.

No one expected me to already know what I would learn over the next five years of art school.  That was an unreasonable burden to put on myself, and a misunderstanding of the crucial truth that no one knows everything, and those who think they do are in the worst shape, because they choke out their capacity for growth.

My unique experiences are my strengths, my unusual skills are the assets I bring to the table, and that feeling of inadequacy can serve as fuel to propel me forward into something new or something more.

Christina Turner