Recognising Influences

It’s strange what how little things affect your life. Yesterday, my tutor to my shock suggested I considered illustration as a specialism, the one department I from the start, did not consider. In my opinion, I can’t draw that well. It’s one of those awkward jokes in social situations, “Yeah, just because I go to art school doesn’t mean I can draw” and I can see the agreement on people’s faces. At school it was a similar situation. I remember one geography teacher looking at me very suspiciously for doing blind drawings that don’t look like much more than a line taking a walk on a page.

School. I think my artistic education there was such a formative experience. It was there the idea of art school pushed music school and politics out of my head. It was there I was told I could actually make it, and a teacher tried to convince my dad I could. It was there I was warned that I would unlearn everything I learnt in those classes.

It was also there I was told by the head of department I would never make it to the Glasgow School of Art, that I might manage Aberdeen College (not Grays school, the shitty college) if I was lucky. It was there where my art “teacher” told me to accept a place at uni to study politics while my politics tutor made me apply for art school.

The affect of the head of dept, who was meant to be my tutor for 2 years, but refused to let me be in the class for the second, has been incredible. It’s a demon I’ve had on my back for years, that should have been exorcised a long, long time ago. On the other hand, I might have never made it here if it wasn’t for the fuel his spite gave me. Proving people wrong has always fueled me to go that extra length.

So here it goes: Dear Ellon Academy. You thought I would barely pass my highers. I got AAABC. I even got the highest mark for my dissertation in history despite being a “leftie”. Politics, which I got B in, I got an A when it came to adv. highers (ie 1st year uni standard). The band six C (so close to a fail) in art and design? I go to one of the best schools in the world for it now. Screw you, and screw you Mr Smith. Just because Edinburgh and Glasgow didn’t want you.

ANYWAY. Positive influences. There’s been 2 teachers I remember positively pre-artschool. One was a sub, who taught me to draw eyes and slagged me off for being a vegetarian. I think he was one of the only teachers that understood me there, despite only teaching me 3 times or so. The other was a lesson in primary school about aboriginal art in Australia. The one painting I remember was of 2 turkeys dancing, I think. It was the first time I’d been exposed to any sort of abstract art, or a different form of drawing. The influence is still very much present today. Good thing too. The only other thing I was considered any good at was forgery.

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