|Monday with a Side of Cat: We have a lot of wee wildlife activity that happens on our deck. There's the usual squirrels, chipmunks and birds...but lately we've had plenty of visits from the wild turkey in our neighborhood as well as some unwelcome opossums and skunks. It's enough to keep our indoor cat entertained for dayz. dress: vintage, thrifted; belt and boots: Anthropologie; tights: Target; necklaces: DIY made by me, here.|
Hiya, kids! I hope you all had just the best weekend ever. I spent the grand majority of mine hiking with the hubs, watching entirely too many episodes of any and every survivalist show we can manage to find and felting. Oh, yes, looooots of needle felting. I can't wait to share with ya'll the finished mess-terpiece later this week!
Earlier this week, I caught an interesting conversation on the Art Teachers page on Facebook. It was a long-winded convo where, sadly, things got lost in translation and it got a pinch ugly. Essentially, what it boiled down to was this: a comment was made that drew a line in the sand between "Career Artists" (not my words) and "Art Teachers". Wait, there's a difference?! It was like you coulda heard all the art teachers suck air in through their tightly clinched teeth.
Maybe Ima speaking for myself when I say this but...I discovered art (and my love for it) first, then art education (and my love for it.) Since finding my love for creating way back in elementary school, I considered myself an artist. I never dreamed of becoming an art teacher until college when my parents (who thankfully footed the bill) suggested an art ed degree. At the time, I was attending Indiana University and currently enrolled in the painting program there. And, boy, talk about a line drawn in the sand! The moment my painting professors found out I was on the path to becoming a teacher, it was like I was no longer a serious artist. The mentality and snobbery strongly reminded me of that Career Artists vs. Art Teachers convo.
Now, in defense of the term "Career Artist", it does mean one that makes a career of creating and selling their own art. And that is not something I do. So, I understand the difference, I get it. However, what I do instead of selling my own art is enjoy creating art for myself and teaching others to do the same. I guess you could call me a Crazy Career Art Teacher. And I'm cool with that.
Do you know of any famous artists that were also great educators? Aside from finding out that Gene Simmons used to be a teacher (wait, whut?!), I discovered that portrait painter Robert Henri was also a Career Art Teacher.
Robert Henri, 1907 Wikipedia says that Robert Henri (1865-1929) was an "artist and a teacher," forming the famous Ashcan group (one of my college faves). Robert Henri was a popular and influential teacher at the Art Students League of New York. It's said that he gave his students, not a style (although you can tell some were strongly influenced by his style), but an attitude, an approach to art.
|Mary Agnes, 1924 It seems that Henri was always a teacher, a leader, even in his group of artist friends. He urged his friends and students to create a new, more realistic art that was more about their life and surroundings and less about creating Impressionist-influenced works. The paintings by Henri, John Sloan, George Luks, and others that were inspired by this idea became the Ashcan School of American art.|
|If My Keys Were Always this Easy to Find, Tuesday: This here is the first ever dress I made...with the help of a good art teacher buddy of mine. dress and belt: me!; tights: Target; shoes: Dolls by Nina|
Tam Gan, 1914 In keeping with that notion that artists should be influenced by their surroundings, Henri said: "Art cannot be separated from life. It is the expression of the greatest need of which life is capable, and we value art not because of the skilled product, but because of its revelation of life's experience." I love that. Don't you?
Oh! I interrupt all this Robert Henri-ness say, look who I got to meet up with on Wednesday...none other than Erica, aka Art Project Girl! I met Erica through the wide world of art teacher blogging and was so thrilled to visit with her (and her super sweet sis-in-law) while she was in town. It was so fun meeting up with her -- even though we'd never met, it was like we'd known each other forever. So glad to see/meet you, Erica!
|Sparkly Thursday: Oh, gotta love a four day week...I thought the occasion called for wearing excessive amounts of sparkles. As should everyday, really. top and tights: Target; sweater: ebay; vintage painted skirt: Buffalo Exchange|
|The Green Sacque, 1927 One of the things that really strikes me about Henri is that he wasn't just a teacher to his students but to other artists. I felt weird reading that conversation on Facebook because of that line in the sand. Why is there a divide between Career Artists and Art Teacher? Shouldn't we be learning from and influencing each other? I could learn so much from a working artist that could be shared with my students...and vice versa. I did find that there are actually a couple of online communities that work toward just that. One is called Artists Who Teach and another is the Association of Teaching Artists.|
|Good, er, Happy Friday!: On Thursday, one of my students said, "Tomorrow is called 'Happy Friday'...right?" After that was straightened out, we all agreed that a day off is pretty stinkin' happy. dress: Anthropologie found at Buffalo Exchange; scarf: Orly Kiely; belt: gift; dotted boots: DIY, go here.|
What are your thoughts on this, ya'll? As an art teacher, do you also consider yourself an artist? Or, because you don't sell your work as a main source of income, does that make you less of one? Do you create artwork with the intent to sell or show? Or simply for your own pleasure?
Could I possibly ask you any more questions?!
Oh! Yes, I've actually got one more! Have you read this book by Henri? I've been meaning to since those aforementioned college when I found out the dude was an artist/teacher. Looks like a summer read to me.
Be back with ya soonish!