Pursuing the Arts

The University of Arts London (AKA: UAL), came to my college recently and spoke to a group of Fine Art and Photography (me) students. p

-And I hate them! Why? Because they have completely destroyed the (almost) serene calm and (nearly) perfect balance I had created in my life!

And now they’ve left me to stress and sob over whatever remains left of it.

 

Allow me to explain…

Prior to now, I had not planned to go Uni; unless it was to study psychology. However, upon studying AS psychology I quickly came to learn that this subject just wasn’t for me. Although I love connecting with, analysing and understanding people and the way their mind and behaviour works, psychology requires too much memorisation and not enough of the expression, creativity and freedom I yearn for. To be frank, I already had a hunch psychology wasn’t for me, there are seldom subjects that I thoroughly ever enjoyed: Media which I studied at GCSE level, and Photography which I excelled at within my Fine Art GCSE and continue to display a passion for right now as I study it as a single subject at A-Level.

Since Psychology was no longer a contender, Uni ceased to be an option for me any long. I mean, I didn’t know what else I would study. I didn’t see the point in studying ‘Useless’ subjects like art and film. because getting a degree in them doesn’t entail securing a career involving them. More than that, they aren’t viewed as very respectable subjects. Especially Photography. Most people believe that if you point a camera and take a pretty picture you’re officially classified as a photographer – Which in this day and age is pretty standard – annoyingly.

So my plans for post-college were merely to get experience and simply get a job and work my ass off; probably via an apprenticeship. Simple enough.

But No. UAL had to come and ruin that for me. They had to come and make me question everything. Seeing their facilities and all these images of dedicated students struck a chord with me. It Inspired Me. I mean it was absurd that there was even a whole University – let alone the largest one in Europe – dedicated to ‘Useless’ subjects. It was insane. They were so serious and enthusiastic about it, about ‘Useless’ subjects. Did they even realise how ‘Useless’ what they were teaching was? Did I even realise how beautiful it was, to see people care so much about what I love? – Probably not, at least not consciously; not even when I signed up for their spring school.

Not even when I happened to stumble across one of their sites in London today while on my very own photography shoot. (I wonder now, if it were some sort of sign?)

To be honest, I think it only internalised when I found myself aimlessly exploring their website. Seeing the amazing photography work their students created… and I sat there thinking:

This is what I want to do with my life…

Photography – not the take a camera and capture some random aesthetics shit, that you and I, and the whole contemporary world, knows it as. No, I want to invest myself into a photography where I take powerful, meaningful, introspective images: ones that tell stories and depict lives that we would never otherwise understand or imagine; with beautiful and haunting abstract images. This is what I’ve always wanted to do.

Between you and me, I, like many others am a victim of Sexual abuse. And despite finally accepting and overcoming it (after many, many, many years), I had decided in my head that I was going to conquer it completely some day… using photography. In my head I knew that in the future, using a camera and a great deal of work, I was going to embark on an emotionally-challenging project about sexual abuse and past traumas. Somehow I was going to attempt to illustrate what kind of devastating effects it has and unravel the stories of many victims like me via images. And this would not only be my way of growing past it, but also my message to the world. However little the audience may be, someone would have seen my work and taken something, anything, from it. This is what I wanted.

And I decided this back when I did the photography segment of my art work… which was based around identity. At the time, it was too vast a subject to even bring up in the rather juvenile GCSE setting. So I kept it in mind.

And have ever since.

So I suppose, photography has been a deep ambition of mine for a long time now. And seeing the work of the UAL students resurfaced this spark in me. I crave the opportunities it offers me.

Yet my biggest problem remains:

The tuition fees for a subject that is viewed as ‘Useless

It’d be one thing if I simply studied a subject that no one cares about. It’s another thing entirely, to pay to study a subject that no one cares about. My family are so sceptical of pursuing the creative arts and fear that it will get me nowhere. Honestly, I fear the same too. But then to pay for a subject that may not assist me in life at all; it’s like buying a million dollar vintage vase and then placing it in storage for eternity. A complete waste.

However, recently I visited the William Morris Gallery near my college. To my surprised, what hit me more than the pretty things on display dedicated to this man, was William Morris himself. From the gallery I learned of man who was brought up in wealthy environment, expected to pursue a secure practise for his future. Instead, he defied all odds and chased the arts instead, becoming a successful artist, interior designer and so much more. The more I read about him, the more my heart sobbed and my appreciation for all that is beautiful in art transpired.

When I first debated about attending UAL, William Morris did come to mind. My heart told me to have the same courage he did and do as he did. But my mind warned me that he and I are not the same and I am not born of wealth like he was.

Thus the dilemma still remains and I feel a huge sadness burden my heart.

 

I’ve suddenly realised how poetic my writing has become, I don’t know what’s happening. I guess this is where I end this post because I honestly have no idea how to end it. I just felt I needed to digest and get all this off my chest.

So I’ll just leave you with something William Morris said that was rather quite beautiful:

204616

Dear 16 year old me…

Dear younger Aery,
The new school year is beginning and  school is also coming to an end too, and as it does you’re becoming 16.
It’s time you grew up, don’t you think?
There’s a few things you need to consider, a few things that need to change, a few things you have to believe in and a few things you know you can do.

This is your last year. All your exams are this year. Make it count. Study. Study. Study. And enjoy school damn it! No more complaining, I know you get stressed but understand that you are smart, talented and: You Can Handle It!

Mum’s getting old, tired and weak, we all know it. It’d be nice if she could take a break once in a while. Yes. You tidy the house often, but you could do more. You’ve always wanted to cook right? Well, what better time to start than now! It’ll give mum and dad a chance to rest and stop stressing about you, Naj and Al never eating.

Also… maybe it’d be good if you did things with them. Go out with your parents, do some gardening with dad, heck, maybe even teach them English! You don’t know long they’re going to be around, so love them, hug them and tell them how much you appreciate and love them. (Don’t cry, don’t cry.)

Take care of yourself. If you need to go to the doctors or dentist or see a counsellor, organize it! You can’t always wait for someone to do it for you, you can talk, and you have a mouth, use it!

Save up. I know you don’t get pocket-money, but save up everything you can. I mean it! No more unnecessary spending! Seriously, you need to save up for emergencies and also, show Mum & Dad you can handle yourself!

Get a job or do a course. It’ll help you grow up a bit and will be good start for forging the future.

Procrastination is a no. no. No! Been there, done that… one too many times. Don’t let it become a part of your personality! If you have something to do, get the hell on with it!

Think before you act and always tell people how you feel. You have this habit of always keeping things in and never expressing your feelings, then you get upset and don’t know what to do with yourself. It’s okay to tell people how you feel but be mature about it!

And lastly, take a chance. Let yourself bloom. I know; you’re shy, timid and scared. But you’ve got to go out and reach for the sun if you want to grow up to be a beautiful, independent and talented woman. You are amazing, there’s no shame in saying that, so have the confidence, smile and go for it!

 

I know it may seem like a lot to take on, but remember:

You’re in control, this is your life; You Can Handle it.

Good Luck!

Love Aery