When the university fails you
Story and artwork from Karya
Here, in short, is why I think you should vote for me for anyone who doesn’t want to read my life story:
I have been chasing and practising art skills for as long as I could remember. By just looking at my painting you can tell that there are gaps in my skills. The shoulder positions are wrong, the figure is stiff. I completely avoid any backgrounds. My colour theory and anatomy are at best lacking in many ways. My university has failed me in teaching these skills. They are more concerned with teaching me how to “be free and express one’s soul” but I think freedom in expression is often cut short by the leashes of my skills. I practice every weekday for over 6 hours. I have these grand pieces in my head that I want to execute. But I am constantly failed by the gaps in my skills. I am passionate, determined and I will seek the resources to make this journey to my mastery. This competition course could be the difference between this journey taking 20 years or 5 years. If you were to give me this chance, you can rest assured that I will put in the work and make the most out of everything this education has to offer.
And here is the long version:
It’s Karya here. I was born and raised in Turkey where art education was looked down upon as something you do if you are incompetent. But for me, art was a sophisticated form of creation and communication. Something my words never managed to achieve was possible in art. I found a new way to look at the world I thought I knew through it. A new way to show it.
I was a top 3% student and hoped to get an art education regardless. But after visiting the “best” art universities my country had to offer, I felt that I wasn’t going to find much there. So I turned my gaze to the rest of the world. Economical issues of currency difference and art tuitions were quite the limitations. My options were numbered. I was lucky enough to have a traditional watercolour master who has accepted me as her pupil. Together we started on a portfolio. Looking back, she taught me more in a short time than the university I am attending did in the last years.
Of all my options Germany was the most accessible with Visa works, connections, language and tuition costs. But saving money, learning a language and creating a portfolio while practising at the same time meant that I would have no time for school. I didn’t learn anything I cared for there anyway. Simply an extremely time-intensive formality was all ever school was to me. So I started changing my sleep schedule completely to sleep through classes and work on art at night. I made a radical choice and skipped the university exam, cutting out all my fallback options. It wasn’t wise but I didn’t see enough time in a day to keep up with anything but the preparations for migration and education. For 4 years, I slept on my desk, spent evenings and weekends with the master and nights practising further for language and art skills.
Finally, I stepped into my first class in Germany. And I must say, disappointment does not begin to describe what I felt. A school without life drawing tutelage, a sculpture department that doesn’t even teach armatures, a painting department without colour theory. Whenever I asked for critique and feedback, all I got was “It looks classical” or “What was your concept?”. Constantly told that I should express myself when all I ever felt was that I didn’t yet have the skills to create the works I imagined. I was told to fly without wings. I started neglecting that schools heavy postmodernist approach to try and learn at home. I missed my watercolour master, the education she could provide in her skills even though my medium was oil by then. I started looking for education alternatives but the education facilities that teach what I wanted to learn were always private and way beyond anything I could ever afford. Where I live, traditional arts aren’t appreciated. So I failed to find any skilled masters looking for pupils or atelier assistants.
That’s about when I started streaming my learning process from my bedroom and attempted to reach online art communities. There was more feedback online and some skilled people but it lacked structure. During these streams, someone told me of the Old Masters Academy and Drawing Academy. I had been isolated in a strictly contemporary education for a long while. After watching the videos, I felt heard for the first time in a long while.
A structured affordable education with feedback and a focus on skills.
I have these images in my head that my skills don’t match up to. Stories stuck in my head. I want to learn so I can create without these bounds. I hope one day to give back, make quality art education accessible and affordable for those to come. But before any of that, I must learn. I believe it is possible here.