21 11 2008

I’m often asked if I studied art in school.  I always laugh and say, “Oh no — jewelry was never the plan!”  If I’d kept going in the direction I was headed, I’d be some sort of doctor right now — not the “stick out your tongue and say aaaah” type, but the forensic scientist type.  The closest I came to art in college was drawing exceptionally difficult molecular structures for organic chemistry.

If I’d had the chance to do it again, would I have gone to art school? 

Probably not.

For one, I would have a gigantic ulcer right now from the stress of doing what the teacher wanted, and not what I wanted.  I never liked being told what to read in English class, even though I’m an avid reader, so being told what to draw/sculpt/forge would not have set well with me.  I never did well in classes in which I had no interest — I’d do what I needed in order to pass and be done, but if I’m not inspired by the subject, it’s nearly impossible for me to do anything really awesome.  That would have made it really difficult for me in art school, because I have zero interest in painting bowls of apples or making a ceramic pot.

I do have an artistic side — I just never knew it for years upon years.  Looking back, I can see it.  For senior prom, I tore apart my prom dress and redesigned it.  I’ve always loved interior decorating, whether it was my house or helping a friend.  And I’ve tried painting, drawing, chalks, collage, and all kinds of other crafty, artistic things — just never showed the results to anyone because at the time, it was just something to do in a spare moment.

If you want to be an artist, whether it’s a watercolorist or lampworker — go for it.  If you think a class would benefit you, take it, but never let a lack of formal education get in your way of creating.  Creating comes from the heart, and no one can teach that.


Lori Anderson writes from her studio in Easton, MD.  Her work can be seen at, and her writing can be followed at



2 responses

24 11 2008

Thank you for this. I’ve recently wondered where I went wrong as far as not realizing in my early twenties that art school would have been an option…I needed a reminder that while education is important and can help with basic skill-set that there is another aspect to being an artist and that is the creative drive and the will to be one.

29 11 2008
Margey Lowery

I am not an artist but have admired artists and their ability to create as long as I can remember. Perhaps in another lifetime I was an artist, who knows. But I do know one thing, I have always been amazed by the natural talent and passion that comes from an artist’s fingertips and brain and I often wondered why there is art school.

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