Tuesday, September 16, 2008

San Francisco Art Institute, Take 2

None of this was built when I was here. The whole back yard was a overgrown, charming garden of huge trees, wild grasses, interspersed with student built structures. I heard that some students camped out during the year, I don't doubt it.
Behind and below this part of the new, modern concrete structure was the old sculpture shed; nothing fancy. I remember a ramshackle, open ended room with two bins, one for plaster of Paris and the other, a tangle of wire to be used for armatures. One student worked on a continually changing, evolving piece the whole time I was there. I wonder if he went into the video game business because his wild animal forms would be a perfect match for mutant alien life forms.
I remember the old cafeteria which is probably hidden by the new concrete building. We would walk through a couple of rickety French doors onto the back yard. I was young and lost, working nights and getting no help on what to do with my life, how to make a living or how to continue being an artist. It was even more difficult in those pre-feminist days. But confusion and concern about the future are not limited to the 20 year old that I was in 1965. When I was leaving, a young man, having heard me tell my friend that it had been 40 years since I was here, asked me how I survived. I gave him a very abbreviated version of my life and how I paid the rent. He did not seem very optimistic about his future and was not too joyous about his experience at SFAI. The world is hard on artists and is probably going to get more so.

3 comments:

Chris Rusak said...

Thank you so much. I needed to hear someone say "I was young and lost...getting no help on what to do with my life, how to make a living or how to continue being an artist," because that is how life has been feeling for awhile now.

It's nice to see that someone else felt that 40 years ago, but turned out right. It sheds some light onto the darkness.

namastenancy said...

I'm glad that my somber post helped. I do feel a lot of sadness about the years inbetween but I am still painting. That, in itself, is a minor triumph.

Zoomie said...

The world is, indeed, hard on artists. I'm sorry SFAI was so hard on you. I was the career counselor there for five wonderful years and I have never loved a place or a bunch of people as much as that place and those people. Wish I could have been there for you but I was on my own youthful quest back then.