How to See, Instead of How to Draw
By J. Holden Gregory -Bent Tree Staff
Clayton State University’s art program is beneficial to students of all majors; allowing each student to see the world from a new perspective that will influence their work positively in all subjects. The art program offers a minor in art with a concentration in studio art and art history. Students can finish the minor in just 18 credit hours by taking classes such as Drawing I, Art of the Modern World and 3-D Design.
Having taken art classes for many years and previously a Bachelor of Fine Arts student at the University of West Georgia, I had still never had such an invaluable experience as I did with Clayton State’s art program. In my first semester at Clayton State, I enrolled in Professor Alan Xie’s oil painting class. Admittedly, I was afraid that I would do poorly due to it being an unfamiliar and difficult medium. However, Alan Xie taught the class in such a way that oil painting has become almost second-nature to me.
In addition, a frequent deterrent I have noticed over time from various students and friends is that they are often afraid that they do not have the skill to take such classes. This is quite a misnomer, however.
Students in Clayton State’s studio art classes are graded based primarily on their progression and understanding of the concepts of the material rather than on individual skill. As long as students listen, engage in discussion and apply the concepts to their art in an efficient manner, they will often succeed and learn skills that they may have previously thought not to be possible.
“Most students, when they just start to take an art class, think that to learn art is to acquire a specific skill or technique but actually this is very misleading. Art is about a free spirit and it’s about the way you see the world differently. If a student doesn’t get this idea, then it’s going to be a big handicap for them to learn art in a more advanced way. That’s the reason, in my foundational classes such as drawing one, I always emphasize on this. How to see, instead of how to draw”, said Associate Professor of Art and Art Program Coordinator, Alan Xie