NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 18 Issue 3 - Fall 2018 - Page 48

Drawing is probably my favorite — it’s the backbone of my practice, even though I do many things. Drawing was something that I loved growing up and something I could do well. It gave me a sense of confidence early on and pointed to my path of becoming an artist. Where did you study? r Audrey Belle Langford, 2018 Graphite and conté pencil on paper 33 1/4” by 47” l Cora McHaney, 2018 Graphite and conté pencil on paper 33 1/4” by 47” My own trajectory isn’t typical. Personal circumstance prevented me from going to graduate school, so it has taken me much longer to get where I am professionally. But, as in any creative field, there are no guarantees that your education will translate into professional success. For every artist who exhibits, teaches, is represented by a gallery, has work collected, there are hundreds of would-be artists with MFA s who are working in non-creative fields. That said, there are also artists who are well recognized who don’t have MFA s, but they are in the minority. I went to ucla and California College of the Arts in the San Francisco Bay area — so I had the experience of both university and art school training. Art schools and art departments within universities are where you become initiated into the art world — where you learn about various aspects of the field, its history, its language, its protocols. It’s where you develop your ideas and a focused practice, get feedback from your peers, professors and instructors who are also working artists, and where you learn to defend your work in the face of sometimes harsh critique. You have access to resources and opportunities that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to, and you also have a built-in community and audience for your work, which can be a challenge to sustain after graduating.