Passed The Class On A Wing And A Sphere

| WI, USA | Learning | February 11, 2016

(For our painting class, we’ve been tasked with choosing a historical piece of art and a thematic word from which to draw inspiration for our final project. I chose ‘The Lament For Icarus’ by Herbert Draper and the word ‘instability.’ My proposal included a winged person, because I wanted to draw from the story of Icarus and the massive scale of the wings in relation to people in ‘The Lament For Icarus.’ The day we give proposals, he happens to have his ten-year-old niece visiting the studio for the day.)

Professor: *disapprovingly, looking at the sketch I did for my proposal* “This, this is very… fantasy-novel cliché. You know what I mean? It looks like the cover of a fantasy novel.”

Me: “Um… okay. You mean, like, the composition or colors?”

Professor: “No, no. The winged person. That’s cliché.”

Me: “Well, I wanted to evoke a similar feel as The Lament For Icarus, and wanted to use the physical wings to express the mental state of the subject.” *all of which I had explained in the written portion of the proposal*

Professor: “The wings are fine. It’s the person that’s cliché. You could get rid of the person and replace it with… a black sphere.”

Me: “O… kay.”

(The next two proposals? Two boys who both independently decided that for the theme ‘nostalgia,’ they wanted to paint baseballs. Neither of them had an artistic reference/inspiration, sketch, a written portion, or a composition. The professor thought their proposals were great. The next day, he tells me:)

Professor: “My niece really loved your proposal. She wouldn’t stop talking about it. She thought the winged person was really cool.”

(He still made me replace the person with a black sphere. He absolutely loved the final project and went on and on about how symbolic and deep the sphere was. He still gave me an A-. I would’ve rather impressed the niece.)

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