The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Creativity and student life: through the eyes of an artist

Angela Latchkey details the struggles she had as a creative within the student atmosphere and how it has helped her art today

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As a student of surrealist art, I thought I would be working with other ‘outsider artists’: forward thinkers, out-of-the-box minds. I thought we would be developing our abstract thoughts into a medium to show the world. I thought it would be a union of creative minds. I walked into art school excited to be surrounded by peers that thought differently. I was enthused to finally meet my ‘tribe’ of fantastical thinkers and pursuers of philosophy and the arts.. I was thrilled to meet these fellow earth changers, these wild minds that would never fit the social norms.

I met a different reality. I found the study of art to be a lot less romantic and a lot more about deliberate effort in understanding the human form, perspective, lighting, and so much more.

My days and nights were filled with drawing and painting studies and lessons. I sharpened my art tools, measured my lines, compared placement, and drew over and over again. My head swarmed with images of the figure drawings I was completing multiple times a day. I was seeing perspective everywhere I looked; light and shadows and value scales were my dreams at night.  This left me no spare time to create the visions in my mind. My mind spun with the artworks I desperately wanted to get on canvas and out of my own head. I spent four years of school working constantly to keep up with the demands. Personal projects meant I would fall behind in my studies. So, every art idea I wanted to get out into the world was stored inside me.  I was patiently waiting until I had the skills needed to create my ideas on canvas.

It’s been years since I was in school and I now have portfolio of surreal art but I still have countless more ideas that need to get on the canvas. I see it as a never-ending process of growing, learning, thinking, and creating and, as an artist, I find beauty in searching for a balance in this cycle.

My advice for blossoming artists or creatives who find the student atmosphere creatively stifling is to remember to dedicate a set amount of time to your craft every week. Whether it is painting, music, drawing. In the pursuit of higher education, we often forget to nurture our creative side. Maintaining a balance between those two sides is important not only academically but also for your own mental well-being.