Thursday, 18 June 2009

I'm a student again.

I am officially returning to York University to complete my Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in September.

In 1997, my fourth year of my undergrad, life had some upheaval. A bad break-up. My parents, split since I was 8 years old, decided to finally divorce and sell the house, leaving me paying rent. YorkU had one of its now-infamous strikes, which lasted about seven weeks and went to the end of the school year. I remember after classes were over, we were asked to "meet the professors" in the common area outside. 40 000 students milling about looking for hundreds of professors in a rabble.

One course teacher was on loan from another institution, and a number of us couldn't find her. A huge portion of our mark rested on the final studio assignment. We dropped the course, not knowing what else to do. I left, missing a 3rd year studio course.

I tried to go back the following fall and take a computer painting class, but the gruel of paying my bills, rent and student loans was killing me, and I dropped it. I spent months eating plain pasta with soy sauce and leftover low-fat muffins from my coffee shop job. I biked over an hour to get to that job, and was built like a rock. My family never had much money, and the idea of finishing my degree drifted away.

I'm proud of some of my choices. I've helped my wife get through her education and she is now a certified teacher with a specialty working with children with special needs, mainly in the autism spectrum. I have a good day-job at a company that treats people well, and I'm proud of my work there.

But the unfinished degree has always rankled. Like part of my life has been on hold. And I always enjoyed school, got good marks and felt like I applied much of what I learned. Studio courses at York require such a high time commitment you may only take 2 each school year. Hopefully, in one more calendar year, I will have my BFA and be annoying and put it after my name everywhere. "The Flying GlendonMellowBFA Trilobite Blog".

I enrolled about 30 minutes ago. I'm scheduled for a half course in Drawing and Narrative, and another in Painting 2-d & 3-d. Already a weight is cast off my shoulders.

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traumador said...

way too go!

though you should keep going in your studies so you can be even more annoying and put stuff in front of your name... you know like dr. flying trilobite :P

i wish they'd let t-rexs into uni... so i could make my tiny brain a lot smarter :(

m said...

Excellent, well done! I'm dying to go back too, and I've only been off study for less than a year!

I agree with Traum, don't stop at one degree, go right the way to doctorness, you can not only be the world's only doctor trilobite, but also the world's only doctor trilobite capable of flight!

Peter Bond said...

I went the science route. And I'm really jealous of your (soon to have) BFA! We all make choices and live by them, but a large part of me (let's call it the "IWISHIHADSTUDIEDMOREARTINSCHOOL")
wishes I had studied more art in school. Yeah.

Don't just stop at Dr., go for Captain.

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks for the support everyone.

Traumador, one thing at a time. If I can go forward, financially, I would really like to. But this first.

Mo, I think I share your enthusiasm for study. I really liked university. Umm, but flight? How about a cloned flying trilobite army with which I can rule the wor--er, benefit all of fossil & human-kind? I'd get an honourary doctorate for that I'm sure.

Peter, it's curious the diverging paths our interests took us on. I almost dropped the fine arts program in my first year to take a history of science degree. I had an elective about the history of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time -agriculture to quantum physics (the genome had not been cracked yet, heh). It was life-changing. Interest in science came back to the fore and never waned since.

I should write that professor a letter of thanks.

a li'l bit squishy said...

Congrats and happy studies!

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks li'l bit!

Heather Ward said...


Sean Craven said...

This is excellent news. Is there going to be much in the way of studio work or are you mostly focused on history and criticism?

Glendon Mellow said...

Thank you Heather!

Thanks Sean! Both half-courses are focused on studio. Each is with a professor new to York since I left, so that adds some excitement to it since I have no idea about their style. I suspect it will be almost entirely studio assignments, if the structure there hasn't changed much.

For the narrative class, maybe I'll try to pitch my scientist-portrait series? For the 2d/3d, maybe more paintings on stone, but not as flat as shale?

When I first read the 2d/3d painting course description, my first thought was (this being fine art) to fill a clear basin with linseed oil, and then drip modelling paste into it, recording the shapes. Then you've added 4d.

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