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  /  Art   /  What I Learned In Art School And How It Changed My Life

What I Learned In Art School And How It Changed My Life

At Georgia State – Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design, we were required to take art foundation courses that included Drawing, Color Theory, 3D, Painting, History and such. Although I was already fond of Art History, the drawing and painting part threw me off.

I initially had no desire to draw or paint. But that all changed through my four years of college.

I guess you can say it was really fear that steered me away from traditional art at first. Digital medium was my first art language, so traditional art always seemed “backwards” or “ancient” or “too hard/too much work” in my opinion. But If I wanted to get an A in the class (because I was real serious about them grades lol), I had to figure it out. There was no way around it.

I will never forget my first Drawing professor, Stephanie Koly, who challenged the hell out of my soul, and I didn’t see it coming. I was all sensitive and would cry sometimes because drawing was “too hard.” But nonetheless, I made it through. And that was pretty much the script through my collegiate career – I had to face my challenges as I was forced out of my comfort zone. Even still, I tried to incorporate digital media into my projects somehow, someway. (I was lucky if I did.)

Although challenging at first, exploring different art mediums activated a new vision within me.

I grew a new love for traditional art as it became my greatest tool of self-discovery.

Through practicing art, I learned that there is no right or wrong answer (after wasting energy stressing, thinking that there was). I had to tap into my strengths as well as uncover my weaknesses. My Watercolor professor would tell me “you want too much control.” And that struck me.

I was constantly learning who I was and art became my mirror.

I saw when I was weak. I saw when I was strong. I could tell when I was frustrated and anxious. I would learn how to use my energy to create what I wanted. I learned to be patient with myself and learned to honor process and time. I learned to be a critical thinker and problem solve. I learned to define my own language. My past started to make sense. I learned what was important to me and what wasn’t.

For the longest, I was on the path of being a graphic designer in the Marketing and Branding world. But that plan was completely interrupted once I fell in love with traditional art. As I continued freelance graphic design for branding, it began to feel more and more like prison… no different than an undesirable 9-5. I thought maybe I would tap into a more fluid art career later in life, but it couldn’t wait. I was sacrificing way too much happiness and inner peace waiting………

I didn’t have the same freedom creating for clients the way I did creating for myself. And I missed that. If I was going to build a career I wanted it to come with the essence of freedom.

I experienced freedom through my art and it became vital that I experienced that through my career and lifestyle.

I’m scared as hell actually, but one thing I remember Sara Berkley said at the Wealth & Achievement Summit is that if your dreams and aspirations don’t scare the crap out of you then they aren’t big enough. Yeah, I’m pretty terrified so, I guess I’m doing something right.

So, cheers to that! aaannnnndddddd thanks for reading! Stay tuned! Love ya’ll.



Joslyn Pickens a.k.a (artistically known as) "FancyJ" is a recent graduate of Georgia State University, currently practicing art and entrepreneurship. Joslyn leads conversation in Art & Design, Business, Millennial Trends, Visual Branding, Self-Discovery & Inspiration, Holistic Health, & Feminism.

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