Questions About Art

What is your worst art teacher experience?

“You are hopeless.”

Her high school art teacher laughs at her art and made her switch to Shop class instead. This was the story I heard from Lauren, one of the counselors at the school where I teach art.

Let me preface this conversation with I am art teacher/therapist. As an art teacher/therapist/mentor, my number one rule is to create a safe container/space where judgement is suspended for creativity and imagination to flourish. The seed has to grow and then you can trim it a bit, just like a rose, when it is in full bloom. Maybe I became an art teacher to rectify my own trauma.

In fifth grade we were making crafty clay turtles. My teacher Ms. Bison (who was a nun–although it was a public school) saw my turtle and she got really angry. She became furious in a Joan Crawford (no wire hangers)like way and she was like this is all wrong!! Then she totally destroyed it.” I was astonished and really hurt! I really liked what I had created. This moment did not kill my creativity, but I was psychologically scared. At this time my fierce judgement archetype of myself was formed and emblazed into my being.

A major goal for Art is Moving is to get more people to create art and to talk about their art experiences, both good and bad. The more that I speak to people about their own childhood art experiences, the more the conversation tends to shift to a moment of trauma. They usually share a horror story of how an art teacher killed their creativity.

What is your worst art teacher experience?

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  • Lisa Rasmussen

    I also remember one my art students Gary,who was sixteen said, “that my teacher would not let me create anything. He said I was so bad that he made me clean the class. I was the custodian.”

  • Lauren Odell Usher

    Mine was in my figure drawing class in college. I was already nervous about the class to begin with because I was never able to draw “realistically.” I am a photographer, not a drawer. But, the class was required so I took it. I spend an hour and a half struggling through a drawing only to have my professor come over, stare at it, say nothing, and wipe has hand across it, telling me to start over as it did it. The drawing was in charcoal, so it was gone! I just stood there looking at the black blob and couldn’t move. I haven’t really drawn since.

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