Art Project… Censored! (LIVEJOURNAL)

My Junior Design class was recently assigned to create a poster based on a given punctuation mark. After the final version was complete, we were told to come up with additional, quickly-sketched versions. My symbol was the asterix (y’know, the * thing). Two of my three sketches were deemed too inappropriate and unprofessional by my instructor, who promptly took them off the wall and refused to allow the class to critique them. One of them was indeed shabby (I was running out of ideas) but the second was very clever in my opinion. I dubbed it “Ass-Trix”:
Isn’t it funny?
So anyways, I emailed my professor over the issue. Here’s a copy of the e-mail:

             I just wanted to express my distaste for the way the critique was handled this morning. You took down two of my three pieces and never gave me the chance to receive feedback on them from the class. I know that you didn’t care for the “ass-trix” idea, but frankly the critiques aren’t only about what the professor thinks. If I based my work on a single opinion I would be a rather weak, close-minded artist. I value ALL opinions. I wanted to hear reactions from both you and the class, never just one or the other. Instead I had my work essentially condemned without an explanation. It should have been left on the wall, followed by constructive criticism of some sort.Something like this for example: 

“I think using a punctuation mark as a cereal brand design is an interesting concept and one that you can run with, but tone down the imagery so you aren’t limiting your potential audience. Instead, use the image to really bring home the concept of the asterix, not the rabbit. Make that the primary focus. Perhaps you could even put the image on an actual cereal box…” etc. 

             I don’t have a background in education, but this does sound a bit better than what I heard today. It sounds like instructional guidance rather than discouragement. That is something I can take. Pure negative commentary and censorship I cannot. 

             I understood that not everyone would find the rabbit poster tasteful or funny. It was my hopeful intention to use the asterix in an unexpected, inventive way that was amusing and unorthodox. I felt I had succeeded on this level, but my degree of success, or perhaps lack of, couldn’t be accurately or fairly gauged without a proper critique. Having my work denied/censored seems to be against the whole message behind the school of Art and Design. Creative freedom, being open to new ideas, etc… I thought this was what Alfred was all about. 

– David Barnes

1 commment
February 13 2006, 04:41:08 UTC
Well, well.. you should feel honored your work was censored- it must really have been provoking enough for him to not want others to see it- living life by the edge has its up’s and down’s- this time unfortunately you got the short end of the stick. But the perks to doing things the way you choose to do and to go about doing them put you on a higher level altogether; (a level many can never understand). Your specific in your artwork because you’ve honed in on what you like to do; adding uniqueness and your own sense of style to your pieces – there are those who will love your work and others who won’t – but don’t let it get you down, he’s probably just an asshole – Just remember to have fun spud, its college for Christ’s sake, one more thing… drink in modernation ;0)

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