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November 18, 2003

True Art School Tales

A new installment in John Leavitt's ongoing True Art School Tales, his irregular, illustrated diary about life as an art-school student. John's currently studying at Manhattan's Fashion Institute of Technology. His own website -- where he shows off his witty and elegant art, as well as his prowess as a designer and cartoonist -- is here.


True Art School Tales

A Taxonomy of Art School Professors

The Feeler:


Wants you to dig deep into the core of your being to express your personal uniqueness. Thinks teaching interferes with the flow of personal expression. Paints lots of flowers. Other Job: Housewife/kindergarten teacher. Quote: "Your colors really bring out the Youness of you."

The Prickasso:


Smells like Scotch. Calls the girls "baby." Tells you to "Murder the canvas! Paint with yer dick and blood." Paints lots of women in questionable poses wearing leather boots. Other Job: Long-lost gallery painter. Quote: "When that whore of a model comes back, I'll show you how to do an undercoating, you bastards."

The Ghost and the Dozer:


Different yet oddly similar. The Dozer gives an assignment then drifts off. The Ghost takes roll, goes for coffee, and never comes back. Both have tenure. Other Jobs: None. Quote: "Zzzzzz."

The Cause-Head:


Made career in political art and doesn't want you to forget it. Assigns lots of work on The People's Plight and The Struggle. Has lots of buttons. Other Job: Flag-waver. Quote: "Now let's try something on the Pain of Oppressed Women Everywhere."

The Visiting Teacher:


From another school or foreign land. Has high standards, and doesn't know why you can't meet them. Wonders aloud why you're so lazy. Wishes he could hit students. Other Job: Professional Painter. Quote: "You think art is hard? Try working in coal mine."

The Working Professional:


Makes a living in the field, wants to teach you how. Assigns mock projects, practical lessons, and passesa long lots of tricks. Knows actual art directors. Other Job: Illustrator. Quote: "Correctional fluid is your friend!"

The Human Manifesto:


The Gods of art have given her a Theory that explains all art and how to make it, yet somehow it always involves finger-painting. Wants you to follow the Glorious, Shining Path, or else. Other Job: NEA grants-board member. Quote: "Art is pain!"

-- by John Leavitt

posted by Michael at November 18, 2003


The Museum Teacher:

Was perhaps 35, but looked 70. Wore the same shiny blue serge suit every day. Walked on his pants cuffs. Ate from a can of french fried grasshoppers during class. Assembled still life scenarios that consisted of a chunk of Swiss cheese, moldy onions, and a wilted carrot. Liked to visit the ornithology room during class breaks. "It's fortunate for your mother that these lessons are free."

Posted by: Maureen on November 18, 2003 09:44 AM

Hilarious--and accurate--description, Mr. Leavitt.

Maybe this type is no longer around, but it was a remarkable experience twenty-odd years ago to be taught by one:

The Groupie

Hasn't really had much of a career at all, life has been a series of odd jobs. Wants to share stories of her experiences talking to guys like Andy Warhol, who she describes as "rock stars of Art." Certainly sounds like she has done as much sleeping around as she could manage, although presumably mostly with art directors and anybody else who could give her work. Claims to know artists--always guys--who can perform wonders in any medium but never teaches you any of these mysterious techniques.

Since I was both supporting myself and attending school full time while taking her class, when she started insisting on stupid make-work I decided I'd rather get a bad grade than waste my time on her idiotic assignments (she was oddly authoritarian in her teaching methods.) To my surprise, I still got an "A"--she was intimidated, I think, by anybody who evidently disapproved of her.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on November 18, 2003 11:10 AM

Great taxonomy! Very funny (and oddly true).

Here's my representation of "the tenured."

Posted by: Academy Girl on November 18, 2003 12:47 PM

Being an FIT graduate myself I think I recognize at least one prototype, even though J. Leavitt' classification rings universal. I am currently on jury duty (1st time in my life) and wish he was serving too, to take similar taxonomy of the members of this tragi-comedian court. It would be hilarious too, if not the coming dreaded moment when we'll have to decide the guy's future.

Posted by: Tatyana on November 18, 2003 03:01 PM


-Really? What dept? What year? Is it true that an FIT student's future is a sweaty, windsweept vista of infertile vallies and bleak cliffs?


Posted by: jleavitt on November 18, 2003 05:17 PM

JL: '96, Interior Design.
And no, it's not so horrible. Not rosy, mind you,- but no dispair either. Although I had an advantage- I hold another degree, in industrial engineering, from Russia, so that helped.

Posted by: Tatyana on November 19, 2003 10:06 PM

ok....mp3 is great!

Posted by: FREE PORN on May 29, 2004 07:17 PM

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