So I got the gift of a flickr pro account from Steve Agalloco. This post is the first of many where I take advantage of the 2 Giga with a “G,” Gigabyte per month upload limit. Profuse thanks Steve, for this wondrous gift!
As my first post using this, here’s an image that really is not done justice by my self-imposed 400 pixels wide image dimensions limit. If you click over, you can see there’s a button that says “all sizes” so you can see it at much higher resolution.
So in 1988 I was taking a Design class at San Diego Mesa College. I was kind of a lost soul at that point, educationally and professionally. See, I didn’t apply to any colleges. Not that I could not have been admitted to colleges, just, well, I thought somehow I could put it off. I think I was probably giving the impression of a kid who had some college plans… like maybe Art Center, maybe Pepperdine, maybe SDSU, maybe UCSD — but the reality was that I had read about colleges and I just thought… what’s the point?
Not that I didn’t have ambitions, I think I did. I wanted to be an artist or perhaps work in advertising or something. But really, I was aimless and naive about my future. Somehow, eventually, it all worked out more or less. I mean, 19 years on it all seems to have worked out: several moves, an associate degree, some medical licenses, two careers, a dozen jobs, the high of the dot com boom, the internet, a marriage, a divorce, the crash of the dot com boom, a new partner, another move, and kids.
I’m a much happier and more self-aware person than these previous versions of myself. This is the lesson of my life. Go towards good things, and be fearless in examining yourself, even the distasteful parts.
But I digress.
So this design class was kind of interesting. I was pretty cocky. I had been doing design for what felt like a long time. I had made flyers for friends and family for years. I thought I knew a lot. This quality does not make for a good student. If you think you know more than your teacher, you doom yourself to not really learning very much from your teacher. This is unfortunate. The the instructor being a hyperactive, hippie slash new-agey lady with these big square glasses. Her knowledge of design history and art history was weak. There were a few times I and others would correct her on some issues. In hindsight I think I was kind of a jerk about it.
The through line of this story is “Joe did not listen, and so Joe did not do well.” I did mediocre on my projects for this class. I did shoddy work.
It’s so strange to think now, that this design class was all analog. X-acto knives, T-squares, frisket, pen and pencil and paper. Nary a computer, or even a mention of computers. This was 1988, and the desktop publishing revolution was beginning. I had been exposed to Macintosh computers while working at Citizen’s Western Bank, but it was really a toy, not used to do serious work. And quality printing from a computer was really an oddity.
One could get a color copy made, but it was expensive. I remember spending $8 for a single color copy of an 8-1/2” by 11” sheet of paper, and the quality was not very good.
I digress again.
It’s no fun to look at the laziness and hubris of my eighteen year-old self. I suppose some of those qualities stay with me. I like to think I have learned about those tendencies and learned to take them head on.
Life’s a learning process.
I got a C in that design class.
But I think I learned a lot from it. Not about design, but about myself.
Hindsight is great, isn’t it?
Oh, the drawing? You’re wondering perhaps about the drawing itself? Well, it’s a caricature and a portrait. As I look at it, I think, yes, that’s exactly what the guy looked like. And yet it’s subtly exaggerated too. I love the little monologue on the side there — “but the artist may overcome this.” And the way I sign it, with my middle name “Art” — I had a giant 18-year-old head of ego in there.
I used to draw a lot in that class. I always had a giant notebook, really a large size sketchbook, that I took notes in. I took great notes, which is odd because I didn’t care for the class. I was always a good note-taker. But the ego and the sloth really got the best of me.