Memories of an Ex-Art Student

Before I started University I took a Gap year and did a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. Here’s a list of all I learnt before I switched paint brushes and glue guns for textbooks and worksheets.

You will always be bankrupt….because you always need new kit…or simply paper, or ink to print onto that paper you just bought. Therefore you are resigning yourself to a life (or year in my case) of budgets, or lack thereof and therefore bankruptcy (and tears when it’s black friday and your bank balance is not even 2 digits big *cough Ellie*.)

You can wear whatever you want…..and validate it with the excuse “I’m an art student” because you soon learn you can blag anything with artsy lingo.

Your teachers are the most enthusiastic people you will ever meet….you may think that the words “outstanding , “excellent”, and the phrase “the most stunning thing ever” are not really compliments thrown around lightly or often. But nope at art school you’ll hear it daily…so don’t be too alarmed when that’s what they ask of you from all and I mean ALL your project briefs.

Abstract drawing….is actually amazing art, even if you consider it to be not too dissimilar to the works of a ten year. If in doubt add in a continuous line drawing and left handed sketch and wham worksheet completed.


You don’t know how little sleep you can run on until you have a day to complete 7 worksheets. Now at Uni, struggling to make it to 9am’s I really don’t know how I did that and drove to College the next day.

The joy of mashing up clay and mixing plaster cast is highly underestimated…heightened by the slight element of danger introduced by the risk that mixing plaster cast carries.


You will lose work….you will because no one names anything, you all make a mess and everyone leaves everything everywhere. The studio’s end up looking literally like an art bomb exploded and guaranteed you’re all so tired you’re running out the door to get home to your bed, and ‘accidentally’ forget to tidy up.

^Consequently there is always paper on the floor, in fact search hard enough you can find all sorts of gems on the floor on the shelves and here there and everywhere.

Then when the equipment sale man arrives you will almost cry with joy at the sight of so much equipment and low prices, it will be like Christmas once every term (though as I said in point one you’ll probably barely have any money to buy anything, even at discount price.)

The satisfaction of moving things around on a worksheet and finally reaching that “OH thats it I’ve got it” moment is unlike any satisfaction you have ever received from work or school.I can confirm even finishing an essay right before the deadline has yet to bring me the same level of smug content.

Costa becomes your life…..or the life you wish you could live once payday FINALLY rolls around.

You feel a certain joy walking around galleries knowing you’re officially an art student and therefore the opinion you’ve got actually holds some prevalence. (AND YOU GET DISCOUNTS, thank goodness! again see point one.)

art life 3

You will build serious muscles because even though your purse is never heavy, carrying your portfolio, art box, kit and bag into college everyday (even just walking from your car) is bound to increase muscle tone (we tell ourselves whilst scoffing cake from costa.)

Your non art student friends, if they didn’t before will think your barmy.

Your Instagram feed will become filled with proud “look what I did today” immediately met by confused ^^^ friends.

Your christmas list will include exhilarating presents like….white acrylic paint and a bumper pack of double sided sticky tape. Because double sided is like gold dust on worksheet day (which is everyday….)

Subjects you never thought compatible can and will be thrown together at any given moment during any art lecture. Think robots and 18th century art movement don’t have much in common? Think again.

You become a regular bin diver to scavenge for supplies,a full skip is a particularly good find.

Processed with Moldiv
^The spoils of a skip dive

There is always time for a coffee break….even on the busiest most stressed out day, time is carved out for that desperately needed coffee break….(and I don’t even drink coffee.)

Everything is last minute….UCAS, China trip….you know all the minor stuff (!?!?!)

Pinterest will become an infinite source of inspiration, and a truly excellent time waster, easier way to spend an hour *read 3 hours*….

Your opinions towards modern art will go one of two ways; firstly you find yourself defending it and coming up with meanings, or secondly you still maintain some sanity and admit that, no that’s not art it’s a piece of string on the wall.

the look of confusion

It is imperative to have a camera on you at all times…..easily done if you own an i-phone…if you don’t then well have fun lugging around a DSLR or whatever classic canon option you own. Because you know that sunset on the way home from work it MUST be captured…could be future inspiration.You’ll carry this on at Uni and get regularly teased for overly snap happy nature.

If you don’t have hugely painful paper cuts under your fingernails from peeling off too much double sided sticky tape…your not doing enough worksheets. (yep #artstudentproblems.) And the prospect of clean hands is completely alien, if they’re not covered in ink/paint or glue your doing something wrong.

Despite loving University now I had an amazing year that I would repeat if given the change, you never knew what was coming from the day at Art School, but thats where half the fun game from. Over the year I learnt a lot about Art and I also un-learnt a lot of what I had thought about Art.



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