By Colleen Clark
A big reason why so many creative people decide to go to art school instead of a more general study university is because they want to avoid the extra junk that won’t add to their art. I was toying with the idea of going to a university and rounding out my education… but then I realized that I never wanted to lay my eyes on math ever again EVER.
At CCAD, I never felt like I was being closed off to the world outside of the studio, but I could also always see that what I was learning was relevant to my career.
The summer before I started here (in 2010… That feels like a century ago now!) my whole class read In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing by Matthew E. May. This non-fiction book was all about how to pursue creativity and what makes the world’s most innovative ideas so successful.
One of the examples that I remember most was the Laweiplein, a four-way traffic crossing in the Netherlands. The author explained that this busy, high-traffic crossing had absolutely no traffic signals, signs, or lights, but there were almost never any accidents. People payed more attention because they had to and, therefore, they drove safer. May concluded that we mess up when we try to solve problems by adding things to them, instead of taking things away. Whenever I’m trying to think of an idea or a solution to an art piece, I ask myself this: is there anything I can take away from this to make it simpler? It stuck with me.
And now… I wish I were a freshman again. The summer reading assignment for the class of 2018 has just been announced. The incoming freshmen will be reading The Complete Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of her unforgettable childhood and coming-of-age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution. The freshmen get to read and discuss a GRAPHIC NOVEL over the summer! And one of the most influential, revolutionary graphic novels of all time!
If you’re me, or anyone interested in comics, cue freak out: Marjane Satrapi will also be visiting CCAD in October. I literally cried when I found out.
Reading Persepolis taught me that valid, important stories can be told through comics. It taught me about another part of the world, it connected me to a person that I never would have imagined having so much in common with. Persepolis literally changed the world of comics when it began being used as a popular teaching tool.
As someone who is trying to make a career out of memoir-like comics, I have a million things to thank Marjane Satrapi for, and a million reasons to admire her.
Marjane Satrapi will be visiting on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. She will have a public question-and-answer session and a reception with the students. There will also be an exhibition of artwork created in response to and inspired by the freshman summer reading assignment, which will be on display from December until January 2015.
I am so jealous of the freshman class but so filled with pride that my school understands the power of graphic novels like Persepolis. I am so happy to come from a school that is going to engage its students in projects and themes from this amazing comic all throughout their freshman year, and I cannot wait to see what kinds of comics the new students will be inspired to make.
Thank you for understanding what inspires artists, CCAD, and thank you, Marjane Satrapi, for creating something so important. I cannot wait until October.
Colleen Clark is a CCAD senior majoring in Illustration who wishes Star Trek was real. She loves comics, puppies, anything involving Tina Fey, and sharing her art and thoughts through her online blog.
The Life at CCAD blog brings prospective students and their families into ongoing conversation with CCAD students, admissions counselors, and financial aid staff—including occasional visits from other members of the CCAD family.