The Indian Artist: Thoughts on Formal Art Education

Good afternoon everyone! I hope that you are all doing well. With the semester coming to an end I decided that I wanted to reflect a little bit on my first time taking a formal collegiate art course. I am doing a minor in Art & Design through STAMPS and this was my first semester being able to take a course.

I am finishing up ARTDES 105: Drawing Visualization. Seeing at is a foundational course, I did not expect to be challenged as I would be in a higher level course. I don’t think that I came out of the course learning much; however, I truly appreciate having time carved out of my week to devote to drawing. I found that once I started college, with the plethora of pre-medical courses, it was very difficult for me to prioritize my art and even more difficult to justify taking time away from my studies to paint or draw. Taking an art course has forced me to make my passion more of a priority and I have seen a massive shift in my mental health and state of mind since I started.

The majority of the first few weeks of the course was working exclusively with simple shapes (conical forms, ellipses, rectilinear planes, etc.), learning about perspective and foreshortening, and introducing composition. Nothing was new to me and I was quite comfortable with all of the concepts. However, I do think that I have learned how to be a little looser with my rendering. As someone who has done tightly rendered conceptual art for as long as I can remember, it was difficult to learn how to convey ideas with fewer strokes and details. We were encouraged to be brief with the rendering stages of our projects, and I truly believe this has helped me to become more perceptive of what details and forms are necessary to convey ideas to a viewer. This has aided me in forming a deeper relationship with my own art.

Overall, I do see value in obtaining some level of formal art instruction. Having been on my own until now, teaching myself by watching videos and observing others’ artwork, I look forward to being taught by professionals in the field of art, gaining new perspectives, and hopefully learning new techniques and methods. However, I am a true believer that a formal education in art is by no means necessary to becoming a successful artist and creator.

What are your thoughts on formal art education? As always if anything that I discussed in this post stands out, or if any questions arise please feel free to comment and share your thoughts!


Looking forward to next Monday!


~ Riya


Personal website:

Riya A

My name is Riya and I am currently a Senior at U of M studying Molecular Biology with a double minor in Art & Design and Sociology on the pre-med track. Art has been a huge passion of mine from a very young age and in the final iteration of my column, I look forward to sharing my passions as they connect to my culture, medicine, and art.

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