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The Exorcism of Art School Ghosts

A Side Trip Back To The School of Visual Arts


Last week I paid a visit to my Alma mater SVA – School of Visual Arts. What stuck out to me most was when ate in their cafeteria. It was very sad, and at the same time laughable because nothing has changed.

Ok, there is a TV station instead of a radio station (Which I DJ’d for Freshman Year), and they’ve updated the arcade games, and other superficial crap. What hasn’t changed is the introverted way art students at this school interact (or don’t) with one another outside of class.

The “campus life” is nonexistent. SVA is churning out anti-social artists by the boatloads, and you would think that someone would teach the students to communicate with others, other then just through their artwork.

It leaves these kids to hide behind their portfolios, and talk in whispered tones, stripped of personality. It’s no wonder when after graduation they show their portfolios to one art director and get passed on they feel like failures and give up. They are so socially inept that just getting up enough nerve to show someone else their work is such an ordeal, the rejection is too much for them.

I had to sit back and laugh because (no joke) the room, let’s say it has forty lunch tables with a seating capacity of six to a table.

There were thirty students eating lunch. . . each one sitting at their own separate lunch table. Most of those were two tables away from the next occupied table. Nobody talking. When I was a student there I saw things like that in the cafeteria, sometimes worse then that.

Also. . . to take it to another grim topic. . . while I was there I talked with the old lab supervisors, they told me that many illustration teachers had been asking them if they knew of anyone looking for illustration work, because they were having trouble finding any. How are the students supposed to be confident with the job market and selling themselves, when their own teacher can’t even get work?

They also told me the market seems to be so bad in the art fields that now the student population has risen 4 fold because instead of facing the harsh reality of the city and the working grind, students upon receiving their BFA’s are now just going on to the Master’s programs.

[Originally posted 3-12-2002]


About CojoArtJuggernaut

Founder of and, Cojo "Art Juggernaut" is a NYC Based painter, illustrator, arts blogger and SVA alumni. Freelance art clients include: AT&T, BlackBook, Complex, Espn, Maxim, Mtv, Nike, Pop Sci, Rolling Stone, Time Out NY, Vibe, and The Village Voice. Cojo's fine art work is represented by Castle Fitzjohns Gallery in New York. Contact: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | More Posts

2 Comments on The Exorcism of Art School Ghosts

  1. Each student sitting at their own separate lunch table. Sad, but funny! Is being an introvert a prerequisite?

  2. I am totally agree with you!! I have studied at SVA and I remember the same thing… haha!

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