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[BKARTS] Education?

With all due respect to Mr. Ross, I think he is sending us a mixed message.
He cannot decry the skills of those who are forced to pay thousands of dollars
to call themselves educated while simultaneously bemoaning the fact that their
education is inadequate.  The problem as I understand it from the list's
comments, and as I am incidentally experiencing it, is that a.) grad programs
are expensive and b) there are few traditional, non-MFA apprenticeships to be
It is my impression that many willing and eager students turn to the debt of
grad school--the alleged elitism of these institutions
notwithstanding--exactly because of the lack of apprenticeships.  Because
these MFA programs are (sometimes prohibitively) expensive, however, does not
necessarily mean their only function is as a mill to churn out "artistes."  On
the contrary; in the absence of enough apprenticeships such as the one
supported by the worthy Patrice in California, an MFA program can be an
excellent way not only to make the valuable professional connections which are
difficult to make otherwise, but also can be a good way to gain a broad range
of skills in two years.  Furthermore, those programs that include a writing or
composition component, as several do, help ensure that the content matches the
form, which Mr. Ross reminds us is vital.  The problem is not a lack of
quality MFA programs in bookbinding or bookarts; rather, it is the lack of an


From: Darrell Ross <DDsrtist@xxxxxxx>
Subject: Education?

Who is better to educate?

One who practices and works his craft/art?
Or one who has a piece of paper saying "I spent $100,000 saying I'm educated."

And why are Tech schools doing so well? Is it because the instructors are
also doing what they teach? The Universities Ivory Walls will always be there
the practicing bookbinders are too busy to take on willing apprentices.

And the future of the craft/art is in jeopardy because of it. Someone needs
to realize that the positions they hold are futile and must give up ground.

As an Art Director for 20 years I've seen how dumbfounded a new candidate for
a graphic design job can be. And by looking at their portfolio know where
they went to school.

Give them a photograph, text and logo. Tell them to make an add 2 col. by 6
inches and they look at you as you just spoke some foreign language. Making
pretty pictures in Photoshop or Illustrator does not make one a graphic
Anymore then an individual who knows Coptic binding makes him/her a bookmaker.
Artist or otherwise.

Universities need to break out of their protectionism and have experience
people help teach their students and if bookbinders and bookmakers want to
their art alive need to be willing to take on more apprentices.

The elitism of art schools, book schools and so-called professional
organizations will be the source of their own downfall.

I'm reminded of when computers were first affordable and graphic design
programs came out. All of a sudden I had competition from every mom and pop
had space for a computer and they suddenly became graphic artist. My clients
wanted me to reduce my prices for layout and design and I said no. They went
cheaper route and came back to me for help. It costs them twice as much the
second time around then if they just had me do it in the first place.

Form and content is inseparable. Always has been and always will be. No
pretty cover, no flashy graphic and no fancy bookbinding will make the content
different. If the soul of the project (content) has no matching spirit
(cover/design) then you might as well do as the pornographers do -- wrap it in
brown paper bag. At least we all know what's inside.

But then this is just my opinion...

Darrell Ross

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