Art Students
Self-ImprovementCollege

This Is Why The Life Of An Art Student Is So Bizarrely Lovely

You wake up and peel your face off the pillow and rub your eyes open. You curse and shove your face back into the pillow for a snooze because you will never ever ever get a proper night’s sleep. You were up so late last night working on a piece that probably has nothing to do with school. You finally get up and shuffle your way to the bathroom and take a look at your face, notice the line that may or may not be a streak of paint from last night’s work, pretend it’s a premature wrinkle, walk out of the bathroom, and then head to the kitchen. Make coffee, tea, warm milk, goat piss, whatever your favorite drink is. You skip breakfast and instead just sip on your magical morning potion, because that’s what it is: magic. You walk back to your room, step over that pile of “I don’t know what that is or where it came from,” stand in the corner and stew in the glorious sight of your used-to-be bedroom turned into a cluttered barely functional art studio. And you smile.

Two minutes later, you realize you’ve been smiling like an idiot for too long and you’re late for your way-too-early art class. You get dressed, probably in a lot of black and you secretly grin at the fact that you know people would think you wear black a lot to portray your tortured soul because you’re such a tortured artist, when the actuality of the matter is, you wear black because it’s the only color that endures the stains and dirt that come hand in hand with art and lord knows you’d do anything not to do an extra load of laundry. You fumble around your work space trying to find your materials and pack them neatly into the lovely bag that has gracefully sacrificed its soul to carry your supplies. You grab your shit with your sneakers hanging by their laces from your mouth because you’ve only got two hands and they’re busy carrying more valuable things.

You know you don’t look as presentable as a fully functioning adult human should look, but in between the amount of time and effort you exert on every piece of art you create and the endless errands you have to run every other day to keep your mini art factory running, you couldn’t care less what you look like right now. Nobody will be paying attention to your mis-buttoned shirt or your messy hair when they see the masterpieces you create. They will actually appreciate the fact that it came from a so-presumed “bohemian” creature. Your mess adds value to your art and you like it that way.

On your way to class, you get lost in the ethereal world that is plugged into your ears and for a brief moment, you breathe. You love the exhaustion in that breath you blow out. It makes you proud somehow.

You barely get to class on time, but it’s fine, your professor is used to you being a little more than casually late. You both share a sarcastic smile as you take your seat. You love this class because it’s an outlet to being the douchey artist you sometimes want to be. You enjoy the pretentious discussion you have because, like all artists, you have a little pretentious asshole inside of you that can only be set free around other secretly pretentious assholes like yourself. You like discussing the philosophy behind Botticelli’s compositions and you like depicting Caravaggio’s choice of color. But you know you’ll sound like a douchebag unless you’re speaking with another douchebag. It’s like, you balance each other out.

Your next class is your muse. You love losing yourself in between the brush strokes on a dirty canvas. You don’t mind the accidental splotch of paint on your fingertips. Or your face. Or sometimes, your hair. It’s like, you become a canvas too and the random blotches of color are the world’s unplanned masterpiece. You linger at your stained thumb as you bend it and the paint starts to crack. You pause and wonder how dried flakes of paint can hold so much meaning and beauty. It’s moments like these that you live for. A moment of drowsy awakening.

You look up from your hands and realize, as you normally would, you forgot to eat. You only remember to eat because your body tells you to; otherwise, you’d work for days without a break. You go grab a snack, and as you do, you try to remember the last time you had a proper meal by yourself. You silently laugh at the fact that you can’t remember. Your life is an endless series of snack breaks in-between projects. The only time you eat like a proper human is when you meet your non-pretentious friends for dinner every other week or so. It’s also the only time you actually look and dress like an adult that has their life together.

By the time you’re home, you’ll have done your fair share of daydreaming about that long nap that you’ll never have enough time to have. And as you lay your work neatly on the floor, you hope that in a parallel universe, another you is enjoying that nap. But oh well. You look for a piece of paper that actually has lines on it for you to write on so you could make a list of supplies you need from the store. You roll your eyes when you have to add “lined paper” to the list you just wrote on the back of one of your sketch book’s pages.

The store clerk asks about your day at school as you lay down the heap of artsy stuff on the check-out counter. You’ve grown so acquainted with the staff that you find it very normal for you to know Karl’s WWII stories and the fact that Felicia’s going through a divorce. Your train of thought is interrupted when the clerk hands you the dreaded bill for your not-so-cheap art supplies. You’d think it would hurt less overtime, but nope. Every bill hurts more than the one before. When you get back home, you start unpacking your supplies, make yourself a relatively healthy snack and get to work.

You get so into what you’re doing that you become oblivious to the world that lives outside your little temple. It’s only you and the music that is louder than your upstairs neighbor would generally prefer. Everything is shut out and you don’t think, your hands think for you. You converse with your art and every word that is said is translated into lines and colors. You breathe in the all too familiar smell of paint like it’s a drug. You’re in your zone and everything flows perfectly into a silent symphony. And when you’re tired enough, you step back into the corner of the room. And you smile.

You smile because you’re in love with something that knows love more than anyone ever would. You smile because you’re beyond proud of yourself and what you do. You like that you’re obsessed with something. Especially something that gives back the way art does. You smile because you don’t mind the mess. You don’t mind the stains and streaks across the wall. You love every story behind every color. You don’t mind that you never have enough time, money, or energy. You love the imperfections of your life and you love how perfect they are. You love being able to speak without the need of words. You smile because you love your little cluttered world. You smile because even though it’s not all exactly how you pictured it, you would not change a single detail. TC mark

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Mariam is a yogi by day and a writer by night. Follow Mariam on Instagram or read more articles from Mariam on Thought Catalog.