Friday, April 30, 2010

Randomly Penciled 4-30-10

As an art student, the majority of my money goes toward art supplies. Every paycheck gets distributed between rent, groceries and art materials. Sometimes the need for drawing pencils wins over milk. College students only need ramen in their pantry, right?
There is a wonderful thing, though, that makes the world of art in college all the better: art cash.
In the magical world of art classes, professors stock their supply closets full of art-making necessities. In printmaking, you’ll find a collection of mediocre to majestic paper selections while in metalsmithing there is a variety of metal sheets and wire.
Your first encounter with art cash is similar to your first day of college: frightening and exciting. Within your reach is an assortment of almost everything necessary to create a masterpiece. And yet, lurking at the back of your mind is a warning of being too enthusiastic. “Don’t forget about your bills,” your mind reminds.
Then you learn all of these materials are accessible to you without upfront payment. Art cash allows you to pay for an assortment of supplies at the end of the semester, after those materials have served their purpose. Well, how can you resist such an offer?
That’s where everything goes all wrong, at least for me. I tend to hoard art supplies, in fear one day I will be ready to turn out an epic drawing or print only to discover  I am fresh out of paper or lithography plates. So every time the professors ask if anybody needs something from art cash, I jump at the occasion.
Everything seems to be going smoothly until the end of the semester sneaks up. Soon after final exams and final critiques have passed, professors begin tallying up how much money each student needs to cough up in order to pay their art cash bill.
Sometime between when the last final is given and grades are posted, art cash fees are posted. This is typically a day to be dreaded. 
Just as students in other departments shell out hundreds of dollars for their textbooks, so do art students when it comes to supplies. It all turns into a twisted game to guess who will have spent the most in the past semester.
At the beginning of every semester, art cash is there to support my needs and keeps me swimming in the materials I need to create art. Then, it turns around and hands over my spending records to Sparks Hall.
Every summer begins with me cursing my dependence on art cash, but I always go crawling back at the beginning of the fall semester, desperate for my fancy paper and art making ingredients.

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