Now I know that a BA involves something to do with 'art'. Obviously. But I think there should be like BMs, too. For media related courses. Or someone should at least try not to accommodate both an arts course and a journalism course in the same building. That's what they do at my university. One building hosts film courses, photography courses, cultural studies, my own course (journalism), media courses and, well, for some strange reason the Central St Martin's art foundation massif also lives there. I like art, some of it, anyway. Still, sometimes an average day at can become a very surreal experience, courtesy of the art student posse. So here is just few observations I made throughout the years ... (I'm stereotyping away...).
There appears to be two kinds of female art students: the Face Magazine Front and the hippie artist front. The Face magazine casualties sport the most amazing of fashion mullets, carry tiny and overly trendy handbags and are usually armed with huge hoop earrings and spiky heels. The hippie girls, on the other hand, notoriously wear skirts over trousers and have a multitude of sparkly bracelets around their wrists. On top of that, the hippie dress code usually cries 'hairband', 'headscarf', 'pink dreadlocks' and 'phat trainers'.
The boy artists also comes in two varieties. There's the French cinema victim and the Indieboy artstudent. The former is usually spotted in a black turtleneck, matching trousers and fantastically big black-rimmed glasses. Having overheard quite a few of the French Cinema boys' conversations, I can safely say that 'black and white', 'object', 'Britpack' and 'Turner Prize' are the most popular phrases used. The Indieboy art students, however, sport brown corduroys, skinny-fit T-shirts and an intimidated look on their little faces.
That was just to give you an idea of the kind of people I encounter during my lunch break. Now that you got the picture in terms of appearance, I shall describe an average day in art student hell.
When approaching Mr Securityman (yes, there is security staff at my college!), I trip over the first huge portfolio folder thing (we're usually talking beyond A3 here) that some ignorant has dumped right on the doorstep. After stumbling past both door and security person, I make it onto the stairs. Only to find that the person walking in front of me is cheerfully waving either a huge camera or another one of these portfolio things as they walk along. Needless to say that the swung objects regularly land in my face, stomach or knee. Thanks a lot.
Just before I reach the first floor, I will come past a door-like affair that is covered in black binliner. On the binliners, there's a sign saying something along the lines of 'do not enter! Exhibition in progress'. If that's not dodgy, what is? Talking about exhibitions, they seem to be everywhere in the building. Basement: photography exhibition. First Floor: random mixed media stuff and some more photography. Third Floor: arts and crafts section. Fourth Floor: more tacky arts and crafts, and also some pretty bizarre paintings. Of course it's nice to exhibit student art at university, but considering that these artefacts have been around (they never seem to change or get updated) for years, the people that made them in the first place are probably in their late 40s by now. Oops.
On top of these 'official' exhibitions, the art posse are having their own cowboy exhibits pretty much everywhere. Only recently, I found myself stepping into what looked like floorboards made of clingfilm. Assuming that was to do with builders or plumbers, I unsuspectingly crossed over the clingfilm - and got yelled at by a member of the art student front. Apparently I had just ruined his 'installation'. Fair enough, but he could at least have stuck up a warning sign somewhere.
Another 'hilarious' location is the college canteen. Obviously you wouldn't even think about touching the food in there, but the coffee is okay, so I kill time in their quite a lot. The walls may be covered in strange arty film posters, but apart from that, the place bears a strange resemblance with a social services waiting area. Nice. Anyways, coming back to our arty friends ... the canteen seems to be a prime target for the temporary storage of all sorts of 'objects'. Only today I saw a girl carrying a huge plastic leg over her shoulder. Yesterday, a group of 'whacky' individuals dragged around large tubes of chicken wire. The day before, a guy was carrying around a large PVC cube, followed by two girls who were shifting around what looked like a mousetrap made of bits of carpet and glass. People wearing dust masks are also a frequent phenomenon, for the 'spray booth' is only two floors down.
Well, as long as I don't get yelled at for walking into installations and as long as I don't trip over chicken wire or get a plastic leg slammed across the face, I'd like to thank these arty, arty people for being such a reliable source of amusement...