Art students with attributes of an Applied Science major

My first terror came on my junior year of high school, as if the decision I would make then would be the decision that makes my future. In Korea every junior is obligated to choose between the Liberal Arts and the Applied Sciences. Having always dreamed to become an artist, I chose the major of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences as if that would be my final career choice. It definitely was a decision too burdensome for a seventeen year old to be making.

During my high school days the difference I experienced between the liberal art and the applied arts was slight, but after graduation the diversion was clear to me. The statistics of a liberal arts major to get into engineering school is as low as a of an applied sciences major to get into an art school. The path a teenager chooses between the liberal arts and the applied sciences is probably the same as choosing their future, and one cannot deny the truth behind this.

Since I wanted to become an artist of course I choose the liberal arts path. But in my eyes Design majors were part of applied sciences, it was very confusing to me. To me artist had to have paint in their closes and shoes, but designers were so clean and used rulers instead of paint. I almost wanted to make fun of them, because they actually seemed like someone studying the applied sciences. But since they had to prove their drawing and artistic abilities when applying to the schools, they had no less than similar or even better skills than us, “artists”. I was actually envious of them.

During the early 90s the Korean perspective of Design was that designer were the prestigious few that were actually saving the press industry. But even with this high image of design, people didn’t know exactly what design was. The reason being was that design was only being done for the press industry. During that time macintosh computers were an absolute must for the printing process, and with the high cost of the Silicon Valley made machines not everyone had access to Macs. My envy for design majors kept growing since every design student had to have been from a wealthy family to be able to afford those expensive machines.

Times were changing in Korea. The designers I envied so much weren’t only needed for the printing industry anymore. Design no longer was used just for the improvement of aesthetics, but design was a way to improve functionality and to deliver messages precisely and faster. I felt that those “applied sciences” art students that used rulers and protractors, were making design a industry that wasn’t part of art any longer. Steve Jobs’ vision of changing the world with design was becoming reality.

As someone who has experienced the evolution of design within Korea, Designers weren’t to be taken lightly anymore. I no longer had to place Design into a sub category that would either be part of the arts or part of the applied sciences, design it self had become a category of its on for me. Even though the industry was getting bigger and noticed more than ever, it was still like a foreign language to me. A foreign language I was getting used to.

In reality designers are considered liberal arts graduates, but they also have the attributes of an applied sciences’ graduate. I still wonder to this day why I disliked designers, when they were in the liberal arts like I was but just taking advantage of the applied sciences to change the world. Was it that I was feeling so diminished since they were the ones changing the world and I was just playing around with paint.

To me artists are always trying to paint and express the things that aren’t visible through someone’s eyes. For me the unseen would be, life, the future, and one’s self. Trying to express the unseen I find my self drinking, and hurting my self to find what and who I am. In the mean time I see designers changing the world with another form of art. And because we, artists, can’t change the world in such rapid matter like designers, I found that comparing my self to designers was a regular occurrence.

To aspiring designers I used to say it was impossible to become a great designer with out first being great at the traditional arts. But it has come to time that great design is being made even by those who don’t have formal art training. Therefore the design major has become more and more popular, leading me to feel smaller and smaller compared to designer. But its okay, because I no longer feel envy, instead I find my-self appreciating the way design is changing this world to a better one.

Concluding, I think fine art is still appreciated as classic rock music, and design is new and changing the world as hip hop has changed the world. I will continue to watch and enjoy the influence of design of this world, and record this changing world through my paintings.

I am sorry and thankful for all the designers that have changed my mind about Design. I will cheer for progressive design. You art students with applied science attributes.

— Korean Version Click Here —

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