You might be a SCAD student if…if a kid biking down the street in full cosplay seems normal; if you’re a sound designer who can draw in flawless one-point perspective (if you’re a sound designer and you know what one-point perspective is); if you puff yourself up to full Gerard Butler swagger before fighting your way onto the red line. We can all spot fellow SCADites from miles away, so I’ve decided it’s time to turn the mirror inward. Welcome to (Cult)ure, a biweekly column dissecting the ins-and-outs that make us SCAD kids SCAD kids. It’s a laugh-so-you-don’t-cry sort of thing.
We’re beginning midterms in this very strange Fall quarter, so, even if it was just in freshman foundation classes, each of us has surely been through a critique or two. Some of us may dread critiques (especially in foundations; stay strong kids, we’ve all been there) but once you’re in upper level major classes, critiques become more engaging and your peers’ opinions become more valuable. Maybe you even enjoy it.
But, no matter how merrily you skip to class on critique day, there’s at least one student you can’t stand. He or she may or may not bother you on other class days, but when critique rolls around, they become insufferable. We all know one, or two or ten of those students who make critiques miserable.
There are five critique archetypes that seem follow me from class to class, so I’ve put my careful analysis and extreme judgement to task to bring you The Critique Field Guide for the Unsuspecting Art Student.
- The Disney Princess
This is the person who starts their every comment by saying, “I just wish…” and trailing off into esoteric advice that would essentially turn your project into theirs. They look you directly in the eye while they’re talking, too, and gently wave their hands in air. It would be vaguely threatening if it made any sense at all.
Bonus points: if they say “and so yeah” in every other sentence.
- The Lawyer
This kid isn’t even critiquing, but instead it’s their work under scrutiny. And they feel the need to respond to every single critique, justifying their choices. Honey, we know you did that at 3 a.m. because electric blue seemed like a good choice at the time, and also you couldn’t really see your palette, don’t try to tell us you were inspired to use “cobalt” because it was “visceral” and “psychosomatic.” This student isn’t listening to a thing you say during critique, they’re just planning their defense.
Bonus points: if they look at the professor for confirmation every time they finish an argument.
- The Participation Point Guard
I don’t know if this person is lazy or just really nervous, but they make sure to make an inane comment early in the critique, and never speak again. They’re just in it for the participation, and probably don’t care about your critique on their piece, either.
Bonus points: if they talk about your “use of color.”
- The Devil’s Advocate
Okay. We get it. Someone has to be devil’s advocate. But if it’s you every single time, you’re not “devil’s advocate” anymore, you’re just annoying. If the entire class agrees on something and you contradict it just to stir the pot, the student isn’t going to take your advice. Majority rules.
Bonus points: if he or she actually announces that he or she is going to play devil’s advocate before, in fact, playing devil’s advocate.
- The Novelist
We have a lot of these in the writing department. Jokes aside, this student had no idea what they wanted to say when they raised their hand Hermione-Granger-style. Their speech goes on and on and on and honestly, by the time they wrap up, you can’t remember the point that they started out trying to prove. You’ve seen the professor’s eyes skip over them and look beseechingly at literally anyone else to raise a hand, because he or she doesn’t want to open the floodgates, either.
Bonus points: if they sit up and clear their throat before they start.
Good luck with your projects and your critiques this quarter, Bees. And don’t take anyone, including yourself, too seriously.