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My art teacher totally should have called the cops. Or a shrink.

A few weeks ago, while cleaning out their house, my parents found my old high school art portfolio, which they sent home with me.  It brought back some memories of the 1990-1994 years.  My art teacher, Mrs. Ring, was a huge hippie.  (Was? Is.  I mean, I assume she’s still alive unless she died in some freak paint-sniffing accident.)

She loved symbolism and managed to fall into a lot of the stereotypes that you think about when you consider high school art teachers.  Relaxed, not really concerned with rules, flexible with grades and attendance, high half the time, etc.

At that point (who am I kidding?) in my life, I prided myself on being controversial purely for controversy’s sake.  The way I figured it, by being controversial with my art, I’d be more likely to get a higher grade and I could keep my GPA as high as possible.  I took International Baccalaureate Art with Mrs. Ring for three years, maybe four.  And the fruits of my labor could be called art, but let’s be honest and call it “shit” instead.

First, as we go through my portfolio, we see the basic still-life pieces, cornerstone to any art class, followed by the surrealism piece that shows that I was destined to be a fat kid:

Piston Still Life

Clear Still Life

Chocolate Surrealism

But then we get to the senior thesis part of my art class.  Using different media and different techniques, we had to demonstrate a theme.  And apparently (although I can’t remember exactly) my theme had to do with sex and oppression.

Computer Art

This was the computer graphics portion of my thesis.  Keep in mind this was in 1993-1994. We have four different pieces all depicting women keeping men down.  From top left, clockwise:  Woman pushing man down with some random text about white males getting the shaft, Ms. Pac Man eating the male ego, a woman’s hand coming out of a man’s crotch (or is that a womb?) and a sword wielded by a woman going through the face of a man.  I bet Freud would have had a field day with these, although I was purposely trying to shock Mrs. Ring.  Which never worked, either. She was fucking unflappable.  Oh, and did I mention that she was a diehard Democrat and I was a hardcore Republican at the time?

Art piece: Abortion

Here’s my social commentary piece.  A nice subtle pro-life piece.  I think this might be mixed media, because I think I see some watercolor and maybe some marker?  Who the fuck knows.

Art piece: Tsipar

This cleverly titled piece depicts a train going into a brown fur-ringed tunnel.  Pictures of women from magazines were cut out to make the mountains around the tunnel, which also happened to look like legs.  On either side of the train are two different hand shapes – one forming a hole and one with a finger protruding.

Art piece: Epar

And this was the highlight of my entire thesis.  I convinced my best friend Sabrina to pose for me and sketched her warding off an invisible foe.  The background contains the lyrics to Toad the Wet Sprocket’s “Hold Her Down”, which may have been the song that inspired the entire thesis.  I had broken mirror pieces glued to the tinfoil cloud, and used tissue paper to make her clothes.

I look through these pieces and realize (1)  I may have been more controversial as a teenager than I am now, and (2) Mrs. Ring really should have suggested counseling after seeing these pieces.  I also wonder, because I can’t remember, if some of my choices were conscious or subconscious.  For example, why is Sabrina’s body separated into pieces?  Why are my hand and fist painted red?  Why are the pregnant woman and the train so starkly white?  Are the reds and oranges present in those pieces on purpose?  Why on Earth did I think I should have gotten laid in high school?

63 thoughts on “My art teacher totally should have called the cops. Or a shrink.”

  1. You didn’t get laid in high school?!


    But seriously – I do like the color and saturation on these pictures, though. The computer graphics pictures should be framed.

    We’ve known all along you should be reported to the cops – or a psychiatrist! 😉

  2. In my junior high class, I painted a mesa and we listened to the same Michelle Shocked album over and over with my ponytailed dude teacher. Then I had some success with cartoons, but didn’t learn that from class.

  3. Alyssa, I think the first one is a still-life of an engine part.

    I had a hippie art teacher too, hair all the way down her back, Miss. Thompson, I wonder if my folks still have my portfolio in their attic?

  4. It’s not surprising your parents were eager to forward your art to you. Mrs. Ring was high? I never saw any of these- I only remember Carla’s portraits. What was your score?

  5. Yeah, these are really something. I think the teacher probably knew you were trying to fuck with her, and/or it was a time before Columbine, and that’s why she didn’t call the po-po.

    Your drawings are much better and more enjoyable now. I’m amused by the incredibly poor rendering of a Clearly Canadian bottle. That was all I wanted to drink, once upon a time, and the bottles looked nothing like that.

    (No offense.)

  6. I’m so sorry that you had a poor education and the teachers didn’t do their duty to repress your creativity and overreact to you being a rebellious teen, even though they’d probably never seen one before in their lives. Fortunately I went to several good schools who properly flipped out over the least thing, such as putting temporary purple dye in my hair at Halloween and drawing a picture of a UFO zapping a family picnic, and that is why I turned out better than you.

      1. @Avitable,

        Just read your piece over at MamaPop and had to come over here and rave here, too. Toad is awesome. Your love of Toad is awesome. Their inspiring your art is awesome. Yes. I just overused a popular ’80s adjective greatly.

  7. Awesome artwork! But if I were an art teacher I totally would have been concerned! LOL! I always admired the controversial out-spoken kids in highschool….they were the ones who had guts to stand out and be different. I wish I could go back to highschool and re-live those days…..good times 🙂

  8. I’m oddly not shocked. I wonder why? *snicker*

    Yes, be thankful it was THEN. Nowadays, they would have analyzed you, interrogated your parents, taken you from the home only to put you in a house where they want your foster care check, pumped you full of meds and forced you into counseling.

    Thank goodness for Homeschooling.

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