Sacrifice with No Reward

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Hard work leads to success. I was told this repeatedly for years while applying to OCSA. If I spent a little more time drawing I would get in no problem. If I spent a little less time with friends I would get in. If I spent a little more time with a different medium I would get in.

I had a 5% chance of getting accepted. My chances were slim.

I sacrificed a lot of my time. I took three art classes. One in school, one through OCSA, one at an art studio. Six days a week, and one of those days I had two art classes. One was one hour, another was two hours, and the last was three hours. I might as well have had art classes eight days a week. When I came home from school all I would do was draw. My skills were improving immensely. The sacrifice of my time enjoying myself was paying off. I created five solid portfolio pieces and turned in my application.

I had been preparing for this school since 6th grade. I took classes and kept a sketchbook on me at all times  and bought art books and watched videos of people using different mediums.

My classes were rigorous. I would need to produce a portfolio piece once a week. These pieces would take up to eight hours of drawing to twenty. Sitting for hours at a desk studying pictures and drawing what I see (not what I know) was tedious. My posture has actually been forever effected because of art. Drawing became my everything, but it was also losing its value. 

I blocked out everything. Hanging out with friends more that once a month was seen as too distracting. My weekends I had too spend at LEAST six hours a day drawing something worthy. If I wanted to draw what I wanted, it could only be after I produced a worth while piece.

I love people. I love drawing people. My portfolio had to include a self portrait but no other pictures of people. Still life’s were the most important pieces in my portfolio and I despised this.

How can drawing three fruits and five different arrangements be entertaining? How can it be fun drawing something like this:

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I’ll save you the suspense, it can’t be entertaining. No artist is in love with their art, but every artist should be in love with what they are creating. I hated what I was creating.

Every week I cried. I’d come back from a class and wouldn’t be able produce any good material and cry about it until someone calmed me down and I could start drawing again. I had panic attacks if one of my drawings was criticized and deemed unworthy. On top of being forced to draw these boring objects, I was constantly having to throw away these drawings I worked so hard on because I “colored the wrong direction” or “didn’t draw dark enough.”

I was unhappy, but I continued to take intense art classes and improving my skills in  charcoal drawings of eggs and black vases.

And yes, I really have seen this fifty four minute long video on how to draw an egg.

A response from OCSA came weeks later. I was rejected. No tears. Relief swept over me and I immediately realized that I spent four years of my life preparing for this moment and failed, but felt absolutely no grief. If anything, I was frustrated. I sacrificed so much time and happiness with no results.

Its been three years since I applied and I still hate my art. All I can draw are pictures of silk  or sad small seashells. My sacrifice and effort destroyed my love for what I did possibly forever. Those years I can’t take back and the wounds it’s left on my talents will stay perhaps for my whole life. I’m glad now I didn’t get accepted. My friends now are perfect and I have found love for other things like music.

Sometimes sacrifice can’t lead to success.




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