Not an Artist? It Doesn’t Matter Anymore

Bauder College
Dear Bauder College,
Thank you for your interest in the field of Graphic Design. I found your newest television commercial, in which a representative for your school cheerfully proclaims “Not an artist? It doesn’t matter anymore!”, to be particularly exciting as it helped prove a point that I’ve long been trying to convey to my colleagues in the arts. The reason I’m writing this open letter to you is to express my happiness that you’ve had the guts to take a Post-Modern leadership position on what makes a person an artist. Thank you for stating unequivocally, as an institution of higher learning, that sophisticated graphics software has finally reached a state that eliminates the requirement that the operator have even a passing knowledge of the fundamentals of art assembled over the entirety of human history.

I always knew that stuff was bunk.

Sure, I still worry that there are a few holdouts in the education community who believe that artistic talent is an inherent ability that (when nurtured and encouraged) can produce sublime works able to touch the soul and elevate the human condition. But, with Adobe’s announcement of a free online version of Photoshop, I’m fairly positive that those old education crustaceans will be ferreted out of hiding soon enough, to be exposed to the heavy heel of Bauder College’s new catchphrase! Silly old sods, couldn’t they see this coming?

It’s past time that an accredited 4-year community college had the guts to step forward and lead the world into that bright, gauzy future where anyone can be anything they want to be, as long as they have the right software loaded on their computer (you know, like in that movie ‘The Matrix’?). Haven’t we learned by now that it’s “not what you know, it’s what your computer knows” that’s important?

I surely have.

The man who sold me my first Macintosh-style computer told me that it was “insanely great*” and that it would let me “create professional graphic design right out of the box”. Oh boy was that guy right! It took me awhile (probably ten years or more) but because of that software I can proudly say that I earn my living today as a Designer (with a capital ‘D’).

I love all the automatic things in today’s software, like Photoshop’s “make me look younger” button and Illustrator’s “make the chart look more professional” button and PowerPoint’s” can you please help me fix this slide because my team needs to walk out the door with this presentation in five minutes and I have no idea what I’m doing” button. These things make me look like a champ every time and I *love* it!! Oh… and where would I be without CSSEdit’s “figure out how the box model for IE works and make my site do it correctly because I have no idea how to do it” button?

I want to MARRY that button!!

But then I’m just a hopelessly lazy romantic.
Software buttons are amazing.

Truth be told, it’s entirely because of all the sophisticated software installed on my Macintosh-style computer that I’m as important as I am now… and I’m pretty sure that I might in fact be even more important…. if I can get the software.

I mean, come on!!
The software is out there, it’s just a matter of finding it and loading it onto my Macintosh-style computer.

Looking through all the available software makes me realize that my career options are boundless!!

Airline Pilot
While I’m pretty certain that I could become a darned good pilot with some flight sims I just don’t have the patience to sit through all that instrument crap. Pilots have a button for that stuff, right? I like the hours they work and all the stewardess sex they say they have, and even though they whine a lot, how bad could it be driving a bus through the sky to Paris? PARIS!! I hear that some airlines in the Midwest even let their pilots drink when they’re working… how cool would that be? You know, if someone would send me a Space Shuttle simulator that runs on my Macintosh-style computer I might even pursue my 6th grade dream of being an astronaut. I’m telling you I’d *love* wearing an astronaut jacket and pushing all those “space buttons” they have. If learning some software is the price I must pay to earn my flight wings then I’m up to the challenge… reporting for duty sir!

Billionaire Warlord
My growing familiarity with Microsoft Excel has already made me consider whether I might ought to put in a resume for Chairman of the Federal Reserve, though I feel that Donald Trump is truly looking for a trustworthy disciple to carry forth his good work. I feel that I must be able to work Excel better than The Donald, which really makes me feel that he should be replaced quickly, to protect the investors who back his endeavors. (Can anyone point me toward the “keep my hair from looking like a deceased (but randy) wombat” button in Excel??)

Legendary Director
By mid-summer I’m hoping to have signed a significant motion picture deal as my Macintosh-style computer has both iMovie and Final Cut Express installed on it. Some of you may already be fans of my films. Best of all is the “pull the clips into a final edit” button. It requires no understanding of storytelling whatsoever. See?

Writer
I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m already off to a great start in this world where software, not talent, is what counts. Consider this very WordPress blog (the one you’re reading right now) for instance. Its many features and user-definable options make writing effortless… for instance, at this very moment I’m down at the local pizza parlor drinking a beer, yet this article is indefinably compelling and vaguely humorous. Cool, huh? I’m pretty sure it’s from all the plug-ins I’ve installed.

So, in conclusion (my software is running out of wind), let me salute the leaders at Bauder College; a place of vision. A college whose leaders recognize that we live in new and exciting times where software does everything.

Where no one individual’s talents are encouraged or celebrated…. wish we’d had this stuff at my alma mater, Georgia Tech. Sheesh, that would’ve been awfully darn handy!

But THANKS Bauder.
Thanks for joining me to stand up with a little straight talk about the future.

I’ll certainly think of your television advertisement the next time one of your students sends me their resume!

Your pal,
Drew

* a favorite saying of a computer company guy named Steve Jobs, who (as I understand it) sells computers that already let you do foolproof graphic design

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