If you are about to attend Gray’s School of Art for the first time, you probably ought to know, Gray’s School of Art is the best art college in the world – if you want it to be. Look at the building, look at the surroundings, look at the library, really what else do you need? On top of that, the most important reason it is the best art college in the world, is YOU are there.
Having been a student at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen in the late eighties, here is my advice for new students. I am well aware there will have been significant changes, but some elements will be similar to my time.
Enjoy the city of Aberdeen
The city of Aberdeen is a magnificent place. The granite buildings are beautiful, the people are nice, there’s mock chop suppers, and a wonderful football team. At Gray’s School of Art the building is a fantastic piece of architecture. The area of Garthdee is close to the centre of the city, and you are a couple of minutes from the beautiful Deeside countryside.
What to watch out for
Avoid at all costs any students with a whiny Central Belt accent constantly whinging about how much better everything in Glasgow is – in particular Glasgow School of Art. They are almost certainly just homesick, missing their Mum, and using a front of superiority to cover this up. Ideally there should be a toll at the Tay Bridge that stops these people getting that far North.
Ignore your tutors
Or listen to them, it’s up to you. Being a tutor at an art college is really not that hard a job. You take talent, you point them in the right direction, off they fly. The idea that at Edinburgh, St Martins, or anywhere else there are better art tutors with better qualifications, or better people skills is just academic elitism. Your perfect tutor maybe doesn’t exist. Your art comes from within. Listen, evaluate, go with your instincts.
Try not get chucked out at the end of second year. Like I did. It’s a long hard struggle without a degree to make it in design, but it’s not impossible. And if ever you come across former Gray’s School of Art head of Graphic Design Ian Cargill, say hi from me. You can read more about the supremely talented and gifted trio of Ian Cargill, Malcolm Brown and Professor Eric Spiller here.
You are welcome. I suppose an honorary degree is out of the question?