Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Art Blog: Blue Jeans?

This is such bullshit. Sorry for my language, but I can’t help it. I have been an artist since the 70’s. Yes, I am that old. I have been an art educator since 1980. I cannot remember a time when my teaching dress code has ever been an issue. GeesssH!! I am artist for crying out loud! I have 30 years of jeans and T-shirts in my closet. Despite this fashion faux pas, I have managed to help students of every demographic category LEARN and learn well. We have won awards. We have strutted our stuff. We have done REALLY GOOD!

I have been told I cannot wear blue jeans while teaching. It isn’t “professional”. Well………………………I wear jeans because I am the kind of person who gets down and dirty. I am not a “pointer”. That is what I call art educators who come to work in a suit or precious clothes, and POINT at students: “You do this. You do that, etc,” never touching or feeling the materials. They do not get on the floor and paint or help kids mix plaster or show them how to work the potter’s wheel in a real life manner.

I am not that kind of artist or art educator. When I work with students, it is the same as if we were working in my studio. Would I wear dress pants in my studio?
HELL NO!

This is just another example of how so many people in society have no idea what we do as artists. This is an example of how our society doesn’t understand the arts AT ALL! They have no clue. This is very sad. I have to say and admit, the demand to wear dress clothes is offensive to me. It really is. I am not one of THOSE kinds of people. When my day is done, you know I have worked and experienced life. I am not a “POINTER”.

I am a working ARTIST!




17 comments:

Cristen said...

She told you not to wear jeans? WTF?

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh Cristen. Can you believe this? This is why I have been in contact with you so much this week. I am so fragile right now. Everything seems so stupid and idiotic. I really don't know what is real or what is insane. I am just trying to cope.

I am so glad a raised a daughter who is so wise and stable. If it wasn't for your words of reason, I just don't know what I would do. I feel the world is crazy right now.

RJ said...

Yeah, what the funk?! I agree with you 1000%!!!

In my eight years of teaching HS art, we have gone through a number of principals. Each time, I wonder if they are going to say anything about the fact that I wear jeans pretty much every day. Fortunately, it's not been a problem. Working at an arts school, things are pretty cool in that regard.

Hey, here is an idea: pick out some "approved" clothing, designate it as your "art class" duds, go ahead and get a bunch of paint all over them, and make this your routine! I don't know if that would fly or not, but I like the idea... it's like "okay, here's your freakin' dress clothes, you a-holes! In yo' FACE!!!"

gilda said...

THIS IS EFFING INSANE!!!! Sheree, this is criminal! I have the same designer as you, LEVI STRAUSS! and I just finished telling someone on my Facebook page that I dont own a dress, that I live in jeans because of my two jobs....teaching in a studio and working in a studio!! Who can I write to to give you support? Hell, I am the chair of my department and no one is dictating my choice of apparel!!

You have to hold on, Sheree. You have total support. You are right, you are the down and dirty kind of teacher which makes you so good. Your students get twice as much because of this.

Tell me how I can help you! Next thing will be them dictating hair style!!!

OOOOOHH I am mad

Sheree Rensel said...

Gilda and RJ, This is beyond bizarre. It has never been easy for me to accept reality or the status quo. I mean, I know I am not a part of mainstream society. However, this little glitch has my reeling. I mean, how could I have been so successful during all my art educator years wearing BLUE JEANS? That is a rhetorical question. I think the bottom line of all this expresses the reflection of the Zeitgeist. For many (hopefully not the majority), it is BUSINESS as usual. It is all about appearance and the almighty buck. It is about "looking good" even if you don't bring anything to the table. It is fake. It is false. It is something I don't want to understand. I see myself as being far more substantial in character.
:-(
Sheree

kathy casey said...

Here! Here! I am with you on this one! I am a blue jean girl-through and through. In fact, when I go to fill out my contract the next time... I'm having the blue jeans option put in - so there is never any room for question! (People are so dumb.)

Anonymous said...

Seriously!

How are dress clothes any more professional? The majority of professionals who have built EVERYTHING in this country wear work clothes. They build things. They need to work. If we are teaching people to build things, arts or technology, we should be in clothes that free us to work as well.

Elizabeth said...

it is really too bad that people cannot understand that when one works one works with the hands, and the body and it is messy! It is a stupid message to kids that an artist goes to work in office clothes. You ought to get a real formal matronwear suit at the Value Village or somewhere, some pumps and nylons...the whole nine yards, then wear it to paint in and wear it every frikken day until it has every sort of art supply embedded in it.

Sheree Rensel said...

Kathy. You said it best. Some "PEOPLE ARE DUMB!". I hear you with huge Dumbo ears.

Sheree Rensel said...

Anon & Elizabeth,
This is the funny thing. My true employer, the school district has NO DRESS CODE. In fact, we had a union rep there today that reminded us there is "NO DRESS CODE". This is all too weird for me. I have had such great success as an artist and art educator over the past decades. I have always worn blue jeans, not because I like them; it is because they are functional and durable. The whole situation is a big knotted mess. It is hard to argue your case to someone who has never been a creative person. You know?
In the meantime, my life has become going to work, coming home from work, and looking online for a new job. This is so sick and sad.

gilda said...

Bernie Madoff wore nice suits everyday to work.

Sheree Rensel said...

Gilda,
The Bernie Madoff comment made me laugh so hard, I spit all over my computer!!!! :-)

namastenancy said...

This is utterly insane - in fact, it's so irrational that I suspect she wants you to just quit. But don't do it! Hang in there and hold to your principles! Don't wear jeans when you make art? What world does that ditz live in? I'll bet I know -the world of corporate rules and back stabbing nastiness.
How about wearing a paint splattered shirt over your "nice" pants - fulfill the letter of the law and let the shove their spirit right up their a.....

Sheree Rensel said...

Nancy,
Great minds think alike. In fact, one of my colleagues broke down in tears and nearly walked off the job yesterday. I called her last night to cheer her up. I told her exactly this. I too think that is part of the plan. She wants certain people to become so frustrated they will leave. Actually the more I think about this, the stronger I am getting. In fact, I think the insanity is becoming amusing. LOL

RJ said...

Again, and as some others have said, get some cheap "nice" clothes, mess them up with paint and stuff, and show up like that every day!

Gayle said...

Brings to mind my college sculpture professor who always wore a suit and tie--very arty old tweeds--even when pouring hot metal into our molds. We got a laugh out of that, but he made the choice to wear that outfit. All the other profs wore jeans, of course. Got any arty tweeds laying around to showcase your eccentricities?

deb said...

I could send you some arty tweeds that are gathering dust in my closet while I go to work in yep you guessed it, blue jeans!!