Even though I’m not a model/activist, I know a thing or two about depression. I mean, I’m sure everyone has experienced it at some point, and if you haven’t, no matter how many times you’ve read ‘The Secret”, you will. (spoiler alert)
I graduated from Chelsea College of Art this year and I clocked halfway through the course that I didn’t want to be a painter. It wasn’t an epiphanic thing, more that I became increasingly terrified of becoming like Rufus Humphrey (not really having a job but just being around a lot of exposed brick). I’m not slandering artists or saying that they’re all destined to be poor, I just wasn’t loved up enough on painting to pursue it against the odds.
My fellow peers, however, were adamant on becoming artists, and weren’t shy to show it.
The pseudo intellectuals would be arguing about the lecture they just stepped out of, where they’d constantly shoot their hand up and make a point that nobody understood, the alpha boys would always seem to be in less n less clothing as if playing strip poker, the ceramics lot would skip out of the ceramic workshop with their pots n plates, sculptures welded (very seriously), the chatty people chatted away about that one time they ate a whole choccy cake at their Mum’s 40th, painter’s painted, performers performed, people who did nothing at all did exactly that – and then there was me.
I’d be twiddling my thumbs waiting for my artist block to pass, whilst watching KUWTK. Usually I did so eating a panini from the school canteen.
My friend Sarah, who was always in close proximity,would be listening to Kanye West so loudly that I’d mouth “Father Stretch My Hands Part 1“? Then we’d go for cigarettes and find something to complain about. There was this monotonous rhythm to third year; everyday felt like Groundhog Day. Why wasn’t there any drama? People had stopped fucking each other in second year, so the only gossip I could rummage up was that my tutor took a huge dump in the men’s toilet! Filthy bastard!
As we installed our work for our end show I made the, in my mind, “ballsy” decision of painting on the wall. I even hauled my ass to the top floor, to the library, to take out theory books I ended up referencing!! The show was good and the after party turned into the epitome of South London; a lickle too much Boiler Room and not enough eye candy. I ended up as most my nights there did- at a chicken shop by myself, wondering whether I would wake up with food poisoning.
I left school with a 2:1 which I initially thought was pretty good but then people whose art I thought was trash were getting ‘1st class honours’ reading like a fucking Emirates airway advert. I found out my results on a train with my Mom. Whilst she cried tears of joy, I sobbed out of sadness. I thought of my tutor, marking my work from his leather bound iPad which all the tutors carried round like life support. Thanks 4 nothing Jeff. I’d relentlessly revisit my tutor’s feedback, reading out exerts to Mum, who would learn to know them off by heart.
Then something happened… common sense kicked in and reminded me that art is subjective. You knew that before you enrolled at art school. You can read all the Delueuze, Freud and Kant books in the world, but the question is, how many other people have all done the same? – Anna SAMPSON
To create some sort of structure in my life, I thought best to apply for an internship. With my experience in mind, journalism was the path I thought I stood a good chance with. I’d hate writing cover letters to every magazine you could probably think of, lying through my teeth how there was “no other magazine out there like them” and would (I shit you not) drop lines like “ever since primary school I’ve been the class clown and gossip.” To be honest, I was surprised when all of them ghosted me but really it was a blessing in disguise.
-SUMMER THEN ENDED and.._
I ended up getting an internship at a production company in Hackney. In the run up to it, however, I didn’t know what the hell to do with myself. All my friends had secured jobs/ internships, and my only obligations were to binge watch Narcos Season 2. It took me two days to finish, and once I had, I felt the crippling sense of failure. I felt like a bum. I couldn’t be assed to get out of bed, I could recite the entirety of Deliveroo’s menu and also broke out in acne! I blame the waffles at Creams.
On the weekend when I’d see my friends they’d talk about their jobs or whatever which made me feel even worse. It wasn’t even like I had a set goal of what I wanted to do, or be, so I started to get really stressed.
Soon, I began isolating myself further, even though I knew my month long internship was only a couple weeks away. I’d wake up, know that I had nothing pressing planned, and then go back to sleep, as if waking up from a nightmare, realising it was just a dream and then crashing back into the warm embrace of the duvet. What made me feel even more pathetic was that I knew that I should’ve been going to galleries, reading, or whatever cultured people do, and I wasn’t. I didn’t feel like it.
So with all this self loathing brewing, I decided to enrol in a weekly film course around the corner. …
END OF PART 1.