Removing the Dust of Daily Life

Frida_Kahlo_(self_portrait)

Ermahgerd: The author as Frida Kahlo

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

– Pablo Picasso

Over the years I’ve found that I increasingly spend more and more time on my computer, and have less and less time to devote to art projects. I used to paint, sketch, and visit art museums constantly. Now, my schedule is too full given my academic workload, and extracurricular physical and social activities. Further, the high cost of art material and difficulty in transporting such material has meant that I have regrettably not done anything for a very, very long time.

Thus, much of my creative urges have found a home in the corners of my academic work. Graphs and tables can be beautiful. Fieldwork photos demand editing to maximize their aesthetic poignancy. Even spending hours composing PowerPoints was refreshing. Still, my soul seemed to be getting lost in the dust piled on by daily life.

Recognizing that this situation was not going to ameliorate itself, I decided that I needed to gain some new skills for being creative in the 21st century. And so, this Fall, I finally took the plunge, and signed up for an Adobe Photoshop course offered at Dawson College through the Centre for Training and Development. Going in, I wasn’t sure how it would work out—I’m not the most tech savvy person out there. But the low price (~350 CAD for 30 hours of instruction) and low commitment (i.e., no homework) made it a sensible choice. What did I have to lose?

I cannot say enough good things about my experience. The course instructor was knowledgeable and charismatic. Classmates came from a variety of different careers, and age groups. While a three-hour course on Thursday evenings might seem grueling, skill-building exercises and jokes made the time go by quickly. And a 15 minute break half-way through allowed for a quick trip to the Tim Horton’s in Atwater metro for well-deserved caloric treats.

In addition to Adobe products and other computer skills, the Centre offers a variety of other courses in photography, language, arts. Courses vary in terms of cost, dates, and length. Take a look at the Winter 2014 schedule here.

My course has now ended, and I can proudly say that I am Photoshop certified. Last week I installed the Adobe Creative Suite, which was purchased at a big student discount at the McGill bookstore. Though I’m certainly not angling for a career change into graphic design, I am happy to have learned a new skill that is at once useful and allows an outlet for my creativity.

After all, who doesn’t want to put their face on famous paintings?

2 responses to “Removing the Dust of Daily Life”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Looking forward to seeing the graphics you’ll be posting… any memes in the future?

    • Emilio Dirlikov says:

      I’m not sure just quite yet memes, but I certainly have had some good laughs at making some specialized scenes for my friends in the lead up to the holidays. More to come soon!

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