Back when I was a secondary school student, there was a special program called the Art Elective Program (AEP). Intended to cultivate artistic talent, it instead left me bored and restless. I got in on the basis of a selection process that tested me on areas I liked, such as drawing, sketching from imagination, etc. I accepted assuming I’d be able to learn more about that.
Instead I found myself a lone island in a sea of geniuses light years ahead of me, doing stuff I really hated such as portrait drawing (since I was rubbish at it), no help for light and shade concepts which were my major weakness (no internet or Youtube in those days!) and then wading through boring, droning lectures on art history, trying to differentiate between Impressionism, Romanticism, Cubism (didn’t know anything about this other than that I hated it), Manet and Monet.
My years weren’t a total loss though. True, I sacrificed technical class, which is where the rest of the ‘normal, less privileged’ boys found themselves, learning technical drawing, using tools, and driving nails and other stuff which would come back and hammer me in the ass years later when I couldn’t drill a hole for nuts.
But something did speak to me. Out of sea of “-isms” which were slowly drowning me with my own tears of boredom and ennui, I was thrown an “ism” as a life raft.
And the boatman was Dalí.