It was hard to think of creatives that didn’t actually go to art school; we asked around but surprisingly few came forward to say they were never formally trained in their profession. We were surprised when Carl Kleiner told us he hadn’t completed a degree at an arts university, so we asked him to tell us why that was, and how, if at all, it has affected the way he works now. Accompanying this article is a new series by Carl entitled There Will Be Blood – further proof that a three-year stint art school wasn’t necessary for this talented man. Here he is…
In short, the answer as to why I didn’t go to art school is because I didn’t get in!
There are two great universities in Stockholm and a third that is especially good for design. I applied to all of them without being accepted and instead went to a different school that specialises in design that is considered to be ok. I studied there for a year and then an opportunity came to start working as an assistant for the photographer Vincent Skoglund, who was my teenage idol as he was considered to be the greatest snowboard photographer in the world.
I dropped out of school and assisted Vincent for a year. After that I felt the urge to make my own images. Luckily a friend of mine who is a painter had a really nice studio with room for me. After moving in there, a year of experimentation began. Slowly but surely commissions started to come in and one thing led to another.
“I wouldn’t ever encourage people not to study, but if you don’t get into the school you crave, it’s not the end of the world. As long as you have the ambition and the capacity of motivating yourself, an exam is not always important.”
My wife studied at the great design school that didn’t want me, so even though I didn’t get to study there I was still able to gain access and could take part in the creative energy that exists among talented creative students with high ambitions. Getting to know these students put me in many collaborating situations with them and after they finished school we started to work together. A few of them I still collaborate with now.
I wouldn’t ever encourage people not to study, but if you don’t get into the school you crave, it’s not the end of the world. As long as you have the ambition and the capacity to motivate yourself, an exam is not always important.
Back to School
Throughout the month of October we’ll be celebrating the well-known autumnal feeling of Back to School. The content this month will be focusing on fresh starts, education, learning tools and the state of art school in the world today – delivered to you via fantastic in-depth interviews, features and conversations with talented, relevant, creative people.
- “An endless love story”: Claudine Doury returns to the Amur River to photograph its people
- Peter Millard gives a humorous account of his journey so far
- “They’re the only things I would save in a fire”: A peak inside Hattie Stewart’s marvellous sketch books
- Illustrator Katy Stubbs on moulding her dishy stories out of clay
- Tom Noon on his musical, spontaneous and illustrative approach to graphic design
- Nazif Lopulissa rethinks the shapes and forms of the children’s playground
- “We want to challenge and disturb the audience”: meet graphic design studio Alliage
- Matt Willey leaves The New York Times Magazine and joins Pentagram
- Ikki Kobayashi’s new series investigates the tension between shapes and negative space
- “Perfectly beautiful things don’t attract me”: Heesun Seo on her nontraditional practice
- The Pantone Colour of the Year 2020 makes a statement about peace and communication
- Moleskine’s digital notebook and a visual inventory of Earth win Apple's Apps of the Year