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."Carl Kleiner
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.