I was recently asked to chaperone art students from the high school I graduated from in Federal Way for a day at the zoo. They were sketching for the day, so I brought along my sketchbook to do some work with them and see some sights. Near the end of the day I passed the orangutans area and was struck at how down the male and female pair in the window of their environment were. Folks were passing and patting the window, which didn't seem to make much impact on the orangutans. I took my turn and had a revelation that we aren't that far removed from where these orangutans are, and it hit me to share my sketchbook with them.
The following video was made by Ed Crossan who teaches at Thomas Jefferson. This moment was the highlight of the day for me and I plan on going back semi regularly to share forthcoming pages with the orangutans.
"A characteristic of artistic education is for people to tell you that you’re a genius. […] So everybody gets this idea, if you go to art school, that you’re really a genius. Sadly, it isn’t true. Genius occurs very rarely. So the real embarrassing issue about failure is your own acknowledgement that you’re not a genius, that you’re not as good as you thought you were. […] There’s only one solution: You must embrace failure. You must admit what is. You must find out what you’re capable of doing, and what you’re not capable of doing. That is the only way to deal with the issue of success and failure because otherwise you simply would never subject yourself to the possibility that you’re not as good as you want to be, hope to be, or as others think you are."
Moholy-Nagy - Sunday Brunch