Illustration course leader Steve Wilkin recently alighted upon a copy of Picture Post published in 1941 at a sale of second hand objets. With a keen eye and being a well practised collector of visual ephemera (as we all are), Steve purchased the printed publication and happened upon a most interesting article: The life of an art student.
Here follows an extract:
When you read that word "art student", what do you think of? To most people there's something a little outlandish, a little scandalous, about the word. "Ah, you say she is an Art Student?" people will remark, and they nod their heads wisely as if they know just the kind of girl you mean — a slightly hysterical young thing with sandals, bright clothes and a queer hair-cut, who chain-smokes, swears easily, and is always at bottle parties and never at work.
Most of them are faced with the prospect of having to earn their living by art-work somehow, either as easel painters or, more commonly, as advertising artists, illustrators, fashion designers — to say nothing of the sculptors, wood engravers and typographers.
Joshing aside, the article moves on to demonstrate an alignment with today's cohort:
Most of them have the thought hanging over their heads that unless they do work at art school, and work hard, their chances of getting a job, and making a living, are pretty small. Many students work from eight or nine in the morning to nine or ten at night...
In fact, the art student is a very different person indeed from what is usually imagined. Of course there are the snobs — the intellectual snobs especially — and the know-alls and the conceited "geniuses" who turn out to be flops. But generally speaking, as a class, art students are just solid hard workers, as keen to learn all there is to know about their job as any engineer or architect.