My moment at CFAD would be just as the same as the person you have read before or after me. I wouldn’t consider what I experienced as something unique. But I think what I would consider of great importance in entering CFAD would be realizing how worthy my work is for myself.
You see man cannot survive except through his mind. I thought that arming myself with the basic skills of drawing, sketching, and painting would be enough to survive. However, I realized that a man’s brain is his only weapon. From the simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and we have comes from a single attribute of man – the function of his mind.
I’ve also came to realize that the degrees of ability, also varies, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of man’s independence and personal love for his work determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man. I’ve learned to understand that people excel in different fields, the ability is there but the one who puts his heart into it has given it his own personal dignity. If you compare artworks of the same design, would you know who were the persons who gave his whole heart into the work and the ones who didn’t? Just like a man, an artwork has its own integrity, and just as seldom.
Throughout the four years I’ve been to CFAD and probably even some years or centuries before, there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals are different but they have one thing in common, that the step was first, the road new, their vision unborrowed, and the response they received – hatred. The great creators – the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors – stood alone against the men of their time. The first motor was considered foolish, the airplane was considered impossible, the power of the loom was considered vicious. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.
I know that my experience is not of what you expect as a reader, but what I value the most in studying at CFAD is the gift of ideas and standing by that idea. Integrity and self-worth as you may call it. Maybe it is wrong to say that I try to remind myself most of the time that my reward, my purpose, and my life is the work itself. I have more than sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent on working. I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards – and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I’ve learned to stand by my own idea, and I think that’s the most wonderful thing that CFAD has taught me all these years. Integrity, my friend, is the ability to stand by an idea.