Last year, Ian and I both started freelance jobs making emoji for a messaging start-up. It’s my first art-related job (shout out to the nepotism of my high-school ex, who was in charge of hiring). To learn how to use Adobe Illustrator, as was required for the job, I took a course on for $30. I tried not to think about the $3,000 Adobe Illustrator class I took in art school that somehow taught me nothing. The only thing I remember creating in my $3,000 Adobe Illustrator class is an elephant version of Oscar Wilde. My elephant Oscar Wilde vector art is very painful to remember because of how ugly and stupid it was, and how many weeks it took me to make it. Long Live Obsolete Hard Drives With Old Art on Them That You Are Eventually Forced to Throw Away!

Maybe I can climb the emoji corporate ladder and someday land a top-tier emoji-design position that will possibly pay me enough for me to get my life together. The only thing I imagine stopping me is the fact that I’m barely interested in the field. The other day I had to check my phone to see if a tree emoji existed in iOS because I just don’t even care enough to retain that information. There are, in fact, three tree emoji, four if you count the palm tree on an island, five if you count the cactus. But I wouldn’t recommend it, because a cactus is not a tree. I even Googled “is a cactus a tree?” to make sure, because I don’t trust myself with anything. Sometimes I’m glad I went to art school, because the lack of general education is a really good excuse for not knowing extremely basic things about the world.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I regret art school. Art school is amazing. It’s four years of slowly eating Stouffer’s lasagna out of the cardboard bowl it was cooked in while pondering the meaning of your self. It’s fancy, self-indulgent, and technically an education. You can tell people you’re going to college and they conjure images of you studying textbooks and learning how to think rationally. Meanwhile, you’re writing a long prose poem about how eating food from McDonald’s is impossible while warming up Stouffer’s lasagna in the microwave (it was my thing). I honestly feel lucky that banks wanted to prey on me so badly they lent me money for art school and billed me later. It was there that I learned that art is something to be taken seriously, to better yourself with, to help you engage with the world.

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