From Rednecks to Urban Art School

By Torrey Deephouse


Words cannot express how glad I am to have gotten away from the shit-town I grew up in. Even the mere fact that I talk to like, four or five people I went to school with feels like a small victory. Allow me to elaborate; my high school was a cesspool of wannabe rednecks driving jacked-up, piece of shit trucks with the Confederate flag plastered across the rear windshield.  Girls wore leggings with Ugg boots and guys wore western shirts with Hollister jeans. I was bullied all throughout middle school until eventually everyone got used to how “fucked up” I was (really I was just the only one who had any sense of anything). But it hurts me now more than it did then. Back then, my only choice was to pull myself up and grow a thicker skin.  But now that it’s not in front of me, I have time to reflect.

I put up a decent front of dry wit and piss humor but when it all comes down to it, but I’m still as insecure and self-conscious as I was back then. Although people have tried time and time again to tear me down, the idea of making something bigger out of this life is what motivates me to keep trying.   I may sound like a total asshole, but I know that, in reality, I’m better than those people who called me a ‘faggot’ in middle school, and I’m much better than those who would blatantly ask if I was a “guy or a girl.” My life is actually going somewhere. Getting out of that place has opened up so many doors and has allowed me to grow so much as an individual that I don’t even know where I would be had I stayed home. Even though I may have some personal and professional issues to work on, there is no other place I’d rather perfect myself.

In August of last year I began my journey as a freshman in design school. The College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit, Michigan is one of the leading global design schools in its Transportation and Industrial Design departments, and I was lucky enough to be accepted into the Transportation Design program. What I didn’t know was how much I would grow to hate this department and eventually switch to Product Design, which is really just Industrial Design with a different name. The cool factor of attending a leading art and design school is diminished by the fact that every Friday I have to sit through a six hour long drawing studio. From 8:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon, figure drawing beats me senselessly and calls me its bitch.

On this particular Friday my friends and I had attended “Elijah’s Luv Shaq” for Valentine’s Day the night before and felt like complete shit on account of me ignoring the golden rule and drinking beer before liquor. Oops. So not only am I hung over, sitting on a rock hard drawing horse for three and-a-half hours at a time, but I’m also drawing old man balls while doing it. Craig was our model for today and he was sporting the most luscious ginger-fro I’ve ever seen. It was a masterpiece in itself. I really was not feeling it at this day, and my drawing came out looking less like Craig and more like an Indian chief. Our teacher also had us doing this on a charcoal ground applied to newsprint, so it looked like shit before I even began.

Our teacher and I share the same extremely dry, stupid sense of dark humor, and she knows that no one really cares about the class so all we do is draw the figure and attempt bullshit homework assignments. My very best art school friend, Andrew, is in the class with me, along with our friend Sara. A normal drawing 2 session is just us basically dicking around for six hours and having lunch together, it’s like a bad date. Facebook brought us all together and our friendship is a true testament to the power of social networking. All it took was a friend request and a few messages, and Andrew and I were on the same page. He introduced me to Sara, and we spent our freshman year as belligerent as possible.

Please excuse the clichés of the following paragraph as I wish to tell you the meaning of all of this. Going through high school can be a real bitch. People are mean, uneducated, inexperienced, and cliquey doesn’t even begin to describe what’s going on up in there. The days are long, there is no air conditioning, and the hallways smell like farts. But we’re only stuck there for four years before we (hopefully) move on to bigger and better things. I had a very small group of friends in high school (very small as in, like, two friends) because, honestly, I hated everyone I went to school with But when I transitioned to college, I found people like me. I found a group of individuals who are supportive, loving, and understanding of me, all the while showing me a hell of a good time. What I’m saying is that no matter how shitty the school days are, you must wait it out. I assure you that although the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side of that diploma, it gets so much better.

Previous articleUrban Decay
Next articleBetty Shreds: An Interview with Katie Neil Neilson
Don is a Web/Graphic Designer who handles all areas of web design/development, print design, logo and identity packages. We can help with your brand. Don's Design Studio Creatively Done is a Grand Haven, Michigan based web design & graphic design business, Creatively Done is a small, but evolving firm. As the owner/creative director of Creatively Done Don is one of the areas most talented designers in both print and web design fields. Creatively Done is also a grass roots advertising firm. We not only design your business’s marketing materials, but we can help with the decisions on what they should be and with their placement.