Art School Confidential is a four page graphic narrative lampooning the attitudes, aspirations and clichés of American art school. Originally a black and white comic feature that appeared in Clowes’ comic book Eightball #7, November 1991, it was produced in a colour version published with the screenplay for the film Art School Confidential, 2006.
Daniel Clowes, born 1961, attended the Pratt Institute and his observations and experiences are based on contemporary art school culture. Characters include “Rich guys who draw worse than your seven year old sister!”, Has-been famous artist Professors who couldn’t teach a dog to bark!” ” Self-obsessed neurotic art-girls who make their own clothes!”,”Completely talentless, rich housewives with too much time on their hands”. And includes the cynical advice, “If you must go to art school for God’s sake make the most of it … seldom if ever again in life will you be afforded the chance to scrutinize such an array of losers in an environment that actually encourages their most pretentious inclinations!”
The comic strip began in the humble environs of the art school zine but its humorous observation grew into an art school cult. “Well, I’ll do something about art school that will amuse my 10 friends who went. I really thought nobody else would comment on it or even notice. As it turned out, every single one of my readers was either in art school or had some affiliation with it. They all responded overwhelmingly (and) were all certain I had gone to the same art school they had. The story took on a life of its own for a while.… People would Xerox it and put it up on the bulletin board at school. Somebody else would take it from there and Xerox it again.”