When I was 17 I went to the Rhode Island School of Design for a summer pre-college program. I went there to see what it would be like to be an art student and to experience life away from my family for the first time. I was a fairly sheltered child, a do-gooder who thrived on pleasing the adults in my life. As a strong student I was unaccustomed to failure, or really, even challenge. So, understandably, there were many things that happened that summer which would qualify as powerful learning experiences. But the one that sticks with me to this day happened in the drawing class of Bo Joseph. Bo was an almost stereotypical artist-teacher, with his exclusively black wardrobe, passionate but sparse speech, and infuriatingly mysterious instructional style. He would give us incredibly enigmatic assignments like: ‘Go outside. Find something. Make a drawing with it.’ And in my quest to please my instructor I would stress over the specifics of each direction vacillating between thinking I was supposed to take them literally and searching for the higher symbolic meaning in his words. My peers did not seem so encumbered. They’d return in minutes with dog feces and popsicle