To go to school or not to got o school?
That is the question for many artists and art students, and this question has been asked to me on several occasions, or the topic has come up in several conversations I have taken place in. And unlike most careers and academic majors, this question is not as easy to answer as most may think.
Conventional wisdom, and thus the conventional answer is obvious: get your education to ensure a well paying job, or at least it will ensure a quality education. But as you may know, the world of art can be subjective, so subjective to the point where ones academic background can be found irrelevant as a standard to an artist’s quality of work.
Or in other words, I have met and seen great artists who did not take one step into an art school or college of any kind, and on the other hand I have seen artists with their MFA’s(Masters in Fine Arts) produce work which I personally do not care for(though I am sure others do, again it comes back to the subjectivity of our craft. Naturally I have seen very talented MFA artists. The point is many people will argue you do not need a technical academic art education to be a successful artist.
I disagree, but for a more unconventional reason.
It is true, that you can teach yourself the technical drawing and artistic skills to become a quality artist, it is also true that you may have great natural talent that allows yourself to be a quality artist as well. But even if you are an artist that fits into one of these two categories, I still suggest pursuing art in an academic environment and here is why:
“It is not what you know, it is who you know”
Yes we are back to a similar theme to previous blogs. Being involved with the art program at an academic institution allows you to meet other artists and art teachers that will end up being your peers and colleagues. They will open doors to galleries, art fairs, art festivals, and overall exposure that it may be near impossible to accomplish otherwise. The biggest show of my young career is being formed and organized for November. I will be showing 12 to 16 artworks that month and it was all because one of my fellow classmates in school is looking to put on this show and invited me with 3 other students in the same class to show our work.
Of course it is more than possible to get connected and seek exposure, via the internet obviously like I wrote in a previous blog, and also going to galleries yourself and try to get into a their next show, but getting into said gallery would be much easier if one of your classmates ran the gallery or at least was an employee their.
I will admit that I have learned little technical skills as an art major in my local community college, but since I have majored in Fine Arts, I have met several Friends and colleagues who have helped me push forward my career as an artist.
I like to think I am doing all I can by attending school, attending workshops, and making myself available as I can on the internet. A combination of all these things, as well as future outlets I am not aware of yet should continue to help in making people notice the work I am producing.