Monday, February 29, 2016

When Did You Know You Wanted to be an Artist or Why Go to Art School?

Ann Rea - Artists Who Thrive

 As far as the first part of my question regarding, when I knew I wanted to be an artist, consciously it was probably around the age of 10, when I knew I wanted to learn how to draw in the way that my drawing would match reality, especially when it came to drawing portraiture.

Before writing this blog post today, I happened to come across an article that vehemently and rather cynically made the point, that if you want to be an artist, don't go to art school, and this person was of the opinion that you can learn whatever you need to independent of University, minus the debt.

 And so my topic changed and the post I read bothered me, because going to University to learn about art and critical thinking among my peers, was one of the very best experiences in my life. I love being in a learning environment, and I love learning about art, and I'm in love with art.

Personally, if I go to a doctor, lawyer, mechanic, or any other professional, I want to know that they have attended University and are qualified to work in their professional field. Why should it or would it be any different for artists?

In regards to the money investment, if a student can at all avoid debt, I would strongly advise to do so, however I would never discourage any one from going to University to study and to learn critical thinking. Yes there can be the debt, but unfortunately there is debt everywhere, with most folks being credit rich and cash poor.

Attending the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in the early 70s at the age of 21 and then being unable to finish in my last year due to the death of my young husband, eventually lead me back to return years later at 56, to complete my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Mount Allison University. This is something I will never ever regret.

Attending University expedited my growth as an artist and as a person, in leaps and bounds, in a creative and fecundate environment. I had the wonderful opportunity to learn among my peers, to network, and increase my skills and confidence as an artist within the art community. It was where I was helped to develop my own voice. The professors excelled as artists and teachers with integrity and never fed me bull shit. They knew what they were talking about.

I now see being an artist from two perspectives. One, there is having an art career, and second there is having a business. We sell emotion as artists unlike any other business. Selling art in the art world can really suck and will mostly gobble you up, spit you out, and you'd better be prepared to bleed.

Starting an art business is the most practical approach for an artist I believe. The most important lesson for me has been to find my creative purpose and create value above and beyond my art. 

Learn about art, create, be diligent, work at your art and educate yourself about art as a business, and you can sell you art without selling out. You will be your own boss, setting your own rules within the creative class that Ann Rea speaks about on her site Artists Who Thrive.

 "A plan to do business without a plan, is a plan to do no business.” - Unknown


thesycamoretree said...

I understand the concerns of racking up a huge debt because of education, but I wouldn't want to say that it's useless. Some education in one's chosen field can be a push out of complacency and comfort zones.

Unknown said...

Agreed Bev! It's rather troublesome to me to think there are those who are devaluing the importance and significance of getting an education as an artist. As if it somehow isn't valued as much as any other profession. Of course I know many self-taught artists that I greatly respect and admire and that is a wonderful thing but I don't know too many who wouldn't love the opportunity to study in a good University.