Hello you creative mogul! I hear that you’re interested in pursuing the wonderful career path of art! First of all, congratulations! I’m very excited that you have decided to choose this path. With all that being said, I’m sure you’re still a little fuzzy considering what art school is all about and what you need to actually pursue art schooling at a higher caliber. Look no further! I am here to lay out the basics steps to take when considering a path of creative-based education!
Art School Is Tough
This is one thing that you should know before you really decide that art school may be something for you. Don’t be fooled by the art school stereotype that it will be easy. I have found that many of my traditional classes are easier to get through than my art classes. Art courses require a lot of in class time and outside of class time so you better be ready to get real dedicated in your work and be able to act self disciplined when doing homework on weekends. It’s not just about “A” for effort here. If I scared you, I absolutely love art school and wouldn’t change it for anything because I am passionate about art. If you’re passionate about creating, you’ll do just fine!
Do Your Research
Now that you feel pretty committed to pursuing the arts, what might you want to concentrate your work? Illustration, sculpture, graphic design, painting? When researching schools, don’t forget to look at schools local and far and then see what scholarship opportunities they offer. Many private institutions are very generous with their scholarships. Also research the specific program for each school you’re looking at and see if it is notable for that line of work. Finally, research the field of study you would like to go into and research the data for the job market. Are there job opportunities in your field? As much as we like art, we all still need a plan to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. This research will also provide as good content to present to your parents you are trying to convince to let you attend art school.
Do You Have a Portfolio?
Most art programs in the United States require a portfolio submission during the admissions process. The school I attended required an digital submission of 10-15 various works of different mediums along with a letter of recommendation. Make sure that your portfolio contains only your strongest work. I recommend quality over quantity. It is much better to have 10 solid pieces of work instead of 15 half and half pieces. You may want to think about developing your own print portfolio if print is required for your admission.
Art Supplies Is Expensive
As much as art schools have plenty of wonderful resources to provide to students to make the most out of their work in school, you are expected to purchase a lot of supplies on your own that can very easily expand past the regular price of one textbook for a class. I recommend looking through your belongings to see if you have any supplies and look online for resources of cheaper supplies. I have many times found cheaper alternatives than what my professors recommended and did just fine in the course. Saved money, still producing the same work!
Do You Have Thick Skin?
This is something that takes getting used to once you’re in art school, and that is dealing with critiques. In art school, your work will be constantly critiqued by professors and fellow students. Your work will be welcomed with open arms in some cases while other cases may leave you wanting to rip your work into shreds and cut your ear off like Van Gogh. It’s okay! Your students and professors are only here to make you better in your work, not to insult you. The reality is that artistic careers are much more competitive than 9-5 careers and that requires your work to be criticized if you want to produce the best product that stands out from the rest.
Are You Passionate?
I briefly mentioned this earlier. If you are not passionate about your work, it is going to be much more difficult to survive in art school. Most of the students I have met who have been successful in their schooling live and breathe their work. I also see people who solely rely on their talent before attending school to get them through and they fall behind very quickly. If you are constantly working at bettering your craft, you will completely blossom in art school.
There are plenty of amazing things about attending art school. Depending on your school, you will have access to a plethora of resources that will help better prepare you for the competitive career path which is art. You will find yourself wanting to give up and settle for something more stable, but it will all be worth it if you keep plugging along and work hard. Hopefully you chose this career path because you’re passionate about it. If it is your passion, much of the work will feel like play and you’ll never work another day in your life! With that, have a fantastic Monday!