First day of art school, fresh faces, sharpened pencils from 4H-6B, the smell of rag paper, and new aluminium tubes of paint waiting to be squeezed. Look to your left, that classmate probably won’t be with you by the end of the year. Look across the room, that classmate probably won’t be there by the winter semester. In my last post I wrote about why you should go to art school, well here are my reasons why you shouldn’t go to art school.
1- Art is more of a hobby and past time than a job
When you go to art school, it becomes like a job. Show up to class, do the work, hand in the project, get feedback and grade, next project. Also, you’ll be juggling art projects from different classes which will most likely all be due around the same time. The reason people often drop out is because they realise that although they like art, perhaps they didn’t like it as much as they thought they would as a job. While you might sell a painting or two, you can’t imagine surrounding yourself with as much art as you do in the first year.
2- You don’t really want to change or expand your practice
If you want to paint and draw cats all day long then go for it, just don’t expect it to be accepted at the school. In art school their job is to teach you and help you develop critical thinking skills, conceptual and visual relationships and to expand your visual and abstract vocabulary. If you really don’t want to expand that or work with any other subject matter thats totally fine, its just that art school is probably not for you.
3- You’re not interested in the why
Art school includes within every year art history classes. The first year or two will consist of more formal training such as recognition of art periods, artists and historical contexts while the following years branch off into more abstract and modern art classes. All of these classes contain writing components and are essential to understanding the why and what about different art periods and how art has grown throughout the ages and how art has been used throughout the ages.
4- You don’t know the difference between art school and art class
Everyone loves the high school art teacher. Why? Because they are usually fun, understanding, let you be yourself, etc. Art school is not like art class. Art school is a formal training to educate you as an art professional. That’s why you usually will spend the first year learning about design elements, doing projects like a colour wheel and drawing spheres and cubes. For the most part you don’t even get to touch any subject matter that you are interested in until sometime in your second year. Most high school art teachers don’t receive the same extent of art education as you do in art school, because their degree is based on learning about pedagogy as well as art.
I hope this gives you a better insight into why art school may or may not be for you. Let me know in the comments!
Oh hello, welcome to my blog, hacking a BFA. Is it an academic blog or is it just an art blog? I don't really know. Some of this might be relevant to art students only, some of it relevant to art amateurs......does it really matter? I invite you to treat this blog as an art buffet. If you want something more in depth...its here, something more geared to art newbies....it's here. Enjoy!
Melissa Cayford is an artist, designer and educator bent on making art and art education more accessible.