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Art School, Is It Worth it?

Updated on February 21, 2020

A lot of artists(young, and older) have this question. Personally, I didn't go to a traditional illustration, or fine arts school. I do, however, have a digital Media Arts degree, over a decade of independant training as an artist, and a ton of student loan debt. I have also been a freelance illustrator for just over ten years. Having said all that, I feel confident that I can shed some light on the art school debate.

When art school makes sense.......

Whether or not you go to art school completely depends upon you, and your occupational goals. If you're looking to work full time for companies, art school will most likely be your ticket to that world. Companies(large, and small) are more likely to hire an art school graduate than a person with artistic talent alone. Most art production companies want to know that a candidate knows the lingo, and standards of the art field. The previous statement is the primary reason to attend an art school, or college in my opinion. You can also gain some really valuable connections from attending a fairly prominent art college program. Speaking of connections, It is really important to network during your time at college. Most big visual arts companies hire their professional friends, and choose new candidates recommended by those friends. In other words, who you know matters tremendously! Schools also give you some type of certificate, diploma, or degree upon course completion that is proof that you have met the schools standards of proficiency in that particular field. A degree/certificate matters because many employers will demand it.

When you should pass on the art curriculum......

Now on the opposite side of the spectrum, what if you're like me, and don't care about climbing a big company ladder? What if you are dedicated to working for yourself, a pure independant, or just unsure about whether you want to even be an artist? In either case, I recommend you skip the art program. Art school is much too expensive for the unsure, or the pure freelancer. When you finish art school, you will more than likely have student loan debt on your shoulders that a freelance career won't be able to tackle for quite a few years.

Let's summarize it all....

To sum things up, go to art school if you're truly willing to work for established companies, going from employee position to employee position. Working full-time for companies is the most efficient way to earn a stable income that will allow you to pay back your student loan debt while making a living. If you're indy to the core, or unsure about your occupational desires, skip the art school, and wait until you can see a little more clearly.

What to do if you just have to know if art school is for you......

Now........... If you just feel like you must know if art school is worth it, and can't shake the desire to at least try, check out my video supplement on how to satisfy your curiosity without going into debt. The link to the video is below!

Thanks for reading!

Art school debate supplement

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Jon Davis


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