Monday, April 6, 2015

Should Artists Go to University?

J graduating university, circa 2006.

I've been hearing this question a lot recently so I thought I should write a post.

My short answer is YES. Go. Finish it like a boss.

The Skillz.

Not only is college about the most fun you'll even have in your life (If I could, I would be a student forever....) But you will gain some very valuable instruction there. This is true whether you want to major in graphic design, studio art, or any other art form. I would never have the technical abilities I have today if it weren't for the excellent instruction I gained in college classes.

College is like Chicken Pox.

 College is like chicken pox! Do it early if you can! "Doing it later if I want to" gets exponentially harder after you have a life, spouse, and kids. Why wait? Having a bachelor's degree simply compounds the possibilities in your life. If you're like me and change "what you want to be when you grow up" every few years, you'll know that you can choose to be a studio artist, entrepreneur, or... you could even apply to a government graphic designer job. You should give yourself every tool other people have in their arsenal.

Balance the Benjamins

One thing I think an artist should avoid is to get into huge debt to go to college. College is advisable for artists, but not dead necessary like it is for a medical doctor. Don't rack up a $120,000 debt after school. Your artist career will most likely not support that! Look into inexpensive colleges. (I think my alma mater, Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK is the King of Inexpensive. I had zero college debt.) Apply for scholarships. Work student jobs that give you discounts on tuition. Be creative.

You can make it work if you really want to!

JUURI's Golden Advice Point (I wish I would have done this)

 Use your electives and take marketing classes. FOR REAL. I have no idea why it's not required for artists. That is a huge flaw. 50% or more of your time being an artist will involve marketing, whether it's for yourself or a client. Become a guru of it. As for clueless little me, I squandered my electives on stuff like Billiards class and I had to learn marketing on my own time once I desperately needed it.

Reasons Not to Go to College

- If you stumble upon some amazing career opportunity or mad entrepreneurship chance, and things are going so so swell that going to college at the moment would be impractical and in fact impossible.
- .........

That's the only one I can think of. Please feel free to let me know what you think!