EP 08: Do We Need To Go To Art School Anymore?

Is Art School really worth your while? Dina and Angi are back for round two in breaking down the pros and cons of Art School, and if it’s the only way to kickstart your career as an artist. If you think a traditional send off to college is the only option you’ve got, then give this episode a listen!

 

How was your experience at art school?

Talk about learning more from a school’s library more than it’s own professors!? Angi, attended Universidad Véritas, which at the time was the only school offering animation and concept art in Central America.

Dubbing herself and fellow peers as guinea pigs, since the course was pretty new, Angi opened up about the toxicity of her school’s environment and the general lack of respect the professors showed towards the students.

She also touches on keeping up with the workflow and maintaining grades as well as trying to pay for all of this; we’re talking two part-time jobs. This being said, the entire experience chalked up to an approximate $72,000 in costs. Not cool.

Dina goes on to relay her own experience having been scammed by the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, subsequently deciding to transfer out to Full Sail University in Orlando. In this case, second time was a charm. Arriving the year the University kicked off their Digital Arts and Design program, the school encompassed creative avenues ranging from motion graphics to web design.

Needless to say, this is what we envision when considering art school. A place of guidance, community, and hard work. One that will teach you the value of “pulling oneself up by the bootstraps”.

 

Do your research, then commit.

So guys, use your resources. Take Google out for a spin. Cold email. Do you have a friend of a friend who’s brother might attend there?

College/university usually means putting down the big bucks and taking out loans. If you think art school is the place for you, make sure you know what you’re paying for, and what best aligns with your goals.

If your goal is to intern or perhaps start your own thing, then maybe that money meant for college would be better spent investing in building a business. Who’s anyone to tell you that you can’t?

Just make sure you’ve covered all your bases, regardless of your path.

 

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Despite not having been the best experience, what are the most valuable lessons you took from having attended art school?

Angi discusses that by juggling her study and part-time jobs, more often than not, she had to settle for done-and-not-perfect. She was dealt some real-world experience which, in turn, contributed to a concrete work ethic and a thick skin.

Having only been with the same classmates from kindergarten through high school, it served as her first independent step out into the world and all that comes with growing up and finding your path.

Granted, it’s not always sunshine and butterflies, but we roll with the punches.

 

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If someone were considering art school, what reasons do you think they should go for?

First off, don’t expect the romanticized college experience. Then again, if that’s what you get, you’re a lucky bugger.

Now, more importantly, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in a like-minded community, then art school is definitely something to consider. However, as we mentioned earlier, really put the time in to research your school of choice before committing. It will serve as a platform that will give you that designated period of time to hone in on your skills and legitimately delve into potential career paths. With a community already in place, you have access to an endless array of clubs, events and general opportunities to network and connect. School can be a real blessing when trying to find your group of people, let’s not discount it.

Lastly, the resources. Whether that be the library, tech or supplies, you’ll be a kid in a candy store. It’s an environment that will ultimately test you, but give you those necessary tools to kickstart your career.

 

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You’re making art school sound pretty solid, why wouldn’t I go?

Cue headache number one. The financial burden is real. You’ll most likely have to take out a loan if you’ll want to experience any of the aforementioned glories.

Also, have you ever given any thought to a school’s curriculum? If they’re dishing out the same assignments to everyone, you’d better double that effort to stand out. Perhaps by being in such a saturated pool where everyone’s getting the same work, it will help you better understand your style, and make it stand apart (as this is, eventually, what you will be hired for).

Yet, many are starting to question the rigorous schedules that students abide by. It can lead to physical and mental deterioration in health, and total burnout before you even join the workforce.

It really comes down to knowing yourself, what you want, and how you want to go about reaching your goals. As Einstein pointed out, you can’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree.

 

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School, or no school?

Bottom line, having a degree doesn’t guarantee a job. That little piece of paper isn’t all it’s cut out to be anymore, and it definitely isn’t worth four years of your time, never mind seven (props to Angi).

Maybe you’re just looking to go full gap-year-galore or join an exchange program. Have your own project you want to get off the ground!?

And if you’re not a self-starter, there are plenty of short-term programs/online classes. Speaking of which, Dina’s upcoming three-month course focusing on social media and online marketing might just be the thing for you. 

Having said all this, we do just want to underline that whatever direction you decide to go in, this decision isn’t be-all-end-all. We totally get that at the moment, it’s beyond daunting, but see it as a chance to explore this new season of your life. We can always pick ourselves up by the bootstraps.

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ANGI PAULY

Illustrator & Concept Artist


Aftri Marrisk
Editor & Lettering Artist
Pontianak, Indonesia
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Rachel Campbell 
Illustrator and Animator
Based in Amsterdam
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THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN AND EDITED BY OUR AMAZING VOLUNTEERS