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Thread: Dropping out of Business for art school?

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    Dropping out of Business for art school?

    I read the FAQ posted by Jason Manley, and I feel confused as to how to handle my situation.

    I am in Montreal, Canada, 19 years old, currently studying (loosely used term haha) at John Molson School of Business for a bachelor in finance.

    I however, don't care for finance, and love art. Unfortunately when reading around I get the feeling that not finishing Finance and going to get an art diploma is a ridiculous idea, since everyone seems to be of the opinion that the Art degree is worth nothing.

    What are your thoughts on this? Would it be a smarter choice to survive through Business university, all while focusing on developing my artistic skills at home on my free time (I have none) by involving myself with competition, activities on CA,etc?

    I understand that this is a big choice that can only be made by me, but please talk as if you are tasked to make the choice for me.

    Thank you so much for any thoughts.
    Last edited by Pavel Sokov; May 26th, 2009 at 08:27 PM.
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  3. #2
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    I think it's pretty ridiculous to work towards a degree in a discipline you have no interest in. If you know that finance isn't for you, then stop wasting your time and learn about something you care about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    I however, don't care for finance, and love art. Unfortunately when reading around I get the feeling that not finishing Finance and going to get an art diploma is a ridiculous idea, since everyone seems to be of the opinion that the Art degree is worth nothing.
    An art degree is worthless, but an art education isn't. So what you have to figure out for yourself is, will you be able to get where you want without formal schooling? Will you be able to devote the amount of time you need to while still getting a business degree? Do you have any intention of using the business degree, ever? If not, it seems stupid to spend several years of time and effort and several thousand dollars on something you have no intention of using.

    Tristan Elwell
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    My main problem is that I have a fear that a career in concept design just simply does not pay well. I know that some artists make it big, but they are usualy modern artists who came up with something of a fad like preserving sharks in fishtanks and displaying them, and make a few millions. Then of course there is Jason Manley who owns two art companies, and most likely is eating very very very well.

    But what are the chances, you know?

    I was thinking that I can use my business education to raise money in a soul crushing office job untill I can leave that office nest and start something entrepreneurial in the art field.

    Business is terribly boring, I have no love for it. But I'm simply too afraid to pursue my passion I think.
    I always figured it would be a safer bet to get a normal degree, a normal job, and after some semblence of security try to follow my dreams and whatnot.

    thoughts?
    what a tough choice, this is really a hard one to make haha
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    what a tough choice, this is really a hard one to make haha
    Then you've already made it. Stay in business school.

    Tristan Elwell
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    Many artists are bad at business, have poor business skills. Why not learn what you can from the business degree, with a view to using your knowledge then in art?

    Learn art from here, online, or do a degree in it subsequently, or if you are traditionally inclined go to an atelier, once you've got your business degree. (and remember, as Elwell says, "an art degree is worthless, but an art education isn't", but the same might also be said for the business degree, so why not use it as an opportunity to learn skills - and network!! - which will stand you in good stead if you become an artist, or a gallery-owner, or open an art/design-related business).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    My main problem is that I have a fear that a career in concept design just simply does not pay well.
    I have been in your situation, and the best advice I can give is this: if you're considering not doing it because of money, then don't do it. If you are doing it for any reason other than simply wanting to pursue what you're passionate about, then don't do it.

    There are hundreds of aspiring artists whose only hope is to be able to do what they love full time and make enough money to eat and pay rent. Whether or not it pays well is irrelevant to a lot of them. Most of them would be happy to make enough just to live on without having to take on a day job to pick up the slack. These are the people you will have to work harder than in order to succeed.

    You will run into times where you doubt your work and your ability to succeed. You will run into times where other people will doubt your work and your ability to succeed. The artists who make it in the end are the ones who have the passion and drive to work through those times. If you want it, you'd better be prepared to throw yourself at it 100%.

    Many successful concept artists have stories about what they gave up or what they risked to get where they are. I can assure you that most of them weren't worrying about making a great salary, they were just worrying about whether or not they would be able to achieve that dream of going to work and actually doing something they love to do.
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    Hi Pavel,

    I'm kind of in the same boat, but 4 years ahead lol. I'm 23 years old and just graduated last year with a finance degree from a reputable school. For most of my classes, I kind of just coasted along because the interest was never fully there. But I honestly didn't know what else I could do with my life and it wasn't until senior year that I met a very talented film student did I realize that there's more to art than just hobby. But by then, it was too late, at least so I thought. I ended up graduating and signing with a small bank, and have now worked a full year under the company. The work is interesting at times but I can't help but feel like I belong somewhere else. I'm absolutely enamored by some of the beautiful concept art I see around here and on game sites but couldn't give two shits about a complex financial model. As of today, I am considering applying to art school and quitting my job next year to enroll full-time.

    As a kid, I always dreamed of becoming a cartoonist. I don't really know how that passion died (or at least subsided) as I grew up. I suppose it might have been my upbringing (both my parents are first generation immigrants and struggled an awful lot to ensure that I get a financially secure and respectable job). But now that I'm there, I can't say I prefer to be here. And this feeling has grown with me for a while.

    A number of things sparked my decision. First, I took a couple of weekend art classes just to dabble my feet in the water to see how it goes. Needless to say, I loved them and my passion was reborn. Second, on two separate occasions, the teachers of my classes told us their life stories and how they got into art and they were mindblowingly inspirational to me. Long story short, the first teacher lived a very fulfilling life from being a professional dancer to a Wall Street monkey to an executive chef and now an artist while the second teacher came to NY as a young kid with only $50 in his pocket and never lived a day working for someone else, just doing art on his own. As naive as it sounds, these stories helped me realize that one can take full control of his own life given the drive to do it. Third, I met a few art school students/graduates and fell in love with their portfolios/show reels - I really wanted to make something similar of my own. Fourth, I came here and read a number of posts, including Jason Manley's art school one, and managed to piece together a realistic, constructive plan of how to go about becoming a professional artist. Once I realized this was feasible, the decision was easier to make, though still tough.

    After a lot of thought and endless moments of self-doubt and hesitation, I finally came to the conclusion that I'm going to go with this plan and work hard to become a concept artist. Don't be discouraged by Elwell - for anyone who didn't grow up with art/art school, this is clearly a very difficult decision to make or even to wrap your head around. I'm sure there will continue to be several moments of hesitation on my own part going forward, but right now I've reached the point where I don't really see myself doing anything else. I still have a long ways to go in terms of honing my skills, but I'm inspired and encouraged daily but sifting through these forums and watching the progress of some of my peers' sketchbooks.

    This is obviously a problem that only you can answer yourself but my advice would be this: if you really don't see yourself in finance, don't waste any more time studying it. But at the same time, make sure you want to be an artist - do your research and prepare for the struggles ahead. If you search deep down inside and come to the conclusion that art isn't for you, perhaps you have other hobbies or interests that you can pursue as a career. But most of all, be honest with yourself and work hard from there. Being lazy and coasting along will not provide you with a fulfilling life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcorc View Post
    Many artists are bad at business, have poor business skills. Why not learn what you can from the business degree, with a view to using your knowledge then in art?

    Learn art from here, online, or do a degree in it subsequently, or if you are traditionally inclined go to an atelier, once you've got your business degree. (and remember, as Elwell says, "an art degree is worthless, but an art education isn't", but the same might also be said for the business degree, so why not use it as an opportunity to learn skills - and network!! - which will stand you in good stead if you become an artist, or a gallery-owner, or open an art/design-related business).
    This is a common misconception about business school. If you're in business school, chances are you're either learning Finance, Marketing, or Economics. If you're in Finance, you're learning statistics, market pricing theories, and the ins and outs of accounting rules with the endgoal of being able to value a company or project. Being able to value something is not the same as being able to run it. There's a difference between being able to build a house and maintain it versus appraising the value of the real estate. There's a difference between running a business versus being able to call what the company's stock price should be based on its predicted profits. Marketing is more statistical analysis with applications to consumer behavior and Economics is the analysis of how to achieve maximum outputs given limited inputs by studying the input-output relationship.

    Just like how it's a myth that going to art school will magically turn you into a great artist, going to business school will not suddenly make you a businessperson/entrepreneur. You might go to art school to pick up on classical fundamentals or learn Photoshop/Maya just as you'd go to business school to learn accounting rules or learn how to model on Excel/use Bloomberg. These are specific skill sets you learn in school as elements of foundation and the creative part or entrepreneurial/managerial part that turns these skills into something much greater comes from within. At least that's my opinion.
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    Hi first post,

    I can only share my experience. Does not mean its the norm.

    I live in nyc, and work as an art director in an ad firm. Say I make a hypothetical 100k usd a year. On average, my bosses make between say 500k and 2mil a year

    I work 70-90 hours a week because it's ny and we have to show the world we're better by working a lot.

    My girlfriend also lives here, but works as an investment banker, and makes a hypothetical 200k usd a year. works the same hours as me, but her bosses make around 25 mil a year.

    Granted she does make a lot more money than me, but at the end of the day, business is not a good fit for her, and her 10 hours drain her a whole lot more than my 10.

    In the end, my earning potential cannot match that of hers, as her bosses make a whole lot more than mine, but then again, 500k a year is more than enough for me to look forward to.

    figure out what is important to you, and go for it. If you need 25 mil to be happy, thats great, I want to be your friend so we can party in your big house. I mean this sincerely, I believe some people need more money to be happy, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    one last thing, from my understanding, finance is a hard and competitive thing to get into, requiring a lot of dedication and hard work. I bet you your first years salary you can get a great art job with your business degree and good art skills, But there is the chance that obtaining that degree slows your artistic development, which you will need along with your degree.

    Good luck,



    glad to be part of the forum.
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    Pavel Sokov,
    So the question is, do you want to do this because you NEED to or you want to.

    As I understand it Bobby Chiu, http://www.imaginismstudios.com/, was a business school drop out. He is very successful but at the same time he was DRIVEN by a NEED for it.
    Last edited by German-s; May 27th, 2009 at 10:26 AM.
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    Thank you so much for all these responces, I am really flattared by the input!

    Bagochips:
    You remind me so much of myself, struggling in Finance school because you think you should, but don't know why exactly. And then when you start going crazy and getting ready to say fuck it, you wake up the next morning and tell yourself to get yourself together, get serious and continue sitting in those shitty classes and not doing any work whatsoever.
    Great post, I got a lot from it man!

    Nemotoad:
    I like you, you spoke numbers. 25 mill a year huh? I could deal with that. Trouble is, there is no way to earn a good pay if you are working for someone. When I look around at my dad's rich friends, it is clear that no one is bossing on a salary. The only way is to get out of the office and get something yourself it seems. And there is no NEED for a business degree, or an art degree for that.
    500,000 a year is not bad, I'd be ok with that! But I am surprised that you are making 100k a year, I figured artists tend to make the lowest wages in the whole firm, to the effect of 30k or something like that.

    I think a decent choice would be to get my shit together, man up, and start studying for the first time in my life. Get through finance, while also focusing on improving my art skills by my own schooling. After this, get an office job, and then start thinking of how I can get out of there and get started on artistic endeveour of some sort.

    German,
    I am not sure. When I imagine myself as a rich modern artist, in a ridiculously flashy suit, at an art gallery and a rolls royce, it makes sense. All my friends always saw me like this in the future.
    But when I imagine myself as a financial boss, it is a pretty picture, but how could I possibly get promoted to anything, if I simply dont do any work, study for nothing, and somehow pass. Yestarday I had an advanced micro exam, didn't do shit for it. Tommorow I got a finance exam, I am spending my time on CA. I just can't give a fuck. its hard to care.

    here are my works, keep in mind that I am 19. I want you guys to rudely and realistically tell me whether I am cut out for a career in art or not:

    http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/8...zkartelxl9.jpg

    http://img409.imageshack.us/img409/5...hsmallcmg9.jpg

    http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/100...sfinalcopy.jpg

    http://img41.imageshack.us/img41/685...oncontrast.jpg

    http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/2140/steampunkmh3.jpg

    http://img299.imageshack.us/img299/2...shfinalli6.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    I think a decent choice would be to get my shit together, man up, and start studying for the first time in my life. Get through finance, while also focusing on improving my art skills by my own schooling. After this, get an office job, and then start thinking of how I can get out of there and get started on artistic endeveour of some sort.
    No, get started NOW. Money may allow you to buy just about any possession your heart desires in this world, but no amount of money can buy back valuable spent time. What you've just stated is a prime example of what author Steven Pressfield calls 'Resistance' in his book The War of Art.

    Here's an excerpt from the book relevant to the discussion:

    Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it's easiest to rationalize. We don't tell ourselves, "I'm never going to write my symphony." Instead we say, "I am going to write my symphony; I'm just going to start tomorrow."
    You've already clearly stated your unhappiness and lack of motivation in your finance studies - how would spending the next few years and perhaps quite a bit beyond make it any better? The money? Really? You spend 70 or more hours a week just to live for (maybe) 2 days off to enjoy the financial rewards? And when would you really have the time for devoting any serious efforts towards honing and advancing your artistic skills with a full-time 8-to-whenever job in finance?

    I agree with German-s, don't drop out and pursue art if you aren't absolutely certain that art is what you really want to do with your life; but if you are, don't nickel and dime it if you truly want to achieve any level of skill or professionalism.
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