Ruining career by not majoring in art?
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Thread: Ruining career by not majoring in art?

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    Ruining career by not majoring in art?

    I have another account. I am posting anonymously because I知 afraid this may be a dumb question.

    I知 in my late 20s. I have no degree. I知 going back to school to major in something not related to art. My goal is to be an artist but I do not want to major in art. I have been through an atelier program so I don稚 think art school can teach me much that I do not already know. I want a degree for the sake of having one. I'm motivated by an interest in learning something. I heard some companies such as Disney will throw out your resume if you do not have a degree.

    The problem is.. my friend is trying to convince me I will never make it as an artist if I study something other than art. They think I am giving up on my career and ruining my chances of success. I think this is wrong but I thought I might get a more informed opinion from the people of this forum.

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    Portfolio was everything when I started. I assume that's still true. Maybe some programs are degree-conscious -- a corporate gig probably would be. But most places, if you've got a killer portfolio and can deliver as promised, that's what they're looking for.

    Amirite?

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    There is no need to get a degree or go to art school, if your work is good people will never ask if you have a degree or something
    I saw a Feng Zhu video yesterday and he answered your question..
    Here it is, go to 3:43 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=b8V88OvCx10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Areglom View Post
    my friend is trying to convince me I will never make it as an artist if I study something other than art.
    Get some new friends, that one is an idiot.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    Portfolio was everything when I started. I assume that's still true. Maybe some programs are degree-conscious -- a corporate gig probably would be. But most places, if you've got a killer portfolio and can deliver as promised, that's what they're looking for.

    Amirite?
    I know about this. I need to assure myself and the people trying to tell me what to do that I can still develop a portfolio at my age. Some think I am too old to be successful. With each passing year success goes farther and farther way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Get some new friends, that one is an idiot.
    I think this post is a convincing enough argument. Thanks for humoring me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Areglom View Post
    I have another account. I am posting anonymously because I’m afraid this may be a dumb question.

    I’m in my late 20s. I have no degree. I’m going back to school to major in something not related to art. My goal is to be an artist but I do not want to major in art. I have been through an atelier program so I don’t think art school can teach me much that I do not already know. I want a degree for the sake of having one. I'm motivated by an interest in learning something. I heard some companies such as Disney will throw out your resume if you do not have a degree.

    The problem is….. my friend is trying to convince me I will never make it as an artist if I study something other than art. They think I am giving up on my career and ruining my chances of success. I think this is wrong but I thought I might get a more informed opinion from the people of this forum.
    This seems odd to me? Why wouldn't you want to major in art if that is your goal and you want a degree? Not to mention you say "art" like it's one thing...what kind of "artist" do you want to be? And more importantly...why?

    I just never understand the kind of thinking that says "I want X...so I'll pursue B".

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    Some exeptional good artist can get there without an art degree. Others need the school to learn to find their own style, to talk about their work, to learn new things,...

    But you want to be an artist you say. Why do you want a degree for an other profession? When you are a (full time) artist, you can't do another job. You have to choose: a job and keeping art as a hobby or second job, or going for art all the way.

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    There are a few things you have written that are disturbing to me so I'll address these things specifically.

    Quote Originally Posted by Areglom View Post
    I have another account. I am posting anonymously because I知 afraid this may be a dumb question.
    Quote Originally Posted by Areglom View Post
    I have been through an atelier program so I don稚 think art school can teach me much that I do not already know.
    By posting anonymously, you avoid the "taint" of sounding like and idiot on your real account, but it means we can't see your art. If school doesn't have anything to teach you anymore because you are very good and atelier educated, shouldn't you be a professional artist by now? It seems not because then you say:
    Quote Originally Posted by Areglom View Post
    My goal is to be an artist but I do not want to major in art.
    And even more disturbing, in a different post you say:
    Quote Originally Posted by Areglom View Post
    I need to assure myself and the people trying to tell me what to do that I can still develop a portfolio at my age. Some think I am too old to be successful. With each passing year success goes farther and farther way.
    Which means that you don't have a portfolio. What good is all the time and money you have sunken in your atelier education if you spend the next 3-4 years doing something unrelated to art for the sake of putting a paper on your wall?


    Quote Originally Posted by Areglom View Post
    I heard some companies such as Disney will throw out your resume if you do not have a degree.
    I doubt their animation department will be much impressed in a degree unrelated to art. It's like going to a hospital and say you are a doctor of fine arts. Also, many smaller companies would be impressed by the portfolio and don't care about the degree, and the good people at Disney won't care about your degree if you have both a portfolio and extensive experience elsewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Areglom View Post
    I want a degree for the sake of having one. I'm motivated by an interest in learning something.
    That's an awful lot of money and time to "learn something" have you ever thought about, I don't know, reading books or listening to educational podcasts? What is it? Are you trying to put off facing the real world? It's hard to tell with absolutely no background information, but do you like doing art or did you just like the idea of doing art?

    Last edited by Qitsune; November 18th, 2012 at 05:53 PM. Reason: typod
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    This seems odd to me? Why wouldn't you want to major in art if that is your goal and you want a degree? Not to mention you say "art" like it's one thing...what kind of "artist" do you want to be? And more importantly...why?

    I just never understand the kind of thinking that says "I want X...so I'll pursue B".
    Because learning different things is... fun?

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    I admit I am afraid to start a career as an artist, because I know how much work it will be. Once I get started I’m afraid I won’t have any time to develop any other interests, such as writing skills. I’m not skilled at organization or time management, and I think pursuing an education would be a good way to develop those skills, without the risk of being fired. I’m not getting a non-art degree just because I think I’m so great I don’t need to study art. Sorry if it comes across that way. I have already been to art school but I left because they are not good at teaching and I am not good enough to work around their “screaming tantrum” style of instruction.

    To tell you the truth, I actually am considering going to art school (somewhere other than the one I have already been to..). I want to get an associates in something else beforehand, so I can be sure I am ready for the amount of work. I need to prove to my parents I am actually capable of doing well at school. They will not risk funding an expensive art school education otherwise.

    My portfolio is only academic studies. I’m working on a portfolio that focuses more on imaginative realism. I suppose in a way I am already an artist, I have sold some things in a gallery, but not nearly to the point where I can support myself on that alone. I know this is difficult to verify since I’m not posting any of my work, but I like doing art a lot. I don’t just like the idea of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tobbA View Post
    Because learning different things is... fun?
    Couldn't agree more. That's one of the best things about being an artist imho...you learn about and touch on so many different aspects of life and history. I just personally don't think it's very realistic to work toward a degree that has nothing to do with art and at the same time build a professional, competitive portfolio and become a successful artist. Like I said...sounds odd to say say your goal is to be an artist...and I'll achieve that by becoming a biologist over the next three years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Areglom View Post
    I think pursuing an education would be a good way to develop those skills, without the risk of being fired.
    No, not really. Education is lax enough that if you're reasonably smart you can get through a degree while learning dick-all about time management skills. You know you can fudge things because there's no real consequences, and most of the profs don't give a shit. I learned way more time management on the job by having real consequences to screwing up and even more by having a job and working on my art projects after work.

    I think you should get a job, if you can. You should risk being fired. You should get some experience being a responsible adult who gets shit done. If after that you decide to get an education in either art or non-art, it will be because you have a better idea of what you want and you will have a better chance of succeeding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Couldn't agree more. That's one of the best things about being an artist imho...you learn about and touch on so many different aspects of life and history. I just personally don't think it's very realistic to work toward a degree that has nothing to do with art and at the same time build a professional, competitive portfolio and become a successful artist. Like I said...sounds odd to say say your goal is to be an artist...and I'll achieve that by becoming a biologist over the next three years.
    If I remember correctly, James Gurney got his first degree in Anthropology before he went to art school where he became roommates with Thomas Kinkade. I'm not sure what his rationale was. But, I wouldn't be surprised that it was that whole middle-class professional parents wanting you to get a "real degree" kind of thing. (Plus, I think Gurney has a passionate interest in the sciences that influences his art.)

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    Yeah, because his dream was to find Incan ruins and draw them and stuff like that. It was actually related to what he wanted to do. In a way, Dinotopia is fake anthropology.

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    Ok, I get it. I do. However, art is not a 'thing'; it is a lifestyle. It is a commitment to yourself and the world to keep creativity alive. That being said, I am working on my B.S. in Digital Design and Animation. I am 32, I have a husband, 2 boys, am currently taking 20 credits at school, and am a manager of a finance department at a local college. I have all of that going on AND I still work on my art every day. I know I'm not the best and I know I have a lot to learn but I love art and getting my skills right so I find the time to do what I have passion for. It all depends on who you ask and where you are hoping to end up if you should further your education or not. A killer portfolio may be the key or you may need education but if you're going to rely on your portfolio, how are you going to show an art director you can do charcoal art if you've never worked with it? Your portfolio has to highlight your skills.

    Getting an education means you've (hopefully) been instructed in the right ways to do things but it's only a foundation. Even with an education, you have to perfect your skills. An education is priceless and can never be taken away from you but if you're relying on JUST your education to get you through, you're in for a rude awakening. My full time job has nothing to do with art but it gets the bills paid. My art is part of who I am but being mature and responsible is also part of any career choice. And ummm, since when is age such a determining factor? If you're trying to make it big in the art world but you think you can't learn from school...you may need a huge piece of humble pie.

    I wish you all the best.

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    I'm pretty sure in Arizona they can ask you to present your art degree if they have probable cause to suspect you're creating art illegally...

    While I can't speak to the relative value of a degree (mine is in art, but hasn't yet proven to be worth the paper it's printed on) I'll second Vineris on this - college is a pretty poor way of learning time management, probably because that's not what they're teaching you (they're teaching you biology, or slavic literature, or women's studies...) and depending on the rigor of your chosen major you may be able to get by on the four-star organization technique of last-minute panic. Better to seek out books/courses/people who teach time management as a subject in and of itself, which it really is.

    (PS - School can fire you, too. The only difference is that you'll be paying them to do it.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qitsune View Post
    Yeah, because his dream was to find Incan ruins and draw them and stuff like that. It was actually related to what he wanted to do. In a way, Dinotopia is fake anthropology.
    I have read interviews with him, and if I recall correctly, he was not planning to do ancient ruins art when he started. He studied anthropology because he had a real interest. Later he found a way to combine his two main interests.

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    i think it's a good idea to get a degree thats not art related you never know if the art thing will works out.

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    I was in a similar dilemma as you, a bunch of years back. I wanted to do art but I wasn't sure of the whole thing, stability, future proof-ness etc. So I pursued architecture and worked on my skills throughout the course. But that's a lie I'd say, cause when I got involved with architecture with the passing of years, I got more and more distanced from my art side (assignments, projects and all the stuff). I didn't do event 10% the work I had wanted to do on art.

    Honestly, it wasn't entirely my choice to pursue architecture, my dad pushed me in. All the while I wanted to go into animation. But I realized the good part of having done a degree different to what I love doing after I'd done with Arch; I have something to fall back onto, in case art doesn't work out as a career for me. And in India, the society kicks you in the butt on a daily basis if you don't have a degree, so more of a reason why doing this was a good reason too. I travel to the Middle East frequently as well, you need a degree for certain types of Visas.

    So what I'm doing now is working as an architect for a couple of years (for the work experience; backup, you can call it) all the while pursuing iAnimate (an online animation course, I'm onto my second semester soon) and also Scott Eaton's Anatomy course. Its a stressful schedule, but it helps my conscience. The whole process is also motivating me indirectly.

    I didn't ask anyone an opinion of what I should do, I'm just doing what I feel is right. Playing it safe, in a way. Hopefully this gives you a better idea of possibilities.

    Don't bother looking at my sketchbook. I haven't updated that thing in years. :/
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    Quote Originally Posted by Areglom View Post
    I heard some companies such as Disney will throw out your resume if you do not have a degree.
    WTF is this shit and why doesn't it go away?? For an artistic position they only care about your portfolio. Full stop. (well. you should also be easy to get along with and meet your deadlines - but that's harder to tell right away.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Areglom View Post
    I have read interviews with him, and if I recall correctly, he was not planning to do ancient ruins art when he started. He studied anthropology because he had a real interest. Later he found a way to combine his two main interests.
    From his website:
    Where did you go to college?
    I went to the University of California at Berkeley, but I didn't take any classes in the art department there. Instead I sought out the archaeology and paleontology professors and asked them if they needed an artist to render artifacts. They let me loose in the vast Kroeber Museum collection. One of the things I got to do for school credit was to render Egyptian scarab carvings for a scientific publication. After participating in an actual archaeological dig, I decided to major in anthropology. I then went on to study drawing and painting at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
    I would say he didn't just pick a random degree for the sake of having a degree or to put off doing art. And the OP didn't ask about James Gurney, there's only one James Gurney and he paints so much, he probably paints in his sleep. It's hard to put oneself against someone like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Areglom View Post
    Some think I am too old to be successful. With each passing year success goes farther and farther way.
    People that think that are just trying to rationalize their own shortcomings or lack of ambition. Who on earth would tell anyone in their 20s or 30s they are too old for anything? Probably not anyone who is old enough to know better.

    With each passing year success will still be there for you. You just have to make the move and stop watching years go by. And stop listening to people who tell you you can't do something, especially because of age. That's absurd. Listen to yourself.

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    yeah the whole late 20s thing is nonsense, i fel like i learn quicker and work harder now than i ever did before; like ver, reason; i got a wacom for xmas at 28.
    now theres years to catch up on is all...

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    I can only speak for myself, but going to college and getting a non-art related degree when I knew I wanted to be an artist was the worst choice I've ever made in my life. (although in my case it was a choice made because of finances, not because I wanted it) Now I have a worthless degree in something that couldn't even get me a job, and I can't go back to a traditional art school since I screwed up by already getting a degree.

    You don't get any chances to do things over. If you go to college, that's it. Are you sure you don't want to get an education that's actually relevant to your desired career? Why invest all th etime and money into getting a degree if you're not planning on using it? It doesn't make sense. You say you're interested in learning something and getting a degree for the sake of it... What makes you think you won't learn anything if you go to art school or that the experiences there are somehow lacking compared to non-art universities?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wylielise View Post
    I'm pretty sure in Arizona they can ask you to present your art degree if they have probable cause to suspect you're creating art illegally...
    No. There are places that will do tests to make sure you can draw. Why the hell would a degree prove you still drew that portfolio? It just says you took the courses. Considering places like the Art Institute have given out degrees for crap work - it means nothing.

    Think about this for a second. Which is the easier way to determine if someone actually draws?

    1. Pull out a Degree
    2. Have that person draw...

    hrm....

    Then again, I could just not hire that person and go with someone else if there is that kind of doubt.

    Last edited by Arshes Nei; November 19th, 2012 at 11:17 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    No.
    That was a ham-handed reference to AZ's show-me-your-papers immigration law. Because I am not as funny as I think I am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wylielise View Post
    That was a ham-handed reference to AZ's show-me-your-papers immigration law. Because I am not as funny as I think I am.
    Why do people even bring this up anyways? Asking for legal identification is not uncommon for any place of employment.

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    If you are going to pursue a different degree, what will it be in? I could see a business degree being useful to an artist. You could then minor or double-major in studio art, or illustration, or what have you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    Why do people even bring this up anyways? Asking for legal identification is not uncommon for any place of employment.
    It was a joke, some of us got it. You didn't get it, it's ok, we still like you.

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