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  1. #1
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    Dec 2012
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    Art Schools Advice - California?

    Currently, I am going to enter my senior year of high school and I have been considering whether or not to apply to schools in California mostly because I know there are a lot of opportunities in terms of art careers but I can't decide if I should go to school here (Massachusetts) because currently its the better financial idea and then move to Cali afterwards or is it better to just go to school in California?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Thanked 36 Times in 34 Posts
    Just my opinion...I'm currently attending an art school right now and while it's pretty great in some regards, depending on what you want to go into specifically, most of it you can learn online already. It just really comes down to putting in the hours.

    Weighing the costs alone I don't think it would be a good choice to move out. Art school is already expensive enough, and adding in whatever living expenses to that seems like overkill. My recommendation would be to stay put and just grind hard on fundamentals. There's a lot of resources already available on this site if you just take a look around.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    The Big Easy
    Thanked 700 Times in 367 Posts
    I grew up in California, and got my BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design. (Also in California) I felt that the education that I received there was great.

    While I can understand the idea that anything you can learn at school can also be learned online, I don't entirely agree. Online can only tell you what you need to study yourself, and you might be able to get a few hints from others on forums like these. If that is all that your school is giving you, then you are at a piss-poor art school. What you can't get online as easily is professional instructors who meet face to face with you, explain what you are getting from the things that you are learning, how to apply them and where, etc etc etc.

    You'll also find bad information online mixed in with the good. There will be sub-par artists who want to sound better than they are by giving (unhelpful, but disguised as good) critiques lined up next to wonderful artists so that its hard to tell which is which. There will be too many folks telling you to always work one way or never work another, instead of recognizing that any of the approaches can be good, if the effects they create are what is desired. You'll also find that sometimes, online, you can't get critiques or in depth answers from the artists who are top professionals because their time is money and they can't just give a full set of instructions to every wannabe concept artist, especially when every artist in the world wants it from them... but they can when they are being paid by a top art school to teach or lecture there.

    When you see a school like Cal Arts which seems to be connected to almost every big name in American animation history since about the 1960's, or ACCD which has a long list of top concept artists, matte painters, illustrators, auto designers, and more, you have to recognize that there is more to them than the typical set of instructions that you can get online.

    On the other hand, you need to also know how to avoid diploma mills like (most of) the AI schools that pepper the nation, and often give art schools a bad name. Also be careful about schools that are more well known for their "Fine Arts" programs. These are great schools if you are more interested in art theory and what is trending in gallery exhibits, but they often do not teach the more "old school" academic techniques needed to succeed in more commercial fields. In other words, if they treat commercial art like a bad word or consider it "kitsch" then it's probably not the right program for you.

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