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  1. #1
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    Large Art School or an Atelier?

    This question has been bothering me for some time.

    How does an education received at a school like ACCD compare to education in smaller ateliers like Associates/Watts etc? (with same level of diligence from a student)

    Aside from contacts and a school name for a resume one gets with time and diploma received at Art Center is there anything technically that you will not be able to learn at an atelier?

    Just trying to figure out if ACCD is worth the debt.

    P.S.
    I am interested in painting and concept design career mostly or derivatives of such.


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  3. #2
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    From my experience, I felt there are several things that I recieved from Art Center that I consider extreme vaulable:

    - Professional work ethic & presentation

    - Exposure to delicated artist

    - Connections to all major studios through alumni's

    - Cross training with other majors (Product, Trans, Film, Photo)

    - Great Teachers for specific classes (Entertainment & figure drawing)

    It is good as a overall package with the degree you pay for.

    But if you are only comparing class by class, you will find taking classes at private atliers better. Art Center is expensive and not all the required classes are worth the money. With Atliers, you can customize your schedule and study with only the best or who you want to study with. You just need to track down the good teachers and be very self motivated. You can piece up your education like a buffet from several schools and teachers. I have to do that during art center because they don't have what I wanted to learn.

    The only thing about the private atliers that I see lacking is the delication in the fellow students (the majority are just there for one class. It hard to have a core group that everyone hangs out and support each other to improve). At Art Center, being in debt after you finish school will give you a group of students with a much stronger motivation to work really hard

    Hope this will help.
    Last edited by KChen; January 17th, 2003 at 04:57 AM.

  4. #3
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    KChen, this gives me a lot to think about. Thank you very much for replying!

  5. #4
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    kchen is not speaking of the programs in LA i believe.

    the ateliers in new york and minnesota are very strong. They have full time programs which entail the most lengthy studio drawing and paining times of any art education program in the country. these programs are very very traditional and their methods are proven. Some of them have lineage that comes down from Jaques Louis David and Jean Leon Gerome. At these programs you will excel in life drawing and painting. The latter will allow you to shine in the digital art field. Way too many of those here on the forums do not focus enough on drawing and pianting from life.

    for example... the bougie studio..( a very nice studio setting in minneapolis which i visited)...has a minimum requirement of 40 hours in the studio per week. The figure class both there and at Atelier Lack "the atelier" are second to none in quality of student work. There are students at those ateliers whose figure work eclipses all of us here on the forums. they are a focused group at those small studio schools. Its not like what kchen describes (art associates).

    at a true atelier program you will get an extreme education on drawing and painting traditionally. The primary focus of many of the artists in these programs is gallery work. However, I completed a program similar to that with my painting mentor in arizona and it was INVALUABLE.

    you dont get enough drawing time in the big art schools...lots of classes that are not necessarily worth paying the 2000 dollars for...and not enough studio painting classes. Four life drawing classes in the core program is not nearly enough. one or two semesters of figure painting is not enough IMHO.

    what the big schools have though is exposure to the companies...which is nice. In this internet day and age though you can get by without it. Ive hired more people off the different art forums than the art schools.

    If I had it to do all over again...I would still do the same...Find a great painter who teaches with a hands on approach...take his courses over and over until i could do what he was teaching...then Id move on to another program like the Illustration Academy or an Atelier...and then I would finish at a bigger private art school to meet a diverse group of connections and friends and be exposed to the companies.

    TRANFER students always had an advantage over the other students in my experience...they usually had a more diverse art background and had a couple years of other art classes before heading in. It put that group ahead of 80 percent of the art students in their class right there.

    If you took the top ten students from ringling when i was there you would find that at least 8 of them were transfer students. that included james zhang..puddnhead...android...and a big group of others.

    plot your path carefully.

    the first thing you need is just a place to paint...with at teacher WHO CAN PAINT traditionally. You wont get a great traditional art education from a contemporary abstract artist. Find a person who can paint figures...landscapes..still life...and the rest...

    RH IVES GAMMELL (one of the founders of the minneapolis atelier program) said in his book that a great teacher is great at what he does and that a teacher can only teach what he or she knows. If a teacher never learned to paint then he can only teach you up to the point of his own failure.

    I believe that to a certain extent. Every time I had a teacher who could show me something...really show me...he or she was great at that particular thing. The more contemporary modern art style teachers I had taught me a lot about subject matter and idea...which is a must...but they did not teach me anything about how to paint....the painters I learned from that just did figure and still life could teach me how to paint but less about idea.

    Start with the HOW and then go on to the WHAT....learn your visual vocabulary and then go express yourself and or make a living.

    thats my two cents...just find a place to paint...no distractions.


    j



  6. #5
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    Jason, thank you. That is a lot of information, had to re-read a few times. I’ve been asking around for a while, but never really received this much feedback. Thank you both again Kevin, Jason.

    I am printing all this for personal reference.

  7. #6
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    Jason, where did you learn to paint at down here in Arizona? I know you took the MCC stuff for life drawing, but I've been looking around for a traditional painter to recieve a lot of instruction and help from, but I don't know who is here and where to begin.

  8. #7
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    Jason,

    Could you recommend the ones in NY your mentioned? I did a search for them and there seem to be many there. Have you had first hand experience with any of them?

    THX

  9. #8
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    It depends on where you want your career to go. Big places like ACCD offer big advantages. One of the big advantages are being in the company of like minded dedicated students who will potentially be lifelong friends and professional contacts.

    The traditional ateliers are geared towards fine art gallery work and focus on traditional painting methods and academic drawing skills. The students are usually enrolled full time.

    The west coast private schools are geared towards a hybrid illustration/fine art curriculum and have a more flexible schedule. While alot of the students are hobbyists, they also have their fair share of dedicated students.

    You really don't have to choose one or the other. Many artists go both routes. The private schools are just more flexible and cheaper. Guys like Mullins, Chen, Paul Wee have done both. You also have your guys that went the private school route like Jeremy Lipking, Ryan Wurmser, Morgan Weistling, Greg Pro and Jeff Watts, and Ron Lemen.

  10. #9
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    Excellent advice, Jason! I especially like your recommendation to change schools and thereby change influences. Any given professor has their own specific approach and attitude toward their art, and so does any given institution! It's best to keep your influences broad in order to find your own true artistic soul.

    There's a lot of pretense and imitation at most art schools. I vividly remember classes with prominent instructors where nearly all the students ended up painting just like the instructor. There are many reasons for this, and you'll no doubt find yourself doing the same. It's all part of finding your way. But a great way to protect yourself against this is to keep the instructors *and* the institutions mixed.

    And that may be the only knock against an Atelier school. They're generally an intense study under ONE instructor. Although I agree that it's usually the best art instruction you can find, I think it should only be part of your approach. I love Jason's recommendation of smaller to bigger, or Atelier > small art school > large reknowned commercial art school. You find great stuff at each stage!
    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of
    little minds - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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