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  1. #1
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    Jul 2005
    Auburn, AL
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    Unhappy How To Tell Them You Won't Starve

    Okay, so here's the deal. I've gotten into (with scholarships) to SCAD. And I REALLY want to go. I can even afford to go without any student loans. SCAD rolled back my admission to Fall 2007, so that I can attend my local university for one year to do core classes.

    The problem? My grandparents don't consider art a career. And they don't see anything wrong with going to my local university.

    For 18 years I lived with my dad until he passed away suddenly (and unexpectedly) the week before I graduated high-school. I was the only child and sole inheritor. My inheritance from this unfortunate event will cover my years at SCAD (and still leave a good bit for savings). Before his passing though, we had agreed that I'd go for one year at my local university (my dad was a professor there too). The thing being, we never told my grandparents.

    I now live with my grandparents until I move out in August. Before, my dad always stood up to them and took the blame for anything I might have done. Now, I'm left facing them alone. How in the world do I begin to explain to these Great Depression-era people that I can make a decent career out of art? And not only that, but that SCAD is an exceptional school to attend as well? The local college does offer art majors, but to be frank, the art department (excluding architecture) is notoriously weak. They offer only Fine arts and Graphic Design as majors. I have had local, professional artists tell me to my face that our university doesn't have a good art department. True, it would be cheaper ($10,000) to stay at home but, I just feel I'd be missing out on a once and a life time opportunity.

    Did anyone else have to explain to their opposing parents that they wanted to go into art? How did you manage without cutting the family ties?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Thanked 134 Times in 70 Posts
    Extremelly tought problems you have there.

    The cirscunstances are much more difficult than anyone elses, I don´t think your grandparents are that close minded either, they might be extremely concern about your future, specially due the fact that whatever you might choose will be paid with your inheritance, in other words, you have one shot.

    I think your happiness is the most important factor here, but have this things in consideration:
    - An art school won´t give you more than you can give yourself with the same motivation and determination to learn and succeed.

    - Consider ways to use your inheritance only for an emergency, if you can share a cheap appartment with other student there, get a part-time job or apply to some sort of payment plan, is much much better.

    - Again, if your Grandparents won´t alow you to access the money to pay for it, try to get the money on your own if that´s what you really really want.

    I don´t think it will be easy to convinve them, but maybe with a well designed plan that alows you to have second chances, maybe then they will consider it.....but maybe not.

    All though I say all this, I must also confess that I´m a spoiled brat, and I have wasted chances that I wish you had instead, never the less, best of lucks on this matter .

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Thanked 123 Times in 64 Posts
    Dude, you don't have to convince them. You just have to make your decision and live your life. Seems like you already have made your plan, you'd be living up to commitments as well as investing in your future. That's more important than anyone's approval... even from those that you love. Do your thing. It's your life noone elses.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Hudson River valley, NY
    Thanked 16,685 Times in 5,021 Posts
    I agree with Chingwa. It's your family, they'll get over it. They've also suffered a loss, and grief can bring out the worst as well as the best in people. Do what you feel you have to do, as well as what your father would have wanted. I seriously doubt it will come to "cutting family ties."

    Good luck.

    Tristan Elwell
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    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
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  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    I was actually kinda surprised when i popped this question to my parents. Both of my parents are very caring and understanding so i thought it wasnt even a problem, but then my dad started giving me "advice" such as finding a so called back up plan and this and that. so what do you do. well what i did:
    Told him how i felt. I was very blunt, basically said that im doing this because i love it and it's a part of me. Most people have this fantasmical stereotype of the artist: Starving depressed alcoholic. sadly this isnt the case. You can make a living from something you love and enjoy. You dont have to become a doctor. i still dont think he gets it but he doesnt bother me about it. oh well, i'll show him right? lol
    good luck and good luck,

  7. #6
    Ilaekae's Avatar
    Ilaekae is offline P.O.W.! Leader, Complete Idiot, Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Southwestern Pennsylvania
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    This is blunt, youngling. And may sound a bit vicious, but you need to hear it, and from somebody a bit closer in age to them than you...

    It's your life. Not your grandparent's. This is fuckin' harsh, but tell them it's not 1931 if nothing else works, and you don't have the option of acting as if it is. Otherwise, you're fucked.

    If you can't show them in a logical way (maybe with some help from one of your teachers or what they would consider a "responsible" adult), then they're close-minded fuck-heads (no offense meant). In that case...move out, legally guarantee your access to your money, and let them decide what THEY'RE going to do to adapt to YOUR future if they still want to have a relationship.

    You stated that you already have arrangements to move out in August. I'm having a bit of trouble here understanding what they plan on doing to stop you from chosing your own path... Do they have control of your money? Or is it a more personal thing where you don't want to offend them?

    If it's the offending thing, work it out NOW however you can, because YOU...WILL...END...UP...HATING...EACH...OTHER down the line if this isn't resolved in your favor. You have the right to make your own life choice, even if ultimately it proves you're an idiot. And in this case, I don't think that will happen.

    If it helps, feel free to use anything I just said (prettied up for the gentler-in-nature) and tell 'em it's from a 60-year-old guy who made his living in art (and still does) and HAD TO DO IT WITHOUT A PROPER COLLEGE EDUCATION because he didn't have the wonderful chance/choice you do.
    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Southeast coast, USA
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    To add to the other advice...

    It's not like you're alone. Thousands of artists go through this too (My father wanted/wants me to be a Computer Science major). Hell, on a daily basis. I also go to SCAD and work at a local art store part-time. Imagine not only having to tell people you're going to school to be an artist...but a COMIC BOOK artist. The patronizing polite laugh is always the best part of that exchange.

    You grandparents aren't going to be the last to question your choices. But lucky, their YOURS. Your dad made that possible for you. Most people don't have that.


  9. #8
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    Feb 2005
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    I think it all comes down to: "Do you have legal control over your inheritance?"

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Thanked 95 Times in 30 Posts
    Is it what you want ? Go for it, or the rest of your life you'll be wandering "what if".

    Personal thought, your grandparents are (knowlingly or not) just testing your resolve.
    Keep in mind they do love you and want you to be succesful in everything. However they seem not to see, (or choose not to see) that by dismissing art as a valid path they are stunting your (as cheesy as it may sound) spiritual growth.

    Why do I think that..

    I know this 'fellow' that had also weakened the family bonds, not only with the parents but also with his older brother, grandparents, uncles/aunts basically anyone in the family when he abandoned Computer Science University to get employed in a game game development company as a (gasp) artist. The circumstances being that his high school major was computer science, he had no art training (except that he had learned alone in one year of holding the pencil), and (modesty aside) he had aced the entrance exams to one of the most sought after Computer Science departments of one of the largest University in Romania (an impressive percent of the graduates are eventually employed by big name companies worldwide.)

    So was I nuts for abandoning a sureshot career in computer science in favour of the 'questionable' life of a computer game artist?.

    It easely boils down to the basic question. What will you do with your life. One day I decided that will use mine for spiritual growth. Computer science and math would have turned the mind into a circus clown that does an impressive act of juggling with numbers, but in the end it is still only a clown. Art (yes even computer game art and comic book art if done with passion) takes one through a fantastic spiritual journey. And since spiritual growth is what I'll take with me when leaving this world the choice is obvious.

    Is it what you want ? Go for it, the people who love you will understand that and accept your choice.

    Cheers .
    Last edited by Oddo; June 11th, 2006 at 01:30 AM.
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  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Auburn, CA
    Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
    ok, im not a huge thinker but a while back my little bro had cancer (he is fine now) but it really put so many things inperspective.

    1) as far as i know, you only live on this earth once
    2) life is pretty damn short if you think about it
    2) YOU control what happens in your life (more or less)

    with these things in mind, choose how you want to spend your life. Look, i studied computer science when i went to college. Even though i love computers and programming (really. pretty sick, huh?) I often wonder if i should have studied art. So if you have the money, then go to the good school. But just be sure you put out the effort to match it.

    Good luck man. In due time, your grandparents will understand.
    - I think it's official... I am the world's slowest painter

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Sacramento and Los Angeles
    Thanked 165 Times in 61 Posts
    Find some charts showing average salaries and wages that you'd make as an artist in whatever field youre aiming at.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Alameda, CA
    Thanked 51 Times in 42 Posts
    Growing up, growing out. Yes, be honest with yourself. You don't need to prove anything except to yourself. You know. You know your truth. Stand behind that. Standing up to other family is really hard, sometimes you even need to separate for a time being to take the stand. Show up for yourself. Be the warrior artist who is compasionate, trust the universe, follow the way, breathe, amke really excellent art, remember you are good and wise and creative. Own it!

    Many blessings...

    Warrior Artist


  14. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    just go for it. make up a good, detailed plan and then pitch it to them simply to allay some of their fears, and then do what you want.

    alot of people go through this, my dad still thinks im gonna be an engineer and i graduated college 2 years ago!


  15. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Midwest. USA
    Thanked 19 Times in 13 Posts
    man, you're in a situation that doesn't seem all that bad to tell you the truth.
    if i was able to go to school with no debt and go for what i loved, knowing that was what i wanted to do, i'd do it in a heartbeat.

    just to give you some background, i went to art school for illustration and am now working in graphic design, and i HATE it! (working on changing that soon by going for illustration full time)
    it's a field though that you can definitely make a living at and can be fulfilling if it's something you love to do. (graphic design that is)

    first thing i'd say though, is are you sure this is what you want to do?
    if it is, you probably think about it everyday.
    and another thing is, do you have talent to begin with?
    what does your current art teacher think of your work?
    if they say you should go for it, and think you have potential, you probably do.
    training can definitely get you better, but if you don't have much natural ability to start, it may be hard to get work down the road for something that involves drawing.

    checking on average salaries in your field may be a good way to help convince your grandparents about the merits of art as a career.
    check out the Graphic Artist's Guild latest edition of "Graphic Artists Guild Handbook : Pricing & Ethical Guidelines".

    they have average salaries per industry per region which could be a big help.

    and last, make sure whatever you do, you go into something you know you WANT to do.
    i can't tell you how many people i know who went to school, spent a ton of time and money on their education to only graduate, get a job in the field they majored in, and hate it.

    you can't really live a happy life if you go to work everyday hating what you do.
    you may not make a boatload of money in art (though some do), but if you're doing what you love and you can make a living at it, you're much richer than the guy next door who's got all the toys, but is in debt up to his eyeballs and dreads going to his high paying job every morning.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Philly PA
    Thanked 1,478 Times in 470 Posts
    How in the world do I begin to explain to these Great Depression-era people that I can make a decent career out of art?
    I was watching an interview with Carl Barks a few years ago and they asked him how he got started. If I remember this correctly, he said that he was a riveter in a factory and on his lunch break he took some drawings down to Disney. After that, he didn't have to rivet anymore, which he was happy about because, as he said, drawing pictures was a much better job. And I do believe it was durring the great depression. I don't know if it can be any help, but I love this story and you just reminded me of it.
    "Every little step considered one at a time is not terribly daunting" - Ethan Coen

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