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I'm attending an art school right now, and I have my doubts about being able to pursue art as a career. Being a traditional artist (I'm not skilled with digital art lol... Photoshop eludes me) involves networking vigorously, going out of your way to establish client relationships and to meet new people, and teaching, since a portrait painter whose workshop I attended told me that your income can't be covered solely by sales. These are things I cannot fathom doing at this point in my life. Being sociable just isn't in my nature. :( I decided to go to art school b/c art is my passion and I've used it as an escape from my social problems, but from the instructors and older/experienced artists I've met, I get the impression that being a traditional artist is one of the careers that requires a very outgoing, extroverted personality (and it's difficult enough financially for those people - most of them are not wealthy at all despite being amazing artists).

I'm just thinking that it basically comes down to going to art school and being very broke (art supplies are horribly expensive >.<) and very lost (assuming I can't find a job after graduate school) in a political and social climate that finds the arts frivolous and prefers to devote money to math and science budgets, or going to an actual college, getting a more pragmatic degree, and being slightly less broke but equipped with more useful skills. However, there still wouldn't be a guarantee that I'd be able to find a job even if I took this route, since my social skills are completely nonexistent. I'm hesitant about quitting art school b/c I know my parents will be furious (they're paying for my tuition :(), but ultimately I have the feeling that I won't be able to achieve the comfort level I'm aiming for in life if I keep going to art school and decide to try my hand as an artist. At the same time, though, I love art, and finding a practical job might require just as much socialization as being an artist. I'm not really sure, since I haven't really entered the workplace yet. If anyone could weigh in or share their experiences, I would appreciate it a lot. Thanks for reading.
 

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As an 25 yr old Art school dropout I'd recommend it ONLY if your family is rich and you don't really need to earn alot of money in your lifetime.

Art is my passion also, but very few artist make it (and some of the ones that do aren't always good, they just have million dollar gimmicks) however the ENVIRONMENT in Art school is beautiful, you'll meet lots of like minded individuals and you'll make many friends. Just thinking about the creative atmosphere makes me happy to be honest. It's just that you don't necessarily need a degree to become a successful artist. Plus hypothetically lets say you do land an art job somewhere at some kind of firm, THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN PEOPLE EXPECTING YOU TO BE CREATIVE, Being creative is alot harder than sitting at a computer and doing some kind of traditional job that only requires you to use your cognitive abilities in my honest opinion. It can seriously be a pain, I'd rather "think" than be creative any day of the week simply because its easier to do.

If your plan is to make alot of money and become a robot then study accounting or Law.

It's your choice and you should follow your heart........I only dropped out because I'm broke, needed money and figured I could always just sell paintings on the side which requires no degree at all (When was the last time someone went to a gallery and decided not to purchase a painting they liked because the artist did not have a degree in art?)

BTW, I'd like to see your work if you don't mind. Feel free to PM if you don't want the world to see.
 

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no don't give it time! you're only 17

at least take a break, but don't quit

i'll write more later
 

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I think you're right in your thinking Nesa, as unfortunate as it is. One thing I've noticed about the photography professor I had is that despite being absolutely nothing special in terms of her photographic skills, she was very extroverted, able to engage people, and most importantly, could talk up any picture, no matter how bland, and give it meaning that it never was really meant to have. There are extremely few steady jobs in the field you're going into and yes, it would require you regularly have to deal with people and socialize. If you don't think you'd be happy doing this than why bother? Also, from my bro's experience in art school, he said they have a wonderful way of at once making you way better at what you want to do, while making you lose all passion for what you do.
 

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maybe you could talk to your parents about the situation - they're paying so just check in to see if they're okay paying for something that might not be very profitable in $ terms. if they're okay with it and you enjoy it then i'd say keep going anyway.

i studied philosophy, can't make money from that. but paid for it with student loan - which isn't too burdensome here in NZ. it was worth it!
 

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As someone with an art degree who works in an unrelated field, I recommend only continuing art school if it's something you won't regret doing even if it doesn't net you a traditional art career. You have to be passionate, be willing to work a second job, and you have to eventually become comfortable talking to strangers. Being an artist who shows in galleries and does commissioned pieces requires you to network, to talk at gallery openings, and to explain/defend your work.

Even if you aren't proficient with digital media right now, I'd highly recommend taking a few courses about Photoshop, electronic design, etc. This is the general trend of art these days, and it's such a good tool even if you don't use it directly in your work. Like, documenting your work? You totally need to know how to use editing software to get a painting's true colors in a raw photo of it. Plus, I know people who like to plan out paintings/2d work in programs like Photoshop. Lastly, having a bunch of knowledge about digital art will give you a back-up plan for employment. It gives you applicable skills in the working world that you can use right out of college to support yourself with.

My point is, if you do go through with art school, you have to really want it, and you have to be practical. Practical could mean learning more about digital media/graphic design/communication; it could mean getting a minor; it could mean getting internships; or it could mean focusing really hard on having an awesome portfolio for galleries or grad school.

I'm saying all of this because I regret choosing art as my major. I received a full-ride scholarship at a private college and chose to get an art degree, although I was entirely sure by my third year in that it wasn't what I wanted to do. It was too late for me to switch though without racking up a bunch of loans. Art was my default choice because I'm technically skilled at it, but now I realize that part of the reason I stuck with it was because it allowed me to stay in my shell of SA. It allowed me to be avoidant. A lot of my pieces were angst-y, all about showing people who I really was. Maybe a bit therapeutic, but in the long run, more self-indulgent than skill-building. Was my figure drawing class really more valuable than a professional writing class would have been? Probably not.

I don't want to come off as too negative. This has just been my experience. I know classmates who have had success right out of school. I'll be honest, though. They don't have apparent social anxiety.
 
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