A lot of people like to mock the idea of going to art school because they think that it is an expensive waste of time. Although, this all depends on where you study and what you want to do with your degree. There are definitely people who manage to have lucrative careers in the art without going to art school, but there are not that many of them. If you really want to compete in today’s art market, you’re going to need to be educated. Here is the art school demystified.
The first thing you need to know as an art school prep is that each school is going to have a very specific concentration and agenda for their students. Some schools will be more geared toward conceptual art, while others will be very technical and some might focus specifically on figurative art. No matter the case, you need to know what you want to focus on before you can choose which school is best for you.
Just like you couldn’t finish your criminal justice degree online without knowing a lot about precedent-setting, historical criminal court cases, you can’t have a career in art without a strong foundation in art history. You will definitely need to know all about art from the gothic period to the present day, but if you are a true art historian, you will go all the way back to the prehistoric cave drawings and the Venus of Willendorf.
Start Thinking About Your Thesis Early
By the time you get into your senior year, you should be well into working on your thesis. You may not be required to start until your senior year, but it’s always best to be ahead of the curve. In most cases, the direction of your thesis will change as you are in the middle of it, so it’s best to have as much time as possible to adjust your approach. If you go to a major college like Oregon State University, there will be a lot of competition, so you want to do everything you can to stand out.
A BFA Might Not Be Enough
You will learn a lot over the course of the four years that you spend earning your BFA, but in all reality, it might not be enough. You may find that as you start to work in the real world and get your art out there, you will be competing with a lot of people who have a much bigger theoretical foundation, and that’s because they have completed graduate programs. These days, having a strong theoretical component to your work goes a long way, and most people without this education are very unaware of the fact that their work isn’t saying anything that hasn’t already been said.
Decide Between Fine Art and Commercial Art
Lastly, there is a big difference between the opportunities you will find in fine art vs. commercial art. With commercial art, you will have a lot more opportunities to find stable work at moderate wages. However, as hard as it can be to make a living with fine art, if your work takes off, you could potentially be living a high luxury lifestyle.