What They Don’t Teach You in Art School

05.20.2009 / Miscellaneous

It’s Dialogue time! I can’t believe we’re on to Episode Ten! If you’ve missed the first nine episodes, you’re in for a treat. Check out the archives right here.

Today’s topic is pretty self-explanatory; we’re getting the inside scoop on art school from our resident experts! Comment below to join the dialogue— Did you attend art school? If so, what do you wish you would have learned?

IN THIS EPISODE: KELLY LYNN JONESLISA SOLOMON / CRAIG ATKINSON
Related episode(s): The Future of Art/Design

  • this has been the most interesting for me. And i agree on some things here too (like I always do, anyway) :)

  • I agree entirely. Sometimes it can be frustrating–doing what the instructors want you to do, for someone like me who likes to do things my own way. But it is worth it.

    My school(University of Wisconsin-Green Bay) has an “arts management” minor, which teaches the business side of things. But it wasn’t geared toward artists, it was geared toward arts administrators. However, as an artist you can take a lot from that info so it was very helpful.

    My school also has “gallery/museum practices” classes, where you can work in the campus art gallery for the semester and learn how to hang work, do lighting, and everything else that goes into an exhibition. That is also essential to know as an artist.

  • I went to art school when I was in high school, it was a nice mix between theory classes and art classes, I think its was 50/50…I remember that I learned a lot there and it’s also the place where I realised that I wanted to be an artist. Then I started my first bachelor year of graphic design and in the middle of the year I found out that I hated designing things for other people, I just wanted to do what was in my head, so I switched to fine arts. After 4 years of art school, I dunno I’m just fed up with it, I don’t learn anything from my teachers and I’d rather just do art on my own. I know that I have enough ideas in me to keep me going. I quit school a couple of weeks ago and I love it, art is so much more fun again. I think I’m one of those persons who doesn’t really need art school to keep them motivated or for guidance or assignments. I’d rather learn it all on my own through experimenting, making mistakes, falling down and getting up again

    Love, Jules

  • You mean there are things I didn’t learn in art school! ;O

  • Great episode!!! After I graduated from undergrad, I became really frustrated and a little resentful at my school for not preparing me for “real life”. I didn’t need my hand held, but I think it would have been nice for them to address how to put together an artist resume, how you might go about getting grants/funding, and how you approach galleries for shows. I figured it out, but I hope for future graduates they add this to their curriculum.

    I’ve tossed around the idea of getting an MFA, but $$$ has prevented me from going that route. But after listening to this episode, it makes me want to reconsider and say to the heck with it!

  • to katie–Trust me, I am going to be in a lot more debt by attending grad school however for me it is totally worth it. I feel if there is something in life that you want, you should do it, life is too short to not pursue what you want.

  • Love your thoughts! I am TOTALLY not an artist, so I didn’t go to art school [obviously], and I loved hearing Craig, Lisa and Kelly weigh in on the topic. After listening to their footage, it totally makes me want to go, too! :)

  • this was a great episode, & there are certainly points i agree with. i wish art college had prepared my friends & i more for life-after-art-college more than it did. it’s interesting to think, however, that the ones to do keep on making & creating after art college are the ones who figured out how to do it for themselves.

    saying that, i think there ought to be a little more help that what is already generally provided. most people i talk to who have graduated, or are about to, left uni feeling really lost, not just because they were no longer students with this great space & peers around them, but because they simply didn’t know how to start, how to transfer school to real life.

    i suppose that it’s just another challenge though. i, for one, haven’t managed to make money from my art since leaving uni, but i’m trying to find my own way of doing my own thing. i guess art is manifesting itself for me as still a hobby of sorts, but an all-consuming one in the best kind of ways: when i’m not at work, all i really think about is art & illustration, i live with two fellow illustrators, i network & make friends online, i’m planning to open a shop, & i’m constantly planning & making & drawing (as much as my working hours will allow!). & in that sense, art for me is just 100% fun. there’s no pressure of paying the rent from it (i’m lucky to have a job in an arts centre that takes care of that), in fact the only pressure i really have is simply to better myself for myself. i don’t know where i’ll be art-wise in the future, but for now it’s just the fun side of life, where my surroundings, free time & friends all reflect on a subject that i love.

    okay, long comment over. i think i partially wrote that for myself so i’d realise how lucky i am!

  • I think art college is a great place—even if it is only for the experience of going to college and meeting new people and learning about new ideas (and old ideas!). I graduated almost 12 years ago and I am very proud of my time at college.

    I went into production/printing after I graduated to become more comfortable with that side of design…then I lingered there, and lingered some more. I can’t say I regret being in production for so long, I’m very good at it and I am learning almost constantly.

    So I am an artist that went to art college with a day job that is not very “artistic” but I freelance and blog and create art for myself and I am happy with that equation. I do get asked about why go to art college when so many others in my field did not, and I used to take offense (like what am I some kind of super under achiever to them?) but I don’t get offended anymore. I just smile.

  • thanks kelly! i totally miss the community that i had at school and the critiques too. although they could be tough and sometimes a little crushing (if i’m totally honest!), but it was so helpful and pushed me to become a better artist.

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