Many aspiring artists encounter the conundrum of whether to study their craft or pursue it on their own. Some people have a great experience at art school, while others find themselves wishing they’d saved their money. While there’s no right answer to this question, here are some pros and cons that can factor into your decision, and hopefully make it a little easier. But is an Art degree worth it?
Reasons it might not be right for you
One of the first things you’re likely to hear when you bring up an art degree is ‘but how will you get a job?’ This is pretty tiring to hear, and it’s an oversimplification. There are jobs in the arts, whether that’s as an illustrator, a graphic designer, an animator, or any other number of fields.
It is true, though, that these jobs do tend to be in high demand, however, and there’s a pretty good chance that you won’t be able to land a job in your field after you graduate, at least not right away. This along with the price tag on the education itself makes it a risky investment, at least in economic terms. So, if financial stability is a priority for you, pursuing a different path might be the wisest choice.
It also depends on where you are as an artist. If you’re an independent, self-disciplined artist and you’re happy with how it’s going on your own, the rigid structure of academia might not be what you need. It’s also perfectly fine to have art as a hobby or a side-gig, and pursuing another career doesn’t mean you’re giving up on your art.
Why an art degree might be right for you
There are also a lot of positives that can come with art school. Having a curriculum to follow can benefit you as an artist in many ways. It keeps you disciplined, producing a high volume of work. It also puts you outside of your comfort zone, which is very important to improving your art. Being forced to try different art styles, depict different subjects and experiment with different media than you’re used to can help you discover new pathways as an artist.
Another one of the great things about art school is the community that you’re a part of. An art school environment is an amazing way to meet friends with similar interests, and it can be really rewarding to take inspiration from each other’s work. It also gives you the opportunity for critique, which allows you to have unique insight into how other people view your work. Plus, there are opportunities for networking in art school that you might not find elsewhere.