Art school ain’t easy

Like a million years ago we published a post addressing the idea that maybe Academy of Art diplomas aren’t good for shit. It continues to get new comments on a regular basis. Here’s one now:

If your hatin’ then you obviously didn’t have what it takes to succeed in the real world as a creative person. I am sure it is a lot easier to try to bring down an organization by slandering it as opposed to busting your ass and trying to accomplish something with the opportunity that you have or had.

The hard fact is that the economy sucks and that means that you have to be even more badass than everyone else out there just to get a paycheck.

On top of that, a lot of people get the misconception that “Art” school is easy. Wrong.

Dang. I guess I shall cease considering art school. Read on.


8 thoughts on “Art school ain’t easy”

  1. I attended the fine art program at AAU for a little less than two semesters. I don’t know about all the programs there (photography seemed to be a walk in the park, for example) but my program was EXTREMELY hard work. Outside of classes (which were about 20 hours a week) I was doing at least 40 hours of work. The classes were INCREDIBLY competitive and had VERY high standards. I had been at the top of all my classes before transferring to AAU, and was somewhere in the lower middle once I transferred. The idea that the school just lets you buy your degree is absolute bullshit. Most of the students I knew (and I was the only fine art student in my building) were also working pretty much nonstop all the time. I also had incredibly good teachers.

    That said, I hate that school and would warn anyone away who asked me. The instructors are almost universally VERY underpaid and poorly treated (except for a small number of teachers who have prestigious names, who are given a lot more money and a lot more perks just so they will stay and make the school look better on paper) and the administration doesn’t care SHIT about their students. They don’t have nearly enough equipment and supplies in most departments, many of their dorms are (or were) complete shitholes, and yet they always seems to have mountains of money to spend on unnecessary real estate acquisitions.

    I personally actually think that we were required to do too MUCH work, at least in my department. Outside of art school, NO ONE wants to go near “student work,” no matter how good it is, and with my workload, I had absolutely no time to work on my own art. Unless I had decided to become a tweaker and give up on sleep entirely. Obviously, this wouldn’t have been an issue if I were in the architecture, graphic design, fashion illustration etc. departments, where student work is less of a problem–and where you’re actually going to be looking for a “job” in your chosen field, and thus want that nice BFA or MFA on your resume.

    As a fine artist, I already knew the techniques to make art before I went into school. What I needed to know was stuff like: how to approach galleries, how to make a good portfolio, how to take good photos of my work, how to make myself “legit” in the eyes of the government, how to market my work, etc. etc. Which is all stuff that AAU pretty much doesn’t teach and doesn’t even require for a degree :(

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