Monday, May 6

Should I Go To Art School?

This is a question I get asked so often, and I have had difficultly giving others advice about it because I was unsure about the answer myself. After much reflection I have come to a conclusion about it. Remember, whatever feels right to you is always best. Deep down you will know what you should do and where you want to go in life. Don't listen to others if they're not supportive. This might be challenging if this is someone that you respect or has control over your situation, like your parents. Just try to kindly reason with them, and most likely they will respect and understand why this is best for you.

Now, I'm not saying go run off to art school and think that it will solve all of your problems. If you do not truly love what you do it will never work out. It will not get easier with time, it only gets harder, and if you're miserable doing something now, then it will never change. Whatever you choose to do will become your job eventually. So if you don't want your hobby that you love dabbling in every once in a while to become your 24/7 job, then it's not right for you. You will unfortunately burn out fast and find out the hard way. One wrong degree later, and six figures in debt.

Speaking of debt, this is not to be taken lightly. It will change your life, and not for the better. I didn't completely understand it when I was a teenager, and thought that everything would be okay and ends would meet once I got a bad-ass job. That's a delusional and naive outlook for sure.

Most artists will not make a lot of money, but that's the risk with any field. I'm not saying that to crush your dreams of becoming a rich famous artist, but in reality, artists in the entertainment industry are always behind the scenes, are lucky to get a credit, have average paying jobs in expensive cities, and are always working in extremely stressful environments. Is this something you truly want? Art can always remain a beautiful hobby, but when you choose to turn it into a career, it will become just that, a job.

If you're unsure about the path you want to take then I recommend dabbling in it first. Practice on your own, take a single class focusing on that particular skill, or go to a related summer camp. These are all great ways to give it your all and see if you still love what you're doing after some time has pasted.

Lastly, going to a university for four years is not always the only option. I absolutely loved my university and all of the social experiences that came with it. But looking back on it, because of financial reasons, I'm a big believer in only taking classes for what you need or funding them a few at a time. In today's day and age, a college degree doesn't mean that you will get work. Any skilled professional is sought after because they do whatever they do better than others and are hard to replace, college degree or not. I'm reminded of three skills one must possess to be successful professionally. One must: Have stellar skills, be punctual, and be a great person to work with. If you have these down, then you're a cut above the rest.

Let me go into it further. So the first skill is pretty self explanatory; you have to be an amazing artist from a technical standpoint. Is your work outstanding, and commercially is it what the client needs? Be truthful about this, and if not then this is where college or self teaching comes into play. If you're awesome, then a degree doesn't matter. I know so many people personally that have gotten a job in the industry and never finished school. There are loads of famous examples too, that I'm sure you can research if you're interested in. On the other hand, I know people that have several degrees and still can't figure out what they want to do. Forever wandering and using college as an excuse to never start living. They're afraid of anything other than school because that's comfortable for them.

The second skill is punctuality, both for deadlines and showing up on time. I have never missed a milestone or deadline with a client, and I'm always on time daily or for meetings/conference calls. This time management skill is so important to have, and makes you a reliable team member.

The third skill is being a kind and awesome person to be around. Are you a pleasant person? Do people smile and light up when you're around? Emotions and moods are contagious and affect everyone you work with. If you're a pain in the ass or arrogant, nobody is going to want to hire you. Happiness is learned just like everything else. If it doesn't come natural, it will in time if effort is put into it.

So these skills can be learned in a variety of different ways. How one chooses to get there is not important; but possessing all three is. That's why college, being the most traditional approach, is not the only way. There's an excessive amount of free information available online for young and/or inspiring artists. So many professionals are sharing their secrets and helping others learn on forums, blogs, YouTube, etc. This raises the bar for all of us, and lifts us up to inspire each other in new ways. Take advantage of this, especially if you do not have the funds for a university. It's all about one's drive and hours of practice. It doesn't matter if that's in a thousand-dollar classroom, or at home watching a video. It's what one does with the information that's key.

In closing, I will say this, surround yourself with like-minded people and move to wherever you need to be. I've heard stories about people jumping freight trains (don't do this please) to get to where they were going. Moving to California was one of the best decisions I ever made because it was where I personally needed to be for my ideal life. That will be different for everyone. Don't be afraid, because you have to go where the scene is. If you don't want to, or your heart is telling you that it's not right, then it's probably not. Perhaps freelancing is in your future. Or working remotely online. Whatever you choose, I wish you the best.  

If you have any questions at all, I'm here to help. Going to university is not the only path
in the art world. Stick with what you love, never give up, and never stop learning.
You will get there, and the world needs you for just that.

~Claudia

29 comments:

  1. I really love reading about this. Thank you very much for it, especially from a Veteran that recently served 8 years.

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    1. Oh thank you Brian. I'm glad to hear it. You're welcome.
      I have so much respect for you.
      <3 Claudia

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  2. Thanks for all that advice. I'll keep that in mind. My friend is moving to your state for his career and I might as well.

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    1. Sure thing Matthew. :) Oh really? What would bring you here specifically?
      <3 Claudia

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    2. Plan to work as a game designer/translator at either Sony, Nintendo or Apple.

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    3. Ah cool. Nintendo America is up in Redmond, WA though.
      Sony is in Foster City, CA and Apple is in Cupertino, CA.

      ~Claudia

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    4. Exactly, so who knows what life will bring me. Where u live is perfect for u cause not only cause of your career it's because it is warmer and have lots of support for healthy living and the Eco system unlike CT where it's hard for me to get the lifestyle I want.

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    5. For sure. :) Just take steps towards your goals. Indeed, CA is wonderful for that. What are you having problems with in CT? Like finding farmer's markets and such?

      Thank you for the website link as well. I checked it out.
      ~Claudia

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    6. Farmer's market as well as pollution, smokers and etc. what's society like in Cali?

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    7. Well you're definitely not going to get away from pollution in CA. As far as smokers are concerned, that matters the company you keep. :) That depends on the city really when it comes to society. The SF area is known for it's kind people. LA, not so much. XD
      ~Claudia

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    8. I heard in LA that there's no Dunkin Donuts. I even have relatives who live next state over in Nevada that I don't see very often and I wanted to live close to visit them more often and 3 years ago I was about to go to your state with my family for vacation and they're gonna meet up with us and do stuff but a huge blizzard had happened and our flight was delayed until New Year's Eve so we canceled the trip...

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    9. Oh okay. Yeah, I'm sure you do miss your family. Nevada is a pretty state! Do you have lots of relatives in CT? That's too bad about your trip. It's always best to play it safe with a storm, so it was probably for the best. Maybe it will happen again soon. :)
      ~Claudia

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    10. I hope so too and I don't really have any relatives that live in CT, I have some that live in New York and some live in New Jersey but they're moving to New York sometime this year. Hopefully I will make it to Cali someday with my family and who knows if we bump into each other.

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    11. Ah! I see. NY is a fun city too. Do you get to visit often? :)
      For sure, perhaps we shall.
      ~Claudia

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    12. Been there millions of times!! So beautiful!! I should totally come to NY and CT sometime, they're such nice states.

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    13. Oh wonderful. :) I've been to NY, but not CT. What type of things do you recommend there?
      ~Claudia

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    14. I would recommend connection where various conventions (including anime r held) as well as the Hartford XL center where they hold many sporting events, harbor yard in Bridgeport home of Webster arena where in the spring the Bridgeport bluefish baseball team play and in the winter Bridgeport sound Tigers, there's also the Yale museum in New Haven ct, Savin rock in west haven where there's a gorgeous walking point and beach, yale bowl also in New Haven and it is also home to the world's two well known broadcasting stations such as WWE in Stamford Ct and ESPN in Bristol there. Although it's safe, here the weather gets weird such as lots of snow and heat waves which reminds me that I'd request a blogpost from u of life remedies to survive in the winter. It's still a nice place and your sisters, your friends and u should stop by. U could stop by Massachusetts if u want. I can even fill u in what they have there as well.

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    15. Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to write such an awesome guide Matthew. I'll definitely keep all of this in mind if I do venture out one day.

      I do remember those harsh winters. My best advice is to travel some place warm for a bit if you have the funds. We had a wood stove as well that would heat the whole house. My family collects wood for the entire winter. It helps keep the bills down too.

      <3 Claudia

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    16. Anytime Well I live in an apt and my family and I can't do it cause things have been complicated and I'm busy at work a lot so I have a low chance of doing it. I'd rather reside at my apt keeping up to date with your post and friends rather suffering in the cold, although I did some exploring during that huge blizzard back in February and I even have pictures if u would like to see them. Hey I just thought of an idea for your YouTube channel. Since your gonna go around helping people getting into better shape, why don't u have your little reality series doing it!? What do u think about that?

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    17. I completely understand. :) Yeah, I remember you telling me about the Blizzard. I believe you sent the pictures too.

      Is it getting warmer there now? Do you get a lot of springtime rain?

      Yes, great minds think alike! :D I have thought of doing that as well. It's something that I would sincerely consider. I'm super close to getting my camera. I hope to have it this summer.
      ~Claudia

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    18. Yes we r getting lots of rain and it just rained yesterday. Awesome!! do u have anybody in mind that's gonna be in it?

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    19. Ah! We are too today. :) No, I don't have anybody in mind yet. I haven't put anything into motion.
      ~Claudia

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    20. So where is it gonna shot at?

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    21. I haven't thought that far ahead. :) Right now, I'm focusing on getting the camera first. It will be the beginning of a lot of different and exciting things.
      ~Claudia

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    22. Oh I just remembered that I actually went to San Francisco once with my parents but I don't remember it cause I was only a baby then and my mom was pregnant with my sis.

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