The $128,000 Question

Drawing Duet on watercolor paper

Day 189: Drawing Duet

A fellow artist purchased a piece of art from me the other day and sent me an email with a couple of questions I’m sure I asked somewhere along the line. One of them was- “Did you go to art school? Do you think it was worth it?” and boy, is that a tough one to answer! Financially, it was not the best idea ever. Had I gone a full four years, it would have cost about $128,000. I was able to transfer some credits from community college, which helped, but private art school costs a pretty penny. Developmentally as an artist, I feel my time at CCAC (now the California College of the Arts) was invaluable. I loved every minute of it- literally. I learned so much and met so many wonderful people. Just being on their campuses brought me joy.

Rob & I saw big fluffy clouds like this on our trip out to the river in Auburn today.

But what you do learn somewhere along the way is that art school is a baby bird scenario anyway. You pretty much can’t march into an office with a BFA in Drawing & Painting and walk out with a 60K offer letter. You’re there to learn technical skills, yes, but the most important thing you can take away before trying to fly on your own is the marketing part. There’s no “field of dreams” reality with artmaking- in fact, I met a man a couple months ago in his eighties who had been painting for decades, never sold one piece, and was just showing his work for the very first time. He wasn’t trying to make a living of it, of course.

Sometimes I wish there were little neon identifiers over other artist’s heads like some kind of Sim City, letting me know that despite the barista/office clerk/cashier exterior, a struggling artist waits inside. Because we’re out there… we’re everywhere. 🙂 And that love for art usually starts with drawing, which is what I did today- two small watercolor/ pen/ pastel pieces similar to the one from the other day.

Somehow this one makes me think of Frogger...

3 thoughts on “The $128,000 Question

  1. Thanks so much for your feedback, and for blogging about my questions as well, so that others may gain insight into these sorts of quandaries! Your perspective and personal insights are helpful, and I am very grateful you were willing to be so open about your personal experience……
    But I have to admit, I still sit here wondering what my next move should be! Regardless, I also sit here with a renewed sense of admiration for all the struggling artists out there! This calling isn’t as easy as some may think, and I hope that more people will realize the strength, courage, endurance, and perseverance it takes to make and live a life as an artist!


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