Discussion in 'Rants, Musings and Ideas' started by Mirikun, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. Mirikun

    Mirikun Well-Known Member

    ARGH. I'm just feeling so frustrated about all of this crap right now.

    I just feel like I've had enough of all of this school shit. Seriously. It's like I'm just sitting in this stupid place I don't particularly want to be at every day, wasting my time to get some meaningless piece of paper. All the stress surrounding it is hindering me in working on actually building up a career, and working hard in the direction I'm going in. I'm studying illustration, and I know where I'm going with my art. And it's not arty farty bullshit for newspapers they try and teach us how to do there. Next to university, I do about three art commissioned a day which is enough to pay all my bills. And still I waste my time to get this stupid degree that I feel is just holding me back.

    This probably sounds snobbish but... Seeing there are professional illustrators who have to work part time at schools, I'm obviously making more than them already. I don't know why I even bother. I'm just sitting here trying to hurry up and get my degree so that I'd have something to fall back on if things don't work out I guess. It's just that I feel I'm not getting anything out of this bullshit other than some stupid formality (eventually), less money, and less time to work on what I'm really good at.

    I mean, I do kind of enjoy going to Uni... I wish they would do more proper workshops where they teach us how to do useful things. Most of the time we just go in, have some tea, make Christmas cards or something(lol hi again, kindergarten), then they send us off to draw some crap in town or tell us to cut stuff out of magazines or something. As much as I enoy this all, how the hell is th is what I'm paying thousands a year for? The only thing that we do regularly that I think us genuinely helpful to our skills and experience is life drawing.

    I guess I'll just have to hang in there. :/ All these "contemporary illustrators" obviously find themselves awfully clever and modern too, with their stupid collage shit or whatever.

    Why having a degree makes employers find me so much better at stuff is beyond me. I get the feeling that they value a degree because it shows that you were strong enough to put up with more of this school bullshit for that long lol.

    BLAAAAAH. Only 3.5 years to go, LOL.
  2. Mr Stewart

    Mr Stewart Well-Known Member

    Hey Mirikun.

    This post of yours could have easily been written by me back in my first year of art school. Art majors in particular run a constant tension between themselves and their required course work, their professors, and the things they want to learn in contrast with the things being taught. Some material is useless, some is nice to know but not helpful in any professional sense, then maddeningly there are key bits that turn out to be super important, finding which becomes your primary task as an art student. Makes you, or it made me anyway, envy people in medicine or law or engineering, where the bulk of the stuff they learn is all important to know if not directly applicable to their career path all the time. Some parts of the standard BFA curriculum is utter and total meaningless garbage (modern art theory I'm looking at you).

    So. Background on me and my career path first. I graduated with a BFA in Art (drawing) from the local university in 2007. After finishing I landed ass backwards into a part-timey jobby job at the university (not in any way art related) with intent to start freelancing illustration jobs and eventually transition into that full time once I had built up a suitably large client base. I remain at the part time, now mostly full time, job because do not enjoy freelancing. I still do it from time to time but it's not something I seek out anymore. Psychological issues, especially social problems, get in the way. Freelancing is all about making contacts and interpreting other people's ideas. If you're comfortable with that and have some skill, you can do well for yourself. Not so for me. Interpreting other people's ideas is especially difficult, I find.

    Under that context, how to get the most out of art school while you're there without losing your mind from frustration in the process:

    -your course work will become more independent in the second half of your degree. Once they start to give you an inch of rope in freedom, I insist you take 50 feet. Focus on exactly the things you think you need to learn and worry about justifying it to your professors later. It's fairly easy to rationalize pretty much any style or format choice to an art professor if you use the standard art faculty circular logic. Hell, there were people back in school submitting sculptures in what was ostensibly supposed to be a dry media drawing studio course in this way.
    -take every single computer software related course available to you. This is extremely important. Learn how to use vector graphics. Also extremely important. Teach yourself if you have to.
    -If there are any courses devoted to working professionally as an artist, take them. If not, see about taking entry level business school courses on doing taxes for small business.

    Most important bit:

    -"required course" and "required prerequisite" are not as inflexible as they may seem. If there is a course or two that you want to take but don't necessarily have the prereq for, talk to your department head in person and argue the point with them. Same for getting out of courses you don't want to take. March in there and say, "I don't want to take this and I would like to take this other thing instead." It can work if you argue your case sufficiently.

    Hang in there. And yep, the piece of paper is useful to have even if you end up applying for jobs entirely unrelated. So it goes.
  3. Mirikun

    Mirikun Well-Known Member

    So sorry for my crazily slow reply to this!

    Thank you so much for your amazing reply. You're completely right. I've been doing a lot better recently and am now enjoying university lots. :) Thank you!
  4. Wastingecho

    Wastingecho Well-Known Member

    glad to see you could turn things around

    keep at it

    wish i had been able to complete a degree - any degree - one of the things that has me stuck now
  5. gloomy

    gloomy Account Closed

    I have an utterly useless degree that I kind of wish I hadn't gotten. It did open some doors but I think I'd be a lot happier and wealthier if I had done something else… OP if you can make money now you should really ask yourself if you even need the degree. They are expensive and in some cases they don't mean as much as your profs/fellow students would like to believe.

    To be honest, I feel like when I finished school I was actually more confused, less happy and also a lot less creative than I was before I started… and I couldn't get a job without spending even more money on more school… and now I'm still pretty unhappy because even though I don't hate my job, it's still pretty frickin' far from ideal and I might as well have just spent the money on something I really wanted to do.

    I also think that just having a degree is meaning less and less because since everyone is getting them, they're actually being massively devalued… and a lot of academics are douchebags who don't care about the students and who aren't teachers/educators in any sense of the word.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2012