Art school anyone

I am wondering who on the forum has finished art school at any time in their life. If so what did the do for them. Good. Bad. How many members would have considered themselves professional artists. Either commercial or fine arts. Meaning did you make a living at it? Pay the the rent and eat that sort of thing?

Comments

  • Kingston

    https://thecreativeindependent.com/artist-survey/

    On earning art degrees


    63% of survey respondents (635 artists) said they had attended art school and earned an MFA or other art-related degree. The below data reflects their responses—those who hadn’t earned an MFA or other art-related degree were asked to skip this section.



    Median ranking
    Key findings on art degrees: Overall, artists feel that attending art school is mostly helpful as a way to develop their practice. However, earning an art degree does not set artists up for financial stability.

    Denis



  • There is a vast difference between commercial art and fine art. They cannot be judged using the same metric. 
  • @dencal
    Is an advanced degree a gauge of success as a 'fine artist'. A masters in fine art is a tool towards teaching not working as an artist. I know quite a few people who teach or taught most of their lives at top schools. Several made 2 livings. Art. Teaching. Over the last 40 or so years the number of MFAs in relation to teaching positions has become unbalanced. Too many MFAs too few teaching positions. I see in the to associations that I'm involved in a lot of MFAs working in newspapers and non-profits. Not producing art. I have never seen any value in an advanced degree in the arts. I doesn't make you an artist. 
    Unfortunately there are many fine artist today excluded from the club for not have advanced degrees. Making art is not like working in an architectural or law firm. 
  • @tassieguy
    Please explain the difference between the the two terms. Since the 60s when studios like Push Pin, Milton Glaser, showed a MOMA. The curtain has been torn down.

    How would we define fine art artist today? Painting in a realism copying in Kodak Color?  How about making Poster Art the helped win a presidency?
      
    The realism that we see today in American fine Arts only existed because magazines collapsed in the 1970s and the hundred of realistic illustrators moved into selling paintings in the 'fine art' marketplace. 

    There is no ID card that shows membership as a fine artist. Or Commercial artist. Advanced degrees don't count. They only show how stupid you are to go into so much debt with so little possible return.
  • Kingston

    Is an advanced degree a gauge of success as a 'fine artist'.
    No. An advanced degree is a gauge of commitment to art as a career and a gauge of the depth and breadth of knowledge about art. The above survey returns, from what can only be described as a biased sample, indicate weak support (40%) for associating a degree and success.

    As for unbalance between MFAs and positions; this is a product of our times. Should the economic pendulum swing towards surplus and excess then many of these MFAs will be swept into publishing, film, exhibitions, consultancy and art productions.

    Being excluded from the club is a common feature of every trade and profession.

    Denis




  • edited August 26
    The only thing I was good at and enjoyed most in school was art.
    In High school I recall doing my O level exam having come back from London to Liverpool on the night train, from a Bob Dylan concert 1977.
    I did well, my art teacher told me if I stayed on I would get my A level, but there was too much going on in my life to do so.

    I recall going to a college interview for an art foundation course, with the view to it being a step towards art college. In the interview the guy, having looked at my portfolio, said to me “you wont even get in with that”.

    That was enough to crush the hopes of the not very confident 16 year old I was then.

    Who knows if I had have got in what may have been, I was not very disciplined. I have also met and heard from various artists over the years that they either did not learn much or that art school was their ruination. Equally I am sure the opposite is true for many.

    But, as is the case with music, there are many fine competent musicians who never went to music school, or cant read a note of it. I think its the same with art.
    tassieguy
  • School, No School?  I don't think it matters. Training, exposure to a broad view of art and culture, lots of time doing artwork, and networking matters.

    I am interested in the fine art market so I tend to look at galleries and collectors particularly. 
    Covid has had a negative impact overall.

    In 2018 62% of transactions were under $5K.  20% were from $5K-$50K.  Only 3% of sales were on-line transactions.  (Also, most on-line shopping was driving collectors to the actual gallery.)

    In 2020 42% were under $5K, 41% were $5K-$20K.  and 25% of the transactions were driven on-line.
    57% of the galleries surveyed were bringing new artists to the primary market (Selling the work for the first time.).  That's good news if you are looking for representation. However, many galleries were focusing on established artists instead of investing resources into emerging artists (which has a high turn over rate.)

    So, while Covid drove the market down to levels not seen since 2008 there was an increase in sales towards more expensive works. 

    Here is a link to the 2021 report (the McAndrew report).
    The-Art-Market_2021.pdf (d2u3kfwd92fzu7.cloudfront.net)

    Its from Basel, a great resource for researching the global art market.
    Art Basel


  • edited August 26

    That's right, @MichaelD. Art school is not necessary for fine art. Some of the best had no formal training. If a fine art painter is serious, one way or another, at some stage, he or she will find a way to acquire the technical means to express what is within him or her. 

    Formal qualifications are probably more important for commercial artists – whose focus is on creating images to persuade people to buy stuff. That is the primary purpose, the raison d’etre of commercial art.  You can get a salaried job as a commercial artist designing labels for soda cans, but you don’t see too many job advertisements for fine art painters. But you do see their work in art museums whereas you won’t see the work of commercial artist in the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum of Art unless they cross over into fine art which some, such as Rockwell, have done. Some fine art painters such as Warhol have used images from commercial art as a way of expressing something about the consumerism and throw-away culture of the modern world.

    Like everyone, fine art painters need to earn a living, but they are not primarily interested in selling stuff but in expressing aesthetic feelings they want to convey to others. In occasionally happens that an artist will produce work that resonates with those of the public who are in a financial position to buy fine paintings, but most fine art painters are forced to supplement their income waiting tables or driving cabs.

    And it could be argued that studying fine art at university can have a stultifying effect on genuinely original painters. It was against this that the impressionists rebelled. And a degree in art won’t necessarily equip you to excel in any other field. I like this quote by the great British scientist, Peter Medawar, who was talking about what passes for education in many arts faculties:

     

    “The spread of secondary and latterly of tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well-developed literary and scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought.”

     

    Quite so. And, as the figures quoted by @Dencal demonstrate, a degree in fine art won’t guarantee you’ll be able to make a living out of your art.  You’ll do it because you love it and have something you need to express. If not, and if you just have a flair for creating images, you will become a commercial artist or go into teaching art at high school level.


    (I think this , in a round-about sort of way, also answers the question put to me by @KingstonFineArt.)


    CBG
  • The following could be complete BS, you tell me.

    Some forms of Art have gone through (and perhaps are still going through) a sort of "con" by those whose pocket-books benefit from telling consumers they don't know what they like, that they have no "taste" and don't know what good art is, essentially dictating what they should buy and/or pretend to like.

    Unlike some media or "art" for which most people could give a rats-A what other people tell them,  e.g. music, and movies, and fiction, the average consumer is often intimidated by paintings and sculpture, and this is by design, at least by those who benefit from the racket.  It is clear that most people are certain of their tastes for some forms of art, but feel "unqualified" to even have preferences or tastes with regard to other forms of art.

    Now, if the consumer (and the budding artist) is simply told
    1. "you don't know what good art is"
    2. "Art is an investment"
    3. "Only WE know what makes good art and hence a good investment: what an artist should paint and a consumer should buy"

    The consumer (and the artist wanting to make a living) becomes a sort of "crop", literally akin to a crop of trees on which grows money.  With enough care and enough "consensus" by the "experts" one can cultivate the money tree to trust only the gatekeepers, and garner a nice cut of multiples of million dollar transactions between those artists and consumers they have cultivated. 

    As long as one can create enough consumers and artists one can lead by the nose, it matters not whether any artist or consumer (hoping to be an investor) actually benefits from the racket, whether artistically, monetarily, or spiritually.  It's a numbers game, an assembly line... profits by volume.  In fact, if the the artists are producing worthless junk, and consumers who don't like it are buying it for overinflated prices... everyone... except the "gatekeepers" with so-called "taste" (and all the while taking nice percentages), loses...

    And those gatekeepers in the right places, with the the right degrees, dictating the scene, are laughing all the way to the bank.


    Now, I could be ENTIRELY WRONG, perhaps this only used to happen, or perhaps it never did, not anywhere, and perhaps it certainly never happens now...


    IMHO
    to an artist "having" a "degree" is probably not useful in any truly artistic sense, only the actual substance of the courses taken and the practice and learning involved during study is actually going to help one make better art, that is the "doing" of the degree, having done the work, not the "having" of the degree...
     
    BUT
    if you DID want to run a racket, (or benefit in any small way from it) a degree is the perfect thing to "have".
    tassieguy
  • There is truth in what you say, @CBG:)
  • edited August 26
    I agree, @GTO. A piece of paper from an art school is pretty much worthless in itself. If art school helps you acquire the technical skills you need to express what is within you then all well and good. But the serious fine art painter will get those skills somehow whether they've had the opportunity to go to art school or not. Either way, it's about honing one's skills and that takes work. A piece of paper from an school for commercial artists may be more useful in getting a job that pays a salary. But spending one's working life designing labels for soda cans won't necessarily help one become a good fine artists. 

    It's a shame commercial fine art galleries are not putting more into emerging artists. But they are in business for profit and not into creating art for art's sake. That's the often non-remunerative job of the fine artist.  :/  :)
    CBG
  • @CBG There is truth to what you say, at any level of the art market.  

    As far as schools go…There are skills required to create great art.  Some technical, some intangible.  It depends on the direction the artist feels they want to traverse.  That direction may require guided instruction. ( Isn’t that what many of us here are grateful for with Mark’s instructions? )

    With regards to what is BS and was is not.  It brings to my mind the Sex Pistols.  They couldn’t play more than one chord and they did that poorly.  Yet they struck a chord in a particular audience and made history.  Their career was brief and I didn’t particularly care for their music.  Was that art?  Was it just bratty crap?  Was that just a response to the overindulgent ‘70’s?  Who knows?  (just for the record…I am not a Sex Pistols fan, never was)

    There were words carved in the portico of the art building where I went to art school.  “Beauty is truth.  Truth is beauty.”    Sometimes the truth is not what we are comfortable seeing (hearing), or even able to understand.  But if it speaks to the human condition sincerely, truly, that makes it great art.
  • I have a BFA in oil painting – fine arts, not commercial. The experience had both good and bad effects on my art making. I studied for 3 years at a local community college with the incomparable Jim Garrison, now retired and doing monthly critiques for the Scottsdale Art League, Arizona, US. He was so good that I delayed going to my final degree-granting university so I could learn more from him. Then, my final years were so unpleasant that it actually hurt my self-confidence and desire to make art. Faculty members were bored with teaching and dismissive with the students. One told me my work was “dogshit” and too representational.

    Although I had 3 galleries representing my work, I did not make a living at it, and eventually quit to do other things. Now I am retired and am resuming my painting.

    PS – for 20 years, I worked part-time as a life model and for medical illustration. I learned a lot from listening to these great teachers (including Merrill Mahaffey) and their students as they talked during the sessions. Wonderful! The memory of these discussions helped keep me going later on.


    GTO
  • edited August 26
    Most fine art teachers at art colleges are failed artists who have degrees in fine art. Sad but true. They didn't fail necessarily because they had no talent. Talent is a myth anyway, as Mark says.  They failed because they didn't love art enough and weren't committed enough to pursue it no matter what. It's easier to teach. That is not to say that some very great fine artists have not also taught as a sideline. But teaching was a way of enabling them to continue in their art and not have to wait tables and drive cabs. It just so happens that some of them were/are also gifted teachers.
  • I think that talent, like IQ, is a real thing, although hard to define.  I have, for two-dimensional design, a modest talent and great desire. For writing (technical, analysis, policy) I have much talent and pretty much no desire. :)  But my writing for my day job paid the bills.

    I disagree that sufficient effort for a sufficient length of time will in the end overcome all obstacles. For one thing, it is impossible to measure (what is the measure of sufficient?) and can be used to harshly judge someone.


  • edited August 26
    Desertsky said:

    I think that talent, like IQ, is a real thing, although hard to define.  I have, for two-dimensional design, a modest talent and great desire. For writing (technical, analysis, policy) I have much talent and pretty much no desire. :)  But my writing for my day job paid the bills.

    I disagree that sufficient effort for a sufficient length of time will in the end overcome all obstacles. For one thing, it is impossible to measure (what is the measure of sufficient?) and can be used to harshly judge someone.


    @Desertsky, I'm glad I did not say that "sufficient effort for a sufficient length of time will in the end overcome all obstacles". My point was that the serious fine art painter will pursue his/her art whether success arrives or not. That was one of the best points made in the book by Steven Pressfield that @mstrick96 mentioned here: https://forum.drawmixpaint.com/discussion/13589/book-the-war-of-art .   It's not about the money. And I think the old saying that goes something like "Talent is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration" is right on the money. As for talent being like IQ, any psychologist will tell you that there are serious problems with the notion of IQ as it is commonly understood and measured.
    Desertsky
  • In my "previous life" I was in engineering, and one thing I learned, which I believe applies to "art school" as much as it does to "engineering school" is that you don't learn to be an "artist" in art school any more than you learn to be an "engineer" in engineering school.  

    Both types of schooling give you the basic tools of the trade, so to speak, and it is then up to you take those tools and learn how to apply them creatively in your chosen profession.  

    The advantage to attending both types of schooling is that you gain those tools faster than you would on your own by trial and error, unless you are very good at self-directed education.
    GTO
  • @mstrick96. Is this art…?

    https://hypebeast.com/2021/8/art-blocks-fidenza-nft-1400-to-3-million-ethereum

    With your engineering background I thought you might appreciate this.  😀. (I too have an engineering background). 
  • @GTO
    It's definitely creative!  However, I think the creativity consists of convincing someone to pay that kind of money for an NFT!
    Part of the attraction to NFTs is supposedly due to the fact that they are unique and non-reproducible.  I would argue that no two items can ever be exactly alike, especially as you get down to the atomic and sub-atomic levels!  So everything is unique!!

    On the other hand, is THIS art???  Ad Reinhardt. Abstract Painting. 1963 | MoMA

  • This is a really great thread, thanks @KingstonFineArt for kicking it off. 

    A couple of observations from me. At school I wanted to peruse art too, and took my portfolio to an open day at the local polytechnic. It was full of wanna-be ‘conceptual’ artist hopefuls. As a 16 year old who wanted to paint like Graeme Sydney, my local hero, it was clear that wasn’t the place for me (I couldn’t even understand their language or what they were talking about). So I turned to science instead (with no regrets), only returning to art recently. 

    Flash forward a number of decades. My daughter last year graduated with a degree in printmaking and drawing (yes, I’m very proud). She had a ball, including a year exchange in Canada where she learnt some amazing techniques such as traditional lithography, and photolithography. With that experience she now has an art-related job, but not as an artist. I guess my point is there is more than one reason for getting a fine art degree. 

    It’s also interesting to listen to Andrew Tischler’s musings on his formal art training, which are not very favorable at all. 
    MichaelDKingstonFineArt
  • @mstrick96 The Reinhardt painting certainly is dis interesting.  
    I wonder if the NFT 3.3M purchase is laundered money.   Maybe not.  They did use Etherium but that could be exchanged for Bitcoin.  Who knows? 
  • @Roxy thanks for sharing.  The modern / contemporary and abstract art is a different (heady) world than representational works.
  • Most successful representational artists I know who when to art scheeol tell me that they learned notthing about representational art there.  In fact, they say that if they had submitted a highly representational piece for an assignment, they would have gotten a failing grade because during the 20th century, art schools were focused on abstract and contemporary art.

    I'm a docent at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia, whihc has some fantastic representational Western Art.  It's an incredible museum.  Many of those artists from the 20th century studied to become illustrators for books and magazines and that is how they earned their living.  They developed their art on the side, more or less on their own or with individual teachers.  Their paintings now go for tens of thousands of dollars at auction!  Howard Turpening's paintings have recently gone for over $1,000,000!  Ross Rossin recently sold his "A Meeting in Time" which is a 12 by 24 foot painting of the US Presidents of the 20th Century for well over $1,000,000.  As part of that deal, he was commissioned to paint the presidents fo the 18th and 19th centuries as well as of the 21st century.  Equally massive paintings that are life sized and highly realistic!

    Of course, the amount paid may or may not reflect on the quality of the art, as you can see from Reinhardt's painting that I referenced above.

    My point is that, thankfully, we seem to be moving away from the trends fo the 20th century back toward more representational realism.   
  • edited August 27
    Thanks for sharing that,  @Roxy. One of my great regrets in life is that I didn't do science like you, instead of law. I love science almost as much as I love art. But my limited schooling meant that I didn't have the mathematics to pursue a career in science.

    At the age of 19, when I was working as a bartender and bored out of my brain, I applied to an art school in Melbourne and actually got accepted into a degree in Fine Art on the basis of some paintings and drawings I'd done  However,  at that age, I had no money and no financial help from parents and there was no way I could live without working an ordinary full-time job.  After a few months of the course I realized I wouldn't be able to continue. The rent had to be paid.  So, I abandoned the course with great regret. Later, when I became established enough financially, I put myself through law school and ended up with my own law practice in Sydney. But always there as this gnawing dissatisfaction, a regret and a desire to paint. I promised myself that when I retired from law I would pursue art. And I did. But I had to rely on the web to learn technique. Thank goodness for the internet. It didn't exist when I was 19. It's advent has made it possible for me to learn technique without art school. 

    I am so grateful for the internet and also to Mark Carder for his free instruction and to the DNP forum for the ongoing support it provides. 

    l try not to beat myself up over not staying the course at art school. As well as my financial problems when I was young, I now think that I really wasn't ready to do art at that age. I wasn't mature enough to understand what it would take - not just the financial difficulties but the years of grueling work without any guarantee of reward.  The idea of fine art as a vocation wasn't established in my mind. And I had other things to prove to myself. And like you, @Roxy, I very soon realized that as a realist painter I was out of place in art school. Abstract expressionism was all the rage in the 1970s an 80s and realism didn't get a look in. If I'd stayed more than a couple of months I'm pretty sure I would have been getting failing grades because of my refusal to go abstract. 

    But, at the end of the day, I'm happy with where I've washed up. The important thing it that, art school or not, I'm now painting and exhibiting. It's never too late!


    DesertskyRoxy
  • @tassieguy - We have had similar experiences, and I suspect that many people have had the same. (Isn't it wonderful to be retired and with enough money to pursue art?)

    BTW, my teacher Jim Garrison, whom I mentioned earlier, was a gifted representational artist, so some good representational teachers were out there during the 20th century abstract drought. He told us that he trained under an artist who was directly linked to Titian's atelier through the generations of master-apprentice training. So, I guess I am too, although Titian is not one of my favorite painters. However, I take delight in putting in the centerpoint of my paintings a high contrast round something. 
    tassieguy
  • edited August 27
    Yes, @Desertsky, there is something to be said for retirement. 

    I like the secret Titian motif - a nice touch and a nod to tradition and your teacher.  :)
  • It's an interesting question. I feel that artists now have such a wealth of knowledge easily available that was never present before. The internet has given rise to forums like this but also a wide range of freely available videos on all different kinds of paint mediums and techniques.

    I think back to the dutch golden age with an apprentice system and learning how to hand mull their paints and with such limited knowledge of art and art history (compared to now) when they couldn't even see masterpieces in the flesh.

    But of course, they had a level of dedication and commitment to their craft with the promise of a full career for paying patrons (at least in the Dutch time). I don't think students in today's world have that level of focus and work.

    So for me, vastly more information, but correspondingly less dedication and commitment (and I include myself in that!) :)
    tassieguy
  • @Richard_P
    Unfortunately, the information available from the internet for artists is about like what is available on every other subject.  A great deal of it is plain wrong!!

  • True. It's necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff.
  • My original post on art school and whether it has improved your life.

    "I am wondering who on the forum has finished art school at any time in their life. If so what did the do for them. Good. Bad. How many members would have considered themselves professional artists. Either commercial or fine arts. Meaning did you make a living at it? Pay the the rent and eat that sort of thing?"

    I was expecting yes "I went to art school and it let me to do this or that." Or "I wished I had gone or I'm glad I didn't go"

    Being optimistic the responses surprised and disappointed me.

    What we got was some statistics on advanced degree income. More statistics on average prices of art work sales.

    A general tone that the fine art market is stacked against realism. That late 20th century modern art is not worthy of the title fine art.

    That art teachers at college level are losers. "Failed artists"

    The art education is unnecessary. Art degrees are usless. The internet is all we need to become self taught.

    Lack of confidence as a youth.

    Even a stab at bitcoin.

    One voice of reason saying that internet stuff might not be all that great.

    Only 1 positive response. One.


    I ask. Were the engineering, law and science professors failed individuals in their fields? I think not.

    Higher education's purpose is to expand one's possibilities.
    Art school was an experience for me. I met wonderful teachers . I met more than my share of shitty teachers. I made life long friends. Exposed to so much I hadn't even dreamed of. It was tough, challenging, rewarding and fun. Along with a few tears. By challenging those teachers that had little faith in me I developed a confidence in my skills. Mind skills, hand skills, people skills. There we ups downs and big shifts in life but the experiences from my little art school helped take me a long way.
    It wasn't until after school that I learned what being an artist was. Working hard. Real hard. Moving furniture, house painting, even meanial factory work. Never changing course. Leaving myself open to fresh ideas and constructive criticism. Here's the biggy, How to deal with rejection.
    I found that isolation wasn't productive. I couldn't have made my way alone.
    Over the years. Many years. I developed into an artist. Unique. Multidimensional. Creative. Able to solve problems and create unique solutions. Even unrelated to pigment or pencil. I had learned how to communicate complex concepts, thoughts and ideas visually. As a cartoonist, illustrator, ad man, editorial artist, painter and interactive developement.

    I hoped for similar stories. Not anti art education. Not questionable stats. Not negativity.
  • edited September 5
    I got a Bachelor of Arts Joint Honors Degree in Fine Art and the History of Art and it killed my passion for creating art for many years. If you didn't follow the post modernist doctrine of the teachers then you were not in the 'club'. The only things I took from my time at university was an interest in architecture, printmaking and a love for art history. Looking back I wish there was an Atelier I could have went to instead but they were not really around back then.
    I knew I was wasting my time when one of the teachers invited the class to an evening performance of his which involved him bare chested with his arm flexed like you do to show a bicep muscle and spending an hour trying to fill the gap in between with mixed cement using a trowel, obviously it kept falling away. I guess he was expressing the fragility of masculinity or some garbage? Personally I think he was doing it just to try and get some of the female students into the sack. 
    tassieguy
  • Well, @kingtonFineArt, as the old Rolling Stones song goes, "You cant always get what you want". 

    Maybe you should have said in the OP that you only wanted positive responses. That way the thread would have died with only one post and you wouldn't have been disappointed by the negative responses.  :)
    Richard_PAbstractionMichaelDHondoRW
  • edited September 5
    I learned long ago that when you post on here the responses can go in any direction, thats healthy.

    Personally I found it interesting to read all the different input.

    It certainly was not all negative.

    I hadn’t realised there was an expected criteria for responding to the post.

    Strictly speaking I did not go to art school (which was asked), but I wanted to, and did, put forward my attempts at trying to do so.

    I only wish it had been a positive experience.

    The upshot is that I absolutely love doing art and did not allow a negative judgemental person to put me off pursuing it in my own way.
    tassieguyRichard_PDesertsky
  • I did art at school when I was 16-18, but I never went to an art school or college. I found when I did art at school it was mostly work on your own on different projects. Then when I studied English and Psychology at University that it was very much go and learn about this on your own and come up with essays, etc..

    So, it was all pretty much practise, work it out yourself rather than any kind of 1:1 tuition. I don't know if that is what is done at art schools? I would like to do a workshop with an artist I admire to get that 1:1 tuition (to some extent).
    tassieguyMichaelD
  • I did not go to art school.
    Perhaps, it was a cop out, but I did not want to ever have a timeline on my art and to risk beginning to dislike it by making a living out of it.  Consequently, I have played with it all my life and never achieved much; C'est la vie!
    I did not get on with my art teacher in high school, and felt art teachers in college may be the same.

    Therefore, I am not qualified to be posting here, but have anyway.
    tassieguyMichaelD
  • I attended a summer class in sixth grade.  We did mostly water colors. Mr. Wild was the teacher. He was a caring teacher and I enjoyed the class .  That was my first set lesson.  I still have that watercolor today on the bulletin board in my studio. 

    tassieguy
  • edited September 5
    I taught high school for a while and I was a kid myself once and in my experience kids really enjoy art. It seems to be that when they go to art college some kids get the enjoyment and wonder of art knocked out of them because the art schools and the teachers are so in thrall to current trends in art that they don't give students room to develop in directions that interest them or suit their talents. At least, that's what I saw in my couple of months at art school. It was abstract expressionism or nothing. Realism was met with "Nah, that's not where it's at, man."

    Silly me. I thought I'd learn the techniques of the Heidelberg School masters such as Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts who's paintings enthralled me so much as a kid. But no, that was no longer where it's at. I well remember a painting tutor saying to me derisively, "Well, if you want to paint blue hills and gum trees you're in the wrong place." I surely was. The school and the teachers saw themselves as avant garde and anything that wasn't abstract expressionism was passé. So I had this cognitive dissonance going on.  I knew what good art was for me but was hearing that that sort of art was no longer any good. So I think it's just as well that I couldn't afford to stay at art school. I think the old atelier model that @Intothevoid mentioned would have suited me better.

    Art schools went from one extreme to the other. In19th Century France, for example, the Academie de Beaux Arts was hidebound by tradition and pretty much moribund. It was against this that the impressionists rebelled. In the 20th Century fine art schools went in the other direction completely and threw out tradition and fine craftmanship and the more bizarre and confronting a painting was the higher it was graded.  From what I've read I think that today there is a tentative move back to more of a middle ground. I hope so.  
  • edited September 5
    Oh, and in case anyone gets the wrong idea, please don't think I'm dissing abstract art. I love it and have bought some fine abstract paintings over the years. It's just not a direction I'm interested in taking my own painting at this time. 
  • KingstonFineArt - I thought the varied responses were informative and useful. Almost all of them were specific to the topics you gave in the OP: formal training, effects, income, professional careers, and so on. Some gave more context to the responses, which I found really useful. Again, I thought that the responses were exactly what you requested in the OP.

    Similar to what @Tassieguy and @Abstraction have written, I did not think you were requesting positive responses. Could you perhaps explain in more detail why you are disappointed in our responses? Do you think they are not reflective of our actual experiences? That we are – en masse – wrong in our conclusions?   

    I am happy for you that your experience was more good than bad and that you were able to make a living at art. That so many who desired to and were unable to is a reflection of the realities of formal art school and the marketplace in different countries across the world. For me, it does not lead to the conclusion that they (and I) just did not try hard enough :)

    @Abstration – yes, I agree with you about Dr. Dewey. Weird that he thought teaching music was OK, but not visual art. Hmmm. A lot in common with the abstract impressionists.

    tassieguyMichaelDAbstraction
  • edited September 19
    I too did not attend art school, although I’ve always liked art. Like GTO, I took art in 6th grade. Then in college  I took an art history class to fulfill an elective requirement (I studied economics). I thought “this is something I will never use again”, and now I find it very interesting. From all I gather, I’m glad I did not attend art school. Like others have said, an atelier would have suited me better. 
    It may sound like a cop out but I grew up in a low income, single parent household pretty much raised on welfare. I had no interest in being a starving artist for years before I could make a living at it. I just say that to give insight into my perspective at that young age. 
    ArtGaltassieguyMichaelDanwesha
  • edited September 20
    Thanks for sharing that, @HondoRW. I don't think it's a cop out at all. I grew up in similar circumstances, and art school was a luxury people like me couldn't afford when I was young. I loved art but my fear of hunger and homelessness was more pressing. But it all turned out well in the end. Thank goodness art school was not necessary.  :)
    ArtGal
  • @HondoRW I had similar circumstances, unfortunately dealing with a lot of the difficulties of everyday life prevented me from applying myself well at school.

    I had a very wild upbringing. 
    My mum, did her best, was a single parent with 5 kids and whilst many of my school friends families (mid 1970s) were buying the latest big wow in tec-the VHS machine, we were living in Dickensian conditions without any electricity, cooking meals on the coal fire by candle light.


    Cue the violin music, Lol.

     :) 
    ArtGaltassieguyIntothevoidanwesha
  • @MichaelD
    Your upbringing sounds a lot like mine!
    My childhood was a very tough one and I wonder what the correlation between art and adverse circumstances is?
    I know that I turned to art to escape my surroundings and to this day I see an increase in artistic creativity whenever I'm faced with struggle in my life...
    Can I borrow you're violin?  =)
    ArtGalMichaelDtassieguyanwesha
  • edited September 20
    @Intothevoid, yes I guess that is testament to its therapeutic value.

    Ive no doubt there will be a few others on here with similar backgrounds too.

    We are going to need an orchestra  =)
  • Guys - you (we) are hilarious! I just have a CD with the violin music.:)  I also come from poverty and have found it extremely motivating.  So, back to violin music, what composition is best?!?
    tassieguy
  • Looks like I started something.... :) ...sorry =)

    Playing Violin GIFs  Tenor

    tassieguyIntothevoid
  • Don't apologize, @HondoRW. I think it's wonderful to read how many of us have struggled and found painting.  :)
  • Desertsky said:
    Guys - you (we) are hilarious! I just have a CD with the violin music.:)  I also come from poverty and have found it extremely motivating.  So, back to violin music, what composition is best?!?
    Beethoven String Quartet No. 16, Op. 135

    The slow movement (Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo (D♭ major) is sublime. But the whole thing is as amazing as it is enigmatic. If you love strings this is a composition for you.
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