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These Are 18 Things I Learned After Graduating from a College of Art

Tantowi grew up drawing and designing. Now she makes videos for a living and loves every second of it.

Art school can be a great experience, even if you're not going to be an artist.

Art school can be a great experience, even if you're not going to be an artist.

This is something I've always wanted to write. For as long as I can remember I wanted to write about my college experience but never did. Having more time passed since I graduated, it seems like the right time. In 2012, I graduated from art college. I studied for 4 years and gained many experiences by studying art.

As a college graduate, I have had both good and bad things to say about. You should know a few things about the life and education I received at the school of art. In my experience, the following may be true, but that does not mean they are true for everyone.

Art School Isn’t for Everyone

Many creative people find that art school isn’t for them. Art schools are not the right choice for them for many reasons. It is not their fault that they do not realize this. Art schools are simply too expensive and time-consuming for many people. It is also difficult to find a job as an artist.

Although art was their first interest, they realized it was not a good fit for their future. In college, they may have discovered that art was more than just a hobby. When other students got jobs and started making more money than them, they may have even become discouraged.

A Degree Does Not Make You an Artist

Graduating from a college of art taught me that you are not defined by your degree. A true artist is not defined by the formal training they have received, but by their practice and insight. You do not have to have a college education to become an artist. By taking classes and working on projects, anyone can learn how to draw and paint.

Some people came to art school to learn about the creative process, express their talents, and build a career in what they love doing most. Years of hard work and struggle have gone into this. Most graduates from art school end up feeling as if their time and effort have been wasted.

You Learn More Outside of the Classroom

The knowledge you gain outside of class has a greater impact on your life than the information you gain in class. Creating a piece with another artist outside of college gives us a lot of experience and insight, compared to studying it in class. You can gain knowledge from great artists off campus and you can also make great relationships that will help you land a job after graduation.

This is because the activity of learning is less linear and more inspired by the world around us. The great thing about being an artist is you can consume new ideas and information at a faster pace than most people. Furthermore, you will be able to see new things from different perspectives since you will be inspired by the artists in your community.

Art Is More Than Just Drawing and Painting

We must learn many different studies, such as cinematography, graphics design, performance art, literature, the history of art, psychology, philosophy, and more. To create a beautiful masterpiece of art, we must learn all of it. From understanding the conventions and history behind media to interpreting work in new ways, from exploring an art language to visualizing complexity.

Be Confident in Your Own Artwork

Art is not about recognizing success. It's not about worrying about what others think of you. Art is about expanding your mind and expanding your heart. The road to becoming an artist is long and winding, full of mistakes and rewards. Sometimes you'll stumble and fall flat on your face, sometimes others will help you pick yourself up. This is life; it's not always easy to get up each day and continue on your journey. You cannot control what people say about you. But you can control how you respond to them. Choose to be confident and unafraid in your own work. Do not allow what others say about you to deter you from your goals.

Art is innovation. It takes boldness to innovate. It's about pushing boundaries, challenging the status quo and sometimes fear of failure. It is important to be present, committed to a vision, and confident in the ability to create. No one said it would be easy. No matter what critics say, it will eventually lead to success if you keep pushing forward.

Treat Your Degree as a Job

As you may know, art schools are no joke. There are countless hours of self-study, late nights studying, and days spent making art. Being an artist is not easy. Most aspiring artists experience some kind of setback during their journey. It's normal. If you fail, establishing discipline in your art will not harm you, but rather force you to learn from your mistakes and improve yourself as an artist. Basically, don't give up when things get tough.

Make a Portfolio

The résumé tells potential employers what skills you have, what experience you have, and what achievements qualify you for the position. You can use your portfolio to show potential employers how you apply your skills in different fields and how your knowledge matches the jobs available in that field. Employers are looking for examples of your work that show how you might apply your expertise to a particular field. Due to that, keep your portfolio up to date once you create a piece of art. You will benefit from it after you graduate from college.

Establish a Career Goal

Often, artists don't think about the future of their careers. A talent for art is not enough. Additionally, artists need to be able to market themselves, negotiate with others, etc. From my experience, young artists don't often think about their careers and are confused about what they should do after graduation. Young artists may focus only on their art and ignore all aspects of their social or business life. Eventually, the artist will lose motivation and interest in other areas of life because nothing exciting happens.

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Connect with People in the Field You Would Like to Work in

Being an artist is not an easy task. Networking is crucial for your success. Engaging in professional organizations and networks is one of the best things you can do to advance your career as an artist. When you do this, you will have access to resources, knowledge, and connections that will help you succeed no matter where you end up working in the future.

After graduating from an art college, I discovered that the reality of being an artist wasn't what I had expected.

After graduating from an art college, I discovered that the reality of being an artist wasn't what I had expected.

Look at Different Media to Develop Your Ideas

To develop their ideas, artists should explore different media. It is important to avoid becoming static and devoted to a particular style. Rather, they should continually challenge themselves and grow in new ways. Studying different artistic mediums allows artists to gain insight into how their own style would evolve over time. Trial and error are sometimes the best ways to take an idea from the ideation stage to the completed product stage. It's a kind of creative sprint, a short-term experience that helps you develop a taste for new things and push yourself in unexpected directions.

Explore the Academic Side of Art

Aside from your major, you must study other academic knowledge, such as communication, marketing, psychology, history, philosophy, or another art. It is possible to create an artwork by using information outside of the field of art. If you do not succeed in the art world or become an artist, you will still have other skills and knowledge that will be useful in the future. A lot of artists fail to find employment outside their major because they lack other skills.

Volunteer for Projects That Interest You

Volunteering is a great way to get active and help others. As an artist, it may also help you find a job in the future. Working with a nonprofit or doing community service is a great way to build a network of people who can help you achieve your career goals. It's also a lot of fun! Opportunities are plentiful and often unexpected.

Be Unique, Not Trendy

Each artist's journey is unique. Each artist expresses perception in their own way. Artis always creates artworks that reflect your own artistic vision. Trendy art may catch our attention, but it is merely superficial. The personal journey of an artist is truly timeless.

No matter how much we follow the trends or how far we get into the arts, our personalities and experiences will always be deeply rooted in timeless ways that will never be compromised.

Save as Much as You Can

I know many artists who struggle financially. They may not have realistic plans for saving money for the future. An artist who is having trouble with their business or is making money from freelance work will find it difficult to save money. The ability to save money for the future is important for anyone, but especially so for an artist who makes their living from their art. Financial planning will make artists miserable if they ignore it.

Work with Artists You Like and Respect

Connecting with artists with similar interests and work will not only help you grow as an artist but will help you form closer relationships with your fellow artists as well. Having the opportunity to work with artists you respect and like (as artists and content creators ourselves) can help you develop new skills, knowledge, and connections. You may find more work in the future if you enjoy working with artists you respect or enjoy. People do better work when they are passionate about what they do.

Don't Be Idealistic When Creating Your Artwork

If you don't know what the world will look like in ten years, don't pretend you know. Therefore, we cannot force people to like our art, because art is essentially subjective. Also, it's impossible to predict how others will respond to your artwork. Artists have a tendency to idealize their work to get the results they desire. You can avoid this by being honest without being idealistic.

Never Take Critique Personally

People who are serious about improving their craft understand how important it is to listen to and learn from others. It is part of the process of becoming proficient at your craft to receive criticism. Artists who are good at what they do often receive criticism from people who aren't as good. It's their job to learn from those mistakes, not to take them personally. Critique should never be viewed as a personal attack from other artists or people in their lives, rather it should be viewed as a tool for growth that will help them develop their craft in ways they couldn't have imagined.

We Should Not Compete with Each Other

We can learn so much from one another about working methods, self-education, approaches to art-making, communication skills, and by engaging in these types of discussions, we can improve not only our art but also our business.

Artists often worry about what others think about them. It is easy to spread false rumors about other artists and be a critic. To make great art, artists need allies, not rivals. More than ever, we need to work together for the common good. Together, artists can create art that changes the world.

Graduating from art school and becoming an artist has many good reasons. In making art, we are given the opportunity to more develop our skills, observe the environment well for our artwork, express ideas, and explore. We can also gain an understanding of other cultures by developing our artistic identity. However, it is unfortunate that art schools prepare you for work as an artist, but do not help you succeed.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Tantowi Gilang

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