question for art majors/minors

<p>Hey guys, I'm deciding my college major for my college in 2 months! Originally I was planning to major in one of the arts (art and design/creative arts ....) until people started to tell me that an art degree is not a very good idea. I've been hearing that most.. about (80%) of what they teach in art colleges/classes can be learned outside on your own or taking some part time classes or watching youtube. And also that if I want to work in art industry, my portfolio will make up for my major in something other than art.( assuming that my portfolio is very good!) </p>

<p>I've been wondering if it's true because I've also learned alot from internet tutorials and clips. I took 3 consecutive years of art in high school therefore I have some experience with art. I was wondering if majoring in art would be a waste of time and money ( I will be paying 35k or more a year). So the questions are :</p>

<p>Is it possible to learn the things taught in art courses in college on my own or by taking a few evening classes outside college.</p>

<p>Is art major really bad as people say ?</p>

<p>Can you get into art industry if you have a strong portfolio but not an Art degree ?</p>

<p>Is an Art degree worth it ?</p>

<p>My concern is that I will be paying a lot of money and time for most of the things that can be learned by myself and at a cheaper price... while taking a major that can be useful.</p>

<p>( I dont mean to offend or stress other people by this ) =)</p>

<p>It's really different from person to person. </p>

<p>If you plan on doing something highly technical like animation, unless you are working as a freelancer, you'll pretty much need to get a degree for it.</p>

<p>If you want to sell your work and display in galleries... well that's a different story.</p>

<p>In my honest opinion, you don't need a degree to go out and sell your work and have shows.</p>

<p>First of all, someone that doesnt go to an art school wouldnt have access to the same facilities as an art major would. You cant learn sculpture on your own for very practical reasons. If you want to be a designer, then you need a degree simply because employers prefer people that studied design at art center, pratt or parsons over the accountant that watched youtube videos and decided to become an industrial designer. Painting and drawing...maybe not as much, but you still need the consultation of a practicing artist.</p>

<p>Judging by your post, I assume you're more interested in working in the design industry rather than as a 'fine artist'. In which case i'd have to say yes, art school is worth it. Here are a couple of reasons.</p>

<p>1) It's not just about software and technical proficiency. Learning how to use dreamweaver or indesign and saying you're a designer is kind of like learning autocad and saying you're an architect. There are a lot of historical, cultural, professional, social and theoretical considerations etc that go into many practicing designers' work. Going to art school does help you develop these.</p>

<p>2) Sure you can teach yourself all the historical and theoretical stuff in addition to the technical necessities but many art schools tend to offer design students what you might call preprofessional training. Things like managing your workflow, handling multiple projects, dealing with clients etc. Sure none of these things are comparable to real life work experience but having someone give you professional guidance does put you at an advantage. Recently I took a part time job cooking at a restaurant. I thought oh i'm good at cooking for myself and friends so why don't i work in restaurant. And, at the moment, I'm rather surprised, if not overwhelmed by how much other time/workflow management and organizational stuff is actually involved in cooking (semi) professionally. </p>

<p>3) As one of my professors constantly reminds me, the most significant thing about going to art school is probably getting the chance to develop a peer group with similar interests. No amount of studying or practice compares to the kind of knowledge/experience you can develop from interacting with people who have similar interests. Also, I've noticed personally that the cultural industries, things like advertisting, art, design, media etc tend to be relatively nepotistic. People will work with people they know, so knowing a few people helps. </p>

<p>4) Finally to add to Timkerdes' point, if you're an autodidact with little professional experience, firms/clients have virtually no way of assessing your capabilities. This of course isn't a problem if you plan on working in a small town doing layouts for the weekly newsletter or your neighbours' websites. You can definitely work your way up but if you want to live in a big city and start your career with an internship at somewhere like pentagram, art school would be a must.</p>

<p>Of course none of that means that you can't work as a designer if you don't go to art school but art school does put you in a significantly better position to start from if you can afford it. I used to work at a design studio before and one of the directors was pretty much an autodidact. His specialty was branding but he was also great with typography/layout stuff and knew tonnes about everything. It took him a while to get there though. Also, I'm actually an art student (i.e fine art), so there's no reason to take my advice too seriously but i've always suspected that most people who say they didn't get much out of art school either wasted their education on partying, went to a really bad school, are bad artists/designers or all of the above.</p>