Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Arts Education



Hi guys!

This is a piece I've done for the past weeks to practice on my anatomy. I feel that the mood can be enhanced. Probably, add some colors to it will do.

I've just found another art site which is as exciting as DeviantArts. It's called CGHub. The front page had already mesmerize me with all the kick-ass artworks. (drooling..) Go check it out => Click!

Recently, I've been thinking whether I should enrol into an Arts school. I was hoping to find one which will guide me into the style of art that I'm looking for.

As I was browsing CG Hub, I came across a thread on whether enrolling into an art school is necessary to be a successful artist. Guess what 90% of the professional artists and the general consensus says that you probably don't have to.

The two post which I stumbled upon in CGHub really got me thinking...

To quote Alex,

"... I think college is...to get everyone in debt right out of high school. Unless you're going to be a lawyer, doctor, engineer, or something else that requires that kind of precision and can pose a threat to people's livelyhood, its not really all that necessary. the information is out there, and anyone dedicated can learn it one their own. your average person will go to college, rack up debt, and come out with a degree they will never, ever use.

That goes double for artists, because at the end of the day ALL skill, is entirely self taught. Taking courses and being around other artists can speed up that process. but it's nothing some curiosity, passion for knowledge, and some artistic friends couldn't challenge (hello art communities). its all like solving puzzles. figuring out how things work. how colors, form, light, etc interact, what compositions look good. I always found that a good 90% of art courses/books tends to fall under common sense. Implementing it into practice is where the skill comes in.

From my experience many art students just want to be art students for the label. most don't care about actually taking the time to learn their craft and will try to take the easiest route to getting the degree as possible, which will get them a nice piece of paper that says they can take courses, and a mediocre portfolio that says they didn't really learn all that much in those courses. the ones who really spend their time on their craft outside of schooling are the ones who successfully grow.

The other thing school is good for is networking, but i've found you can quite easily get around that as well. especially in this day and age with the internet and things like art communities being so prominent.

I've had quite a few colleagues that have had no formal training, but are astounding artists. i don't think they're kicking themselves over not going to art school.

i left art school (went for a while, figured out it had nothing to offer and decided i'd rather make money than pay for nothing with money i didn't have) and i wish i would have left sooner. wouldn't have spent thousands of dollars on such a complete and utter waste of my time.

anyway, just my thoughts over my experience.
I'm sure others have had vastly different ones.

all depends on the type of person you are, i guess.
some people are better off with it. some can do fine without it.

The one thing I learned from school is that it wasn't really all that necessary."


Jingna is also a CGHub's member and she mentioned that...

"I agree with Alex as well. School's probably not the most necessary for people in the arts. 90% of the people I know from my school were there just to get a cert because they couldn't be bothered to go to a uni and just wanna get "something" so they don't have to start working. (as it is in the Asian culture, we live depending on our parents till we finish our degrees or masters, there are people who try to pay for it themselves via scholarships, but odds of that is pretty low)

I know a lot of great artists who're self taught. I think the only benefit of having gone to school is probably the connections... I never made any from mine. Maybe that's just because I left so early, no one has graduated yet, or I was too anti-social. Hahaha.

I think art communities/websites are great ways to get discovered, even though I do photography, my biggest jobs were offered when people saw my works online, not a degree (which i don't have anyway, oh well). Never once did an ad agency call me up to see my resume, it's just my portfolio.

In Singapore though, with a degree you get more benefits when working in a company (arts or not). But freelance wise, it's just how good you are, and word of mouth."


To quote another guy, Taron..

"We are in one of those rare fields, where the results count more than any certification. Additionally to that privilege companies can afford to give promissing artists a chance to proof their reliability, speed and understanding for the given tasks. All of that leads to the almost unique situation where the logical employment choices are based on visible talent as opposed to academical titles.
However, it wouldn't surprise me too much, if that was changing in the future. Too many people aspire the job of an artist and aquire their titles through schools, finding stunning shortcuts to present impressive looking results, which may have been from questionable origins. As a result faith will drop and proper degrees may become more welcome for employers to make easier choices. Showreels become more and more confusing as well. When you sit through literally hundrets of them it gets hard to look for what someone did one which shots and a beauty piece may well get someone hired, who did some layouting on it or lighting.

At the end, and I've been observing that within the last 10 years already, being an artist has become nothing but a job to many people. It therefore truely depends on you, whether you want to become more than just a specialist or if that is enough for you to do one or two things. If you want to transcent being a gear, you will automatically teach yourself, because you need a different connection to the whole idea of 3d art and animation and that is one I don't think any school is teaching, yet. You need a direct understanding of how one aspect works with the other, how modeling prepares the animation, how expressions allow controlling animation and texturing or shading. Technical thinking to simplify successfully and make more managable scenes is in fact a highly artistic process as well. And at the very end it is the ability to observe and translate, which incorporates so many disciplins that I just can't imagine any school to support such a scope. Unless, maybe, one day I start one myself, hahahaha...eh...at least that's what I would want to try teaching.

Make a good showreel now and shop for a job, because in 5 years the business will look very different at new artists, I think.."


Taron continues...

"Indeed, it's funny how becoming old turns us into those "I wish I could've gone to school" types, haha. But, yeah, I would have loved to go study traditional painting and classical understanding within a school environment, where there's room for doing studio work and opportunity to be messy with some guidance, haha! One day, who knows, I might still look for a chance to do that, too.

Most people are afraid or discouraged by self-teaching, because they don't understand how much time it requires. I mean, there's so much material out there and people, who are ready to help (much like myself), that it goes a lot faster than 20 years ago. But it still takes time to truely understand it all. And a lot of people are rather impatient. If I had any advice I would suggest to find a lifestyle that allows you to exist while training yourself with patience and passionate curiosity! Piece by piece you learn and if you direct it yourself, you can pursue things that you truely want to create and therefore find a lot more motivation to hang on and explore.

Especially in the US it is brutally expensive to go to any university and people drown themselves in debt before they can even hope to get a job. Take an easy job that gives you enough time and allows you to sustain life decently while studying yourself. You may find some courses for certain things or go for a few online sessions, if they meet and pick up on your level of skill. Participate in forums, share and gather and if you're truely passionate about it all and you were feeling it from the start, you will most likely make it quicklier and with far less baggage into the industry and a pleasant carreer. And now I'll get a deathsquad sent after me from all the faculties, hahahahaha.

It's just an idea, really... school rocks!"


To read the entire Thread, please click here!

I've decided to edit this last portion after spending some time thinking and asking around.

At the end of the day, art school is probably, not necessary required for everyone to become a successful artist. That's considering the fact that you're discipline on your own to look up to forums, art magazines and communites for tutorials and keep working on those lines. The old saying goes: Practice, Practice and more Practice!

Attending art school however, does allows you to have contacts and mcertainly make networking easier. Of course, without a solid portfolio, no connections and certs in any form of arts education will takes you far.

Artists are unlike lawyers, doctors, etc. in many ways. For one thing, people knows whether you are a real deal by looking at your art, not your certs.

Cheers~!
Josh.

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