Joelle Steele writes an advice column about "art and creativity". And now, so do I. 

 I am a 44-year-old amateur artist. I would like to go to college next year and fulfill my dream of being a professional artist. I can afford a four-year college or an art school, and both are nearby, but I don't know how to evaluate which will give me the best career opportunities after I graduate.

Neither. That was the short answer. Here's the longer answer: neither will provide you with any career opportunities (unless you consider being regularly rejected by temp agencies a career opportunity).

The only real difference between these two institutions is that at a four-year college you'll have to deal with bratty 19-year-olds talking about Derrida, while at the art school you'll have to deal with bratty 19-year-olds talking about how they made their entire outfit out of doctoral theses as a comment on the commodification of culture. 

Very few phrases (I'm thinking "self-published novel" and "this is a song I wrote about my recent break-up") strike as much fear in the heart of a right-thinking individual as "amateur artist". I'm not saying that's fair, because I trust that you're already thinking that. It's possible you are truly talented. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean you'll have any success in life. It's far more likely, though, that you are untalented, and while that doesn't mean you will necessarily fail professionally, it certainly doesn't work in your favour.  

Why not instead spend the money you've saved on footwear or various kinds of sandwiches? Better still, why not give me the money you're willing to spend on art school?  I don't have artistic ambitions, but I wouldn't mind going back to school to learn something practical. Then those temp agencies would be forced to take me seriously. 

Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough.

5/11/2010 12:18:58 pm

But if you go back to school to learn something practical, how will you deal with the bratty 19-year olds? Especially the ones who discuss forgetting to look for new sunglasses at "Holt"?


Leave a Reply.