Arts Degrees: Useless Or Inspiring?

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When a person is out of work or simply ready to start a new chapter of their lives, they may not have considered a career in an art field. Many jobs require some form of education and prior experience, and this is where art degrees come into play. There is actually an extraordinarily vast spectrum of art subjects in which one can major. If anyone has some level of creativity and passion for all things inspiring, there’s most likely a degree for it. Unfortunately, there is often the false perspective that art degrees may not be useful or that there are no successful careers. Anyone who thinks like this must remember that the world thrives on originality and innovation. Artists are people who see things differently. They think outside the box, in fact, they break the box. So if one decides that they are ready to embrace that lifestyle, the most important thing to know is how to seek out and pursue art degrees. With that specific education under the belt, one can strive towards accomplishing whatever artistic future their hearts are set on.

1. Fields of study

Most art centered institutes offer over-arching majors in order to provide a wider array of job opportunities to students after graduation. The most common majors are:

 1. Illustration:

  • Illustration: Includes both traditional mediums as well as digital. Many illustrators go on to work as concept artists or freelance designers. Anyone who loves to buy graphic novels or picture books is supporting the work of these artists. Ideas need thumbnails and storyboards, so illustrators use technical drawing skills and their own unique perspectives to display these ideas in a visual way.

2. Animation:

  •  Animation: This major is pretty self-explanatory. The word “animate” indicates movement. Artists with this practice bring stories to life through many forms of film-like capacities. Types of animation may include stop-motion, hand-drawn 2D, replacement animation, 3D CGI, puppet animation, and computer-generated animation. As animation progresses, the lines that separate these approaches seem to blur. Kids movies, cartoon shows, and “anime” style media are popular examples of this type of work.

3. Printmaking:

  •  Printmaking: Printmaking encompasses both the making of prints and then the prints themselves. The artist carves out a stamp onto which they distribute ink. Then can easily mass produce their images with this method. Another skill could include screen printing. This is the manner in which images are put onto clothing or other fabric materials.

4. Intermedia:

  • 4Intermedia: The study of intermedia may be the most abstract form of artistic expression. Technically, intermedia is just the combination of many mediums to produce one united piece. A good example of this would be a collage, or perhaps a combination of collage and paint alongside a piece of writing. This practice is extremely experimental and can be taken down many avenues of intention.

5. Performance Art

  • Performance Art: This art is not so much about acting or entertaining as it is about a conversation. The performance artist uses their body to explore time in space in very, interactive ways. In fact, many performance artists include the audience in their piece. They aim to ask tough questions and provoke thought.

6. Photography:

  • Photography: Photographer uses cameras to capture a moment in time. They normally have a good eye for specific things in the world. Whether it be faces or landscapes, a camera can document many events. Photographs can also be edited with Photoshop tools in order to create more dynamic or interesting shots.

7. Sound/Video:

  •  Sound/Video: Involves an experience of the senses. These majors learn how to create a film as well as how to record and document sound. The two can be put together or explored separately. Similar to performance work, sound/video is meant to be felt by the audience member and can be presented in a variety of locations and manners.

8. Painting/Drawing:

  • Painting/Drawing: Probably one of the most well-known majors, traditional painting or drawing focuses in on all types of 2D art techniques. From oil, acrylic, gouache, watercolor, and ink, the canvas is a vessel for these artists. Education in this field would involve a lot of color theory studies as well as figure drawing.

9. Graphic Design (Communication Design):

  • Graphic Design (Communication Design): Graphic designer are great with simplicity and reduction. They take large ideas and concepts and then they, quite literally, communicate them with a larger audience. They use technology to reach a wider crowd. Common examples of graphics work can be seen on posters, magazine covers, and websites. Someone has to format the information that the general public consumes on a daily basis. These artist’s work in a very “aesthetically pleasing” way. They also usually learn to navigate Adobe InDesign fai

10. Creative Writing:

  • Creative Writing: The creative writing major encompasses much free writing and narrative style essays. Poets and memoir writers would be interested in this type of degree. Many writers also produce other art mediums alongside their literary endeavors.

11. Sculpting:

  •  Sculpting: This degree may include other forms of 3D design. Ceramics and woodworking are popular. Many sculptors major in soft sculpting, but there are also paths towards mold making and blacksmithing. These degrees require top-notch facilities in order to optimize lea

2. Where to get an art degree

An Arts degree is most like any other degree. It just depends on what type of art one would like to focus on. There are famous institutes across the United States. Some are more technical and traditional, while others are centered around conversation and community in art. There are private art schools that handle the credits they offer differently than other schools might. Lately, tuition costs can range from $10,000 to $30,000. If one is not able to commit substantial funds or time to going back to school full time, they can take part-time classes. Or, there is also the option to simply take classes at a community college, which is normally considerably more affordable. However, sometimes the facilities and resources are not as good. Small art schools are great because then the student gets more one-on-one help from teachers.

3. Potential costs

If one is in between jobs, or simply looking for a change, expenses are an important factor when deciding what their next step will be. After considering the prices of learning institutions, one must consider the cost of materials. Supplies are expensive. Depending on the field of study, one may have to pick up the needed material to work on relative projects. The tools used to create art are often times just as (if not more) pricey as textbooks. On the bright side, if a prospective lives in an area that is very supportive of the arts, chances are that there are donated grants or scholarships that can be applied for. Schools are good for directing students to these opportunities.

4. Portfolio

In the art world, the word portfolio is used quite a bit. A portfolio is an example of work that a person has in order to present their skill to other people. Portfolios are used when applying for schools and scholarships. A good portfolio includes great documentation of work (i.e. high-resolution images, clear lighting, titles, size/dimensions, and dates for when work was done) and is tailored to the audience it is being viewed by. Pursuing an art degree is also useful for building up one’s portfolio. While learning new skills, the artist can  re-adjust their collection of products. Once a person has an art degree, they will hopefully also have a solid portfolio to use in job applications. Portfolios can be turned in physically, but in these days they are normally done digitally as PDFs or as links to other forms of media.

5. Art Careers

There is most certainly a need for artists in the working world. Though, because most artists have a specific practice, they have to work extremely hard in order to get to the point that they aim for in their careers. One might dream of selling freelance illustrations, but they may have to work for years in a larger company doing menial illustration tasks in order to get their name out into the industry or build a reputation along the way. This is why internships are great when pursuing a degree. Realistically, funds and connections are the best way to get that dream job. Nevertheless, an art degree is as worthy an endeavor as any other.

6. Is it worth it?

When someone decides that their vocation is in need of a change and they are considering an artistic career, they should know that it will be a lot of commitment. Artists are hard workers who use their creative minds to accomplish big things. They may have to start small and work up to larger practices, but every person is unique and has something to offer. An art degree provides the jumping off point towards a life full of inspiration. Hard work is not the enemy of inspiration. Rather, inspiration is the catalyst for hard work which produces amazing results. The services that artists provide in society go on to inspire others and future generations.

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