I found out someone stole the catalytic converter off my car last night and the replacement may cost me $700+. So, this is gonna be curt because I’m not in the mood to be nice right now.
One of my biggest art pet peeves is when people assume that just because someone goes to art school, they magically have skills handed to them and don’t work as hard as other people, or that just because they’re self-taught, their art -regardless of craftsmanship- is inherently better than any art student’s. I’ve seen people actually say they have more respect for self-taught artists than student because “self-taught people had to work for it”.
Well, I’m sick of hearing the same ill-informed crap over and over again. So, as someone who was self-taught for several years before attending art school, I’m dismantling The Tower Bullshit and Asinine Assumptions brick by fucking brick:
Turd #1: Art students have everything handed to them while self-taught artists have to find answers.
….What the hell do you think happens in an art school classroom?? Do you think the teacher opens a secret passage in the floor and leads us through the lost catacombs of Atlantis where we discover the crystals of truth and absorb their power, becoming masters of the creative industry?
True, in art class you have a professor teaching techniques, and, depending on the class, required textbooks, but that doesn’t mean skills are magically bestowed upon you because of it. You still have to apply what you’ve learned and practice (keyword, here) to improve, and, in some cases, go beyond what’s asked of you to have something portfolio-worthy. There are people who come to art school with this mindset and get mad when they aren’t pros after freshman year.
The fact we go to classes doesn’t mean we don’t work as hard as self-taught artists. We don’t sit behind a desktop and absorb talent like some weird, photosynthesis shit.
Turd #2: Self-taught artists work harder than art students.
I call bullshit. Like I mentioned earlier, I was self-taught before going to art school, and I can tell you, I worked a thousand times harder in art school than I ever did (or do) on my own. How many self-taught artists do you know pull all-nighters working on personal projects? Or draw 200 concept sketches for a drawing before starting it? Or fall asleep in front of their computer at sunrise because they’ve been drawing non-stop since the morning before? Back at SCAD, it wasn’t unheard to see animation majors bring toothbrushes and a change of clothes with them to the animation building during finals week. How many self-taught artists have you heard of spending literally days in front of a computer working on a piece of art??
This isn’t to say there aren’t self-taught artists with that kind of determination, but, unless they’re doing uppers, the vast majority of people aren’t going to be working that hard without some external source, like school or clients, making them feel compelled to.
Turd #3: Artwork by self-taught artists is better than artwork by students because of how much they worked.
No they fucking aren’t. Measure artwork’s worth by the skill level, not how the artist obtained it.
Turd #4: All art students draw is realism, so it’s their stuff is boring. Self-taught artists have more fun styles.
Oh really? Say it again. Please. I fucking dare you.
Turd #5: In art school, the students have a teacher giving them advice. Self-taught people don’t have that. So when they improve, it means more.
Yes, art students have access to professors who – if their school did a good job of staffing – have either worked or are currently working in the industry. I won’t lie, having face-to-face access with someone who’s experienced with the industry you want to pursue is awesome, but people outside a classroom can still do this online. There are critique groups on DA and critique threads on conceptart.org. And often times on CA, the people who give critiques are also working artists. It may not be a face-to-face conversation, but the advice is worth just as much.
And if you want advice about an industry, just ask someone in that industry. Working artists are every-freaking-where online, and I’ve found 90% gladly answer questions about how their profession. I sent emails to animators just last month. Hell, I mailed Square Enix a letter back when I was 16 asking what it takes to become a game designer (this is before I decided on animation), and they actually replied. I still have that letter.
So, the improvement doesn’t mean MORE when a self-taught artist obtains it. You can get knowledge and advice about art outside a classroom. And going along with #1, the professor doesn’t hand skills to you. There’s still work involved.
TL;DR- Stop doing everything you’re doing.
If this rant sounds like I have some grudge against self-taught people, I don’t. Like I mentioned earlier, I started out self-taught. I spent days reading tutorials and anatomy books before going to school for art. I don’t care how you obtain your skill as long as you love what you do. My problem is when people who’ve never stepped foot in a classroom assume art students don’t work as hard as they do.
I was with you on this. Mostly, I’m still with you on this, except I have known… uh, most of the self-taught artists I know regularly pull all-nighters and spend days at a time in front of a computer on a single project. I don’t think it’s reasonable to favor the self-taught (a poor term; who is truly self-taught when there is Google?), but I do have that little nitpick. I mean, if anything, most of “us” end up pulling that kind of shit because we really could’ve used that time management and honed workflow one supposedly at least begins learning in school.