View Full Version : SVA tuiton bill is now due.... second thoughts, should I?

08 August 2009, 03:02 PM
First things first. graduated HS 08, attended first year at a small college in Burlington VT for graphics. Not to say I was better than anyone else but my traditional interest in art was present in all the drawing courses i took.

So, i have a strong foundation in drawing/painting,
I'm comfortable with the fact that there's nothing else I'm interested in than a career in computer art. From what I've learned, a degree is just a label, a portfolio is where you put up or shut up.

I was planning on continuing my education @ SVA this fall, but they want me to come in as a freshmen, meaning I wasted 20,000+ in Burlington and after four years I'll owe SVA 160,000+........ are you serious!?

So the bill is actually due today, they want 21,000.... I have until October 2 until I'm kicked out for late fee's.

My dreams all lead to cali though, not NYC, I actually don't even enjoy the city, after art, my hobbies include boarding and hiking and NYC lacks both, but i was willing to sacrifice these for one of the best North East comp. art school. this bill though might be just.... too much of a sacrafice.

Gnomon might be my ticket into the industry. I haven't visited the school yet, seeing as I've never left the New England with the exception of NYC, but from what i hear the building looks like "Sh*t" and theres no real campus, and i feel like it's really commercial. I want to be sucessful in computer art, but at the same time i want to be happy. there needs to be a balance.

I'm just worried I won't receive the same education at gnomon as i will at SVA. SVA seemed to care about making succesful artists. Gnomon comes off as more of a business than a school, where they're more interested in money than producing artists. but... like i said, I've never visited the school, so i'm not entitled to such an opinion yet.

I"m going to build a comparative list and hopefully get around the posting it later....

08 August 2009, 03:26 PM
The comparable equivalent in terms of experience to SVA in Cali is probably AAU in SF - though also very much a business, it's more expansive in the sense that SVA is expansive - lots of traditional and digital art, a great city, and several buildings throughout the city comprise their "campus".

Gnomon is more of a finishing look like you're still developing your foundations, and I think you'd be wise to do things like sculpting, more figure drawing, etc. and painting to get a great base.

It's definitely tough because there are so many options and they're all expensive. For foundations I recommend California community colleges, where you can get some great classes on the cheap (Santa Monica CC and Pasadena CC come to mind).

I think students have to think long term - any time you take out a massive loan for a four year school, you'll be stuck with that loan for life - so you have to be smart about where you essentially invest your money. Traditional foundations (drawing, painting, sculpting) could cost you a small fortune at a great private art school, and on top of that you need to know the digital side of things, and then when you're working, you have to keep up with trends and technology. I think it's wise to save where you can and get the most bang for your buck at cc's for developing basic skills. But then, cc's don't give you the cohesive art experience that private art schools do, so some combination of the two is a good package, I think.

Know in advance that no one school can give you everything - so don't expect it to do so. Know what a particular school's strengths and weaknesses are, and focus on their strengths while you're there.

But I really stress planning for the long term in terms of finances. You don't want to come out of school feeling like this ( and also stuck with a huge debt.

08 August 2009, 07:46 PM
Your abosolutely right about SVA being expensive.

As a student there I agree with you on that. I'm entering my Junior year and I cant stress highly enough of how my money is being spent well here. Their computer art department is amazing. Just wait till you hit your second year and you get to take classes taught by the Lead Modeler of BlueSky. Freshman year my animation teacher had emmy awards for animation.

SVA is definitely the primere 3D school in the north east. Pratt, RISD, RIT, dont even compare. THe only school that comes close is NYU's CADA.

As a student I feel that I already have the skills nessessary to freelance in the NYC market. Framestore, Psyop, BlueSky. But thats because I worked very hard. I'm already working as a Modeling Lead in commercials.

Money well spent. SVA's Computer Art Department will definately help you become a better artist and successful.

08 August 2009, 05:29 AM
any gnomon grad's or current students in the 2 year program have anything to add to this?

as far as demo reels go and senior thesis's, I see equally great work coming from both gnomon and SVA

08 August 2009, 09:02 AM
The other thing to think about is. Do you want to be an artist, or a production artist?

Any school, institution or program of any kind will train you to be a production artist. Yes there may be some classes of pure artistic exploration. But they will still have structure and formalities. And the ultimate purpose of the program will be to get you out into the market and making back money as a production artist.

But nothing, and no one, except yourself can train you to be an artist. Learning to be an artist is something you have to do on your own.

If you still have not figured out what art really is, and what it really means to you. You might find that jumping into an art school program that is trying to turn you into a production artist was not the best thing to do.

If you graduated HS in 08, I take it your 19? I too went off to art school at 19. All my friends who were going to be engineers, programmers, lawyers, doctors all hustled off to college. I felt I was supposed to be hustling off to college as well. But being an artist is different than those other professions. Learning to be an artist cannot come from a school program, so hustling off to school ASAP was not the best thing for me to do. Looking back, I feel that had I waited a number of years to really explore art on my own, and then went to school to be trained in production, I would have been better off. Because I really didn't know what I wanted out of art when I first went to art school. I didn't understand what art really is, why it exists, I did not have my own style. Then 2 years into the program, I realized these are things that are not going to come from an instructor or a program and left to continue learning on my own. And I feel that the only real thing I got from art school was a debt.

I mean, if you feel going into a structured program for that price is what you want to do, what you know you need to do. Then do it. But make sure it is you that feels you need to do it. And your not just doing it because you think you need to go to school because of what your parents or friends are doing. Make sure you know why it is your going, what it is your going to get out of it, and make sure you know the school will be able to give it to you. Because having a change of mind in a $160,000 program can be fairly serious (luckily my school was not that expensive).

08 August 2009, 02:59 PM
any gnomon grad's or current students in the 2 year program have anything to add to this?

as far as demo reels go and senior thesis's, I see equally great work coming from both gnomon and SVA

This is true. The only advice I can give you is to decide whether or not you feel you'll learn and master everything you need to to get a job in the industry. If Gnomon was a 4 year school instead of a 2 year school I'd be going there. But I felt that I needed a little bit more time to master all the techniques and to find work.

SVA gives you an opportunity to take internships at studios and really lets you build your resume and get your name out there before you graduate. That way, when you graduate your not stuck working a free internship for a few months when you have student loans to pay off.

It all depends on the artist really. If you go to either school and work your butt off and spend all your time in the labs working like I do. If you take any oppurtunity you can. Then you'll find work.

Good Luck on your decision.

08 August 2009, 09:37 PM
Based on what you've said it seems like you might be more comfortable at a couple of other schools that either are in Cali or in the country. To me SCAD, Ringling, AAU or CalArts seem to be like where you might be more comfortable and the individual's comfort level in any given environment or ability to conform to to different environments can never be underestimated. Gnomon might not be a good place since you said you you wanted to pursue a career in "Computer Art" which is pretty vague for a career where you will need a bit of specialization. Like with most people it sounds like you need to figure out what part of the production process you would be comfortable in, before laying out a whole bunch of money in specialized training that may or may not be what really interests you. It also seems like it's late in the game for you to be considering alternative options since you've already been admitted, accepted the admission and registered for classes. An overall overview: SVA is a fine school, it will allow you to explore some things before making a practical decision on how to guide most of your education there. SVA could be a bad choice for you if you're just not capable or interested in getting the full "NYC experience" and allowing that, in part, to inform your development as an artist. It's also very possible that you'll be just fine and the experience will be radically different and more positive than you are expecting...a lot of people have found that to be the case too. The thing is regardless of where you are applying if you're going from a "University" to an "Advance Art Training Facility" where you will get a degree there just aren't going to be many credits that will transfer. could finish at Burlington VT, work on 3D on your own, and then pursue a 2 year or 3 year advanced degree at most of the schools you are looking at now/schools people will talk about here or even someplace like Sheridan College up in Ontario. There are a lot of good options, but most times you need to find the best environment/financial fit for you personally in order to thrive. The piece of paper is only worth as much real work as you can put into the education. You could be at the best school on the planet for this stuff, but if you hate getting up in the morning, because you can't afford the basics you need or you just can't get comfortable in the environment that you are in it may not be worth it. Sometimes it is worth it as long as you feel like you are learning things of value to you that you probably wouldn't learn anywhere else, but that's really the only exception.

08 August 2009, 03:15 AM
@ rygoody

That's some good stuff. I've actually had a post awhile ago ranting about how my first school was producing such artisans (production artists as you said) and not real artists. I think you've hit where I'm coming from the best and definitely appreciate your input. I wish i had more feedback for you but you've said everything I wanted to hear regarding that, not to mention when I read it earlier this morning it gave me the inspiration to finish the Gnomon application before I got on with the rest of my day today. Which doesn't necessarily mean I'm about to slap a stamp on it and mail it, but now I at least have it done and ready to go.

@ Rebeccak

I obviously appreciate your support too, your "street cred" on this site is real inspirational to me. Second semester of freshmen year I actually came home and went to community college because i had known by the 3rd month of first semester that i was just blowing money. Community College was actually worse though, and I had enrolled in the art department and it was absolutely poor. And community college actually isn't inexpensive if it's out of state tuition, so i have to weigh this into the equations. I'm going to have to take a loan out regardless so I just want the most education i can get out of it.

@ KrzysztofFus

You've said that most of your time you actually spend working in labs after class and that's why you've gotten to where you are. I'm thinking as long as I commit myself to any institution and spend enough...... well, all of my free time, I'll get what i want out of it. You get out of it what you put in, this is the concept that keeps being regurgitated onto me, but at the same time I need some direction, some inspiration to keep me going. Your right that SVA will give me this, which is what makes this decision hard.

@ Imhotep397

Champlain College (Burlington) and staying home are completely crossed off the list. So I'm not even considering those as options anymore. And your right that I won't totally know whether NYC is for me or not, but i feel confident in that I can much more easily fit into the Cali environment much quicker. You've also stressed how I'm just about out of time for this semester and I can't even imagine the hassle it'll be if i have to transfer one more time.

08 August 2009, 05:22 AM
Thanks for the props, best of luck with your decision. :)

08 August 2009, 07:44 AM
OP, Maybe have a look at...

Mike Matessi Drawing force.

You can also check out his site.

He teaches everything that is in the book in video form. I think you can still get critiques from him, but I'm not sure, haven't taken a class with him more than a year ago. $10 is a steal considering Matessi's knowledge and experience.

Could also try Hogarth Burne.

Steven Silver released a new book recently. Passion for Life. He's awesome. He's a really nice guy. Teaches online character design classes at imaginismstudios. His classes are a bit pricey... (

08 August 2009, 05:43 PM
KrzysztofFus (, see you this fall. paid my bill, I'm going to SVA..... :thumbsup:

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