Art-related majors with little experience; possible?

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  02 February 2010
Art-related majors with little experience; possible?

Once upon a time, I used to be an artist. As a young child, my life revolved around giving life to the pictures in my head. If you had asked me or anyone who knew me, I would be an artist when I grew older. I seemed a natural career choice for me.

However, as I started to move through high school, my main focus in art became music and writing. Art is a talent that needs to constantly be practiced so you can grow, but music was the same way. Being a singular-minded person, I had to focus on music so art took a backseat in my life.

Despite being a talented musician, I realized music education wasn't the ideal career for me and so I took a break from college within one semester, hoping I could learn a little more about what I wanted in life. Fast forward to five years later, and I'm still idling at the same spot I was at years ago.

Being an artistic jack-of-all-trades meant that I was trying to spread myself too thin, which resulted in me not having a large amount of experience in all areas. I dabble a little bit in traditional art, graphic design, video editing/creation, web design, and I'm of a moderate level in Photoshop. Everything is self-taught, but with little focus on a single one. Because of that reason, I had been staying away from considering any of the arts when looking at potential careers this entire time, despite always being drawn to it. After talking with my boyfriend and some friends, however, they think it's at least worth a try to pursue it, to at least take a few art courses to give it a chance. I tried arguing that art is not only a talent, but an acquired skill one hones for years and years with experience and personal growth. They believe if you're an artist, you're an artist; with practice, it will come back if you truly have passion and talent.

I fear being too behind when it's a competitive field, especially considering most people in art and/or graphic and web design have years of experience, self-taught or professional. So here's the biggest question I pose to you: will my lack of experience hinder me? Are there many successful people who go for art-related majors with no background besides it being an occasional hobby? Is it realistic of me to consider this field as a career option? Will I be taught basics or be expected to go into art classes at an intermediate level at the very least?

Thank you all kindly in advance.
  02 February 2010
It seems that you are interested in a myriad of art related discipline and have a bit of knowledge in each of them. The thing to do is to narrow it down to the field that you are most interested in, and then get training in that.

Step 1) See what you are interested in

To start off with before deciding to take any classes, I would recommend that you start doing the thing that you are interested in doing on your own. For example, if you are interested in traditional art, then start drawing again. If you're interested in web design, then create a project for yourself and start to design a site.

Step 2) Take classes in the thing you're interested in
If this is something that you are interested, then it doesn't hurt to take a few classes to see how you'll feel about it further. I would do it at a community college or local art center to keep costs down. Then if you feel that you enjoy it and feel that you have decent skills, then you can decide if this is something to pursue further and decide if you want to go to a formal college for it.

Quote: So here's the biggest question I pose to you: will my lack of experience hinder me? Are there many successful people who go for art-related majors with no background besides it being an occasional hobby? Is it realistic of me to consider this field as a career option?

How successful you are in something will depend whether you enjoy it, much work and discipline you put into it, and of course talent. Getting good at anything takes a long time. And how long it takes is very different for everyone. The most important question is whether or not you want this, and whether you are willing to work hard and make it a priority.
  02 February 2010
I appreciate your situation. I originally went to school for illustration when I got out of highschool. I had won several awards and blah blah. Then I got into music which is the funnest creative thing you can do I think. But theres too much BS. People have wives and girlfriends and are just generally lazy.
I think you should just bite the bullet and go to school. Nobody cares if your inexperienced as long as you are really good. Going to school will expose you to different things and help you decide what you enjoy the most. I almost switched my major to directing films. Which is the equvalent of wanting to be a rockstar.
"It's not wrong. It's stylized."
  02 February 2010
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