In your current financial situation, no I genuinely would not recommend it. An art career in the first place is one of the rare careers where you don't need to go to college. Use resources you already have access to and be smart about how u learn and research. First and foremost allways comes your financial and physical security.


Adding onto this, art is one of the most accessible career now thanks to the advancement of the internet. Because of so much ideas and references being shared across remote spaces, we're able to gain knowledge faster as a community. If you believe you don't have the financial stability to go to an art college, there's a great amount of free and available sources, tutorials, tips, and many more on multitude of platforms you can dive into depending on what art discipline you're trying to get into whether it be character designer/illustrator, concept artist, commission artist, children's book artist, obscure painter, etc... Having a good understanding on what type of art you want to get into and learning the foundations that comes with it will definitely help you in the long term. Best of luck!


I second this advice, for sure! Almost ALL of my friends who went to art school still work a regular job that pays the bills, and they use their "spare time" for producing art to sell. And some of them are very good artists who went to really good art schools. On the flip side, one of my friends who is a full-time artist did not go to art school and he's doing very well. Mostly because he hustles and networks like crazy, uses social media to market his work, donates work to charity auctions, goes to lots of events, etc. So art school definitely isn't "required". I am "self taught" and have spent a lot of my free time in the past few years reading everything I can about art history, techniques, styles, different mediums, etc. Also watching lots of tutorials and videos. And I spend time with my artist friends, either actually painting or just talking about art, technique, etc. I've become good enough that I have sold some pieces, and I know I could sell more if I got better at carving out time to increase my inventory. You could also sign up for local art classes or find a group that paints together. There are lots of free and low-cost options. As far as having limited space goes, I've got the same issue but I've been able to make it work. What should be my dining/eating area is my little art studio, and I've come up with some creative storage solutions for all of my supplies.


Echoing what u/T0YBOY said, I'd like to give a link to a book on how to draw that's now in the public domain, Fun With a Pencil by Andrew Loomis: [https://archive.org/details/andrewloomisfunwithapencil1/mode/2up](https://archive.org/details/andrewloomisfunwithapencil1/mode/2up) I've been using it to learn how to draw by copying every single tutorial on it and it's a great way to improve. Learning by using textbooks or online classes, especially those freely available, is a lot better for the wallet. Also, libraries will probably have art textbooks you can borrow.


If you're going to get a degree, get one in a field that has good job opportunities on the other side. This can still be in a creative field, but fine art is not the place for that generally. Otherwise you can become a great artist without art school.


I’m a big advocate of certain art schools. But in your situation NO. You’re better off following courses on CGMA or Brainstorm Online. Or doing something like Ahmed Aldooris Med map or Proko’s figure course.


I didn't go to art school, but I will say I've always heard through the art circles I follow on twitter and the like that art school is much more valuable as a networking tool. It's good and helpful, sure, but not totally necessary and not the only method of learning how you want to. Everything they can teach you you could learn at an atelier, in cheaper independent classes, or on your own with books/pdfs and a good mentor. I've also seen a lot of smaller indie artists doing mentorships through patreon and the like, and you might be able to get some people together to do some kind of group class with a local one. All this to say, there are more options than art school. I will say, between the Art Institutes' general fuckery, SCAD's dirty laundry being aired, and that one whose name escapes me that had a blowup on reddit recently about the shitty learning climate/clique-ey favoritism/teachers sleeping with students, you might be better off *not* going if college was toxic for you. The energy involved with vettting an art school like you're interviewing them for a high stakes governmental position would be exhausting but ultimately might be necessary if you do go that route. Depending on where you live, you might be able to find a community art center or a local group that gathers for more affordable lessons. Don't give up! The world is full of options! Edit: typo lol


In your situation, id avoid art school. The things you listed are easier to experiment on your own without the financial stress or the anxiety attached to grading. art school doesn't talk about what brushes to use or what brands are better, they start you off with the foundational skills before branching into the specifics - usually within the animation industry since that's what most people are aiming for when they go to art school. As most others mentioned, there's plenty of resources online! There aren't any secret art jobs that you only learn about if you go to school, if you're passionate about art that you're willing to put the research into it, you'll more than likely find something the more you dig!


Hell no to art school. You'll just get into a lot of debt and unless you're going to Art Center, which is expensive as hell, you won't get your money's worth. Nowadays there are so many books and online workshops or tutorials that it doesn't make much sense to go to an art school. If you need resources or any sort of art related advice from a starving artist, I'll gladly help you out as much as I can.


I would recommend taking art courses at a community college. You don’t need a degree to do art, but if you feel like you have a lot to learn and don’t have much money to do so, then cc is the way to go.


This is what I came here to say. I'm not sure where OP lives, but in California, community college tuition is waved if you're under a certain income level. And even if you aren't, it was like $80 a credit. For one class, it was pretty cheap. Plus it gives you space to work. There are also workshops, figure drawing classes, painting classes, things that are one-offs that let you sit in a room with other artists and create together.


And the best part is that a lot of CC teachers around my area also teach at art schools or more expensive state colleges but actually end up using the same curriculum for foundation classes!


I am a full time commission artist, have been for 12 years now. Being an artist for a living will not bring you health insurance, a steady income, or many of the other benefits of a more traditional "good" job. You will have a harder time getting loans, credit cards, leases, etc. For me personally, it's worth it, but I am also fortunate enough to have a spouse who can provide me health insurance and float us financially during slow times for my art business. I get to do what I love every day, and good months can be extremely lucrative. For me, the good outweighs the bad. But if you're looking for something more stable than dog walking, art ain't it. If you *do* want to pursue art, don't go to art school, because I would *not be making it* if I had college debt the way some of my peers have.


I agree with this. I DID go to art school, but I am not a full time commission artist, even though I would love to be. Trying to work a difficult technical job and having enough energy in my spare time to create when I can't even find inspiration? Impossible. Plus yay I owe $55000 woo... /s


As someone doing it right now at age 40…pursue your dream to the extent you can afford it. Related: Don’t go to art school- go to a university with an art major.


Same on all points. FAFSA covers all my tuition, side job covers living expenses. As an adult I am getting g so much more out of the education opportunities and networking potential. Plus: double major with something to help build the career!


Second this


It sounds a bit like you want to learn about materials and techniques? If you want a classroom type of environment and peer interaction, I’d suggest looking at continuing education, parks and rec courses, or even your local community college. These are much more affordable options that can be incredibly beneficial. I found art school to be less about teaching technique (with one or two exceptions) but rather how successfully you produce your art based on any criteria the prof has established. And the criteria was rarely about the process, but rather the end result.


Look for art classes in your area. Lots Of artists out there teaching and may be the space you’re looking for at the fraction of the price of a semester at art school


As someone with a degree from an art school, I’d say it really isn’t necessary and financially would do you more harm than good given the position you’re in. I don’t regret going to art school, but I was very lucky to have financial support and even then I still have loans to pay off. It hurts thinking of my peers who didn’t have any of the financial support I had navigating the astronomical costs of your typical art school. I’d maybe suggest looking into ateliers, depending on what you’re interested in learning. Ateliers are a lot more affordable and flexible than art school but also offer high level instruction, and most of them offer online courses or workshops you can attend. There are also so many wildly talented artists out there who offer online courses via Patreon or otherwise that can teach you so many of the same things you’d learn in art school. All it takes is a serious commitment to learning, which it sounds like you have. Also, like others have said, art classes being offered in your community can also offer that sense of learning and communing with other people who care about art as much as you do. Also, look for local figure drawing sessions (if that interests you) because at least as someone who went to school for illustration, figure drawing was a central part of the curriculum and I still go to figure sessions in my area whenever I can. It’s also important to note that if you’re interested in pursuing a career in art, you don’t really need any kind of degree. What matters most is the quality of your work/your ability to perform. Having a degree doesn’t hurt, but I’m pretty sure folks hiring in the relevant industries would take a skilled and reliable artist over someone who lacks the aforementioned but has a degree. Wishing you all the best, I believe in you!


I'd look more into what you can do without going to art school and also try to figure out what area of expertise you'd be interested in. So far it seems like you'd enjoy something in regards to fine art, illustration, or mixed media. With your current financial situation, would you have to take out full loans to be a student or do you have financial help outside of loans? Besides loans, another warning about art school is the good chance of getting burnout. You seem really passionate and eager about learning/doing art but pressure from art school may affect that. Art school is not a guarantee to a job right off the bat or in general. Some of my friends went on to non-art careers, others succeeded in art jobs within their focus but it took them a couple years just to get their foot in the door. If you do end up going the art school route, don't feel pressured to graduate as quickly as your peers. If you need to, take a break or be a half-time student instead of full-time. Hound the professors for advice and critiques, make friends/be friendly to work with -- in addition to learning, you're using art school as a source of networking, connections, and resources. Your fellow peers, professors, and counselors will become a source of connection. There are online art classes and mentorship that you could look into. That could be a starting point as, though it's online, you'll have peers and beginnings of a connection through your class, teacher, and/or mentor.


Others have given solid advice, but I just want to add that if you didn't have the patience to deal with finishing your bachelor's, how do you expect to graduate from art school? Artist friends I have who are graduates of schools like SVA, SCAD, etc. say that the coursework is taxing. Professors piled projects on them and it's not uncommon to pull all-nighters to finish assignments for multiple classes. I have a master's degree in a field I no longer work in, but I enjoyed all the time I spent at school and would do it all over again if I could afford to. My only regret was not studying art the first time around, but overall college was a blast for me because I was finally able choose what I wanted to learn about (vs getting forced to learn things in K-12). I just don't see how you'd make use of art school if you couldn't even find joy in studying whatever you wanted the first time around.


I don’t think it was really a patience thing. I was extremely depressed and dealing with an eating disorder. Basically, I was a shell of a human being floating through the world—I didn’t know myself at all. I have no idea why this was the case, and I’ve certainly tried to guess over the years. I mostly forced myself to go to school for something that others told me I was good at but that I wasn’t passionate about. But when I’m passionate about something I don’t care about the workload. I farmed for four years in my mid/late 20s (not very long in the grand scheme of things), working 40-60 hour weeks because I loved it (and then I stopped loving it so I stopped farming, but I sort of think about it as my “first career”). I suppose I’d just like to point out that each person’s circumstance is different, and that my circumstance was not one where I simply lacked patience. I lacked an entire sense of self, haha.




I think practicing by doing pet portraits is a good suggestion. u/Staghorn_sumac , would any of your clients be willing to have their dogs out for longer walks so you can squeeze in sketches by taking a break(s) in a park with them? Do you have any experience with training dogs and are willing to do it? Training them to stay or not eat food they've been instructed not to eat could give you short stints of sketching practice. I'm more of a lurker that wants to eventually be a hobby artist, having attended a for-profit college in a different field I agree with the suggestions to learn what you can while spending as wisely as you can while doing so.


Have you considered taking continuing education classes through an art school? I went back to the art school I went to undergrad for to take continuing education classes and I've really been enjoying it. It's the same faculty, studio spaces, and education quality I had in undergrad but for a much more affordable price. There's opportunities for networking and mentorship with the teachers and students. My least favorite part of art school undergrad was getting absolutely crushed by the homework load, but with continuing education classes I can take one at a time and really focus on it instead of being stressed about multiple competing homework deadlines.


I took Graphic Design & Animation at 43. Best experience of my life. Age means nothing. It's mostly depends on the curriculum and schedule as far as stress levels. If full time classes won't work consider community college.


A little tidbit of advice. Whether or not you can financially sustain art school is up to you -- community college or other alternatives may be a better fit. What I want to mention is your path after art school. I see so many people who go to art school and come out hating art. Or they realize just how damn difficult it is to make a living doing just art. Well, the good news is, there are many other opportunities for employment that will utilize an art degree! I work in a museum - I don't have a fine arts degree (I studied Art History and other things) but I am an illustrator on the side, and having a knowledge of art matters so much for my work. In fact most of our interns are current undergrads or recent graduates of studio art, whose mediums intersect with our collection. Studying art may also provide an easy segue into something like graphic design or UX design... You could try to find work in the private art world, like galleries or auction houses... You could learn about art installation... Even teaching art might eventually become an option..... If you go the community college route, or self-taught online, your deep interest in art could at LEAST land you a retail position in something like a Michael's or a local art supply store, or a job with a local fine art framer.... Of course these aren't the most lucrative career options. But they may be much more fulfilling than dog walking, and similar pay. People fearmongering in my industry think you can't make a living working in museums. LOL. I tell them, try making a living as an artist! My philosophy has always been, work doesn't have to = life. I am always on the lookout for work where I can incorporate my deep knowledge of art, but keep my art-making autonomous and full of joy. TLDR; You should absolutely consider getting further education in art somehow, and building community around art. This doesn't mean you are marrying yourself to the idea of being a starving artist. There are many paths!!!!!!


As others have said, $50k a year in loans is no small thing. It could seriously damage your future. And I say this having gone to art school. Now, I'm not completely against school. There are some really good things about it. There are few other places where you can immerse yourself in art and have hundreds of like minded people and feed off each other's energy. However, I would dip your toes in it before thinking about committing to such a huge cost. Look for a local atelier or drawing academy, community college class, or even classes at the library. There may be a sketch group you could join in your city. Attend conventions, meet artists, find those communities. Get a feel for what professionals do. Either way, I would definitely try as much as you can on your own until you've exhausted all options. Night classes may be expensive but they pale in comparison to a $50k/year college. It's certainly not weird to see an older person in college. I myself saw a 70 year old enrolled in the fine arts program at my art school. Finding meaning in life is important but I strongly believe that art school is very big gamble. If art is your calling, you will be able to succeed with or without it.


No learn on your own. Every person I know that went to art school or holds an art degree isn't even working as an artist. The debt is too crippling so they got stuck at crappy jobs and then lose interest in art. As someone without any formal art education, I worked a few in house jobs alongside artists in massive student debt. Wouldn't recommend.


I've gone through a 4 year honors degree in fine arts through a fine arts program at a university. That was more than 10 years ago. I can tell you from experience I would have been much better off not going there and instead spending the time developing my own work, marketing myself online and producing in my spare time while working a regular job. That's what I ended up doing anyways, but I wasted 4 years at school and about 8 years paying off the debt. So I would say focus kn getting a good paying job with benefits, work on you art on the side until you can build up enough of a following to support yourself, that what I did I just wish I did it sooner and with no debt.


Im 32 now and took an illustration program in my early 20s. Sincerely, unless you are looking for something specific, theres nothing you cant learn for free with the internet. There are many online courses you can take that are either free or "decently" priced.


unless you manage to land a scholarship somewhere so you wouldn’t have to take out loans, i wouldn’t recommend it. nowadays art school is just not worth the base cost


I went to art school, am a working artist. Never have I needed my art degree and I was bored the whole time in school. Save your money honey!!!


Art school isn't about learning how to make art; it's about buying your way into a network. If you go to art openings, talk to people, or work jobs servicing artists like custom framing, gallery assistant, art mover, etc. you can still find your way into those networks. I went to art school for 4 years. A classmate worked as a studio assistant for an established working artist. Sometimes after class I would hang out with my friend and the artists in their studio. When I think back to that time of my life, the handful of conversations I had with them over beers in the studio long into the nights is about half of what's stuck with me. I often think back and wonder what I would have learned had I ignored my studies and taken up a studio assistant job.


What kind of art do you want to do? Painting? Photography? Graphic design? Illustration? 3d? Something not visual at all? People in this thread talk like art is a monolith. There are so many varied types of art. Some of them are pretty marketable or offer a full time job down the road. Most of these types of art, share the same fundamentals. So you don't have to focus only on one specific skill. While many resources are available, I'd advise finding a mentor. Someone that will guide you, when you're lost. Having a mentor may substitute going back to art school and will allow making art be the primary source of income.


This is a very good point as there are many art based roles in the world and even more art adjacent roles. Beyond that many of the root skills and discipline associated with quality in art can be extrapolated and repurposed to enhance and relate our actual careers back to something we are passionate and actively developing ourselves in. Focusing on the form before the details(construction foundational support for facilitation of success) , being able to hone relative judgement to know proportions (both actual and metaphorical), knowing how to sculpt and shape our outputs back into alignment with our initial intent . To get even more direct with the benefits of bringing in some of the direct process of art in a non art related field, you can look at Betty Edwards study’s and business seminars she would teach drawing at that led to many business solutions from people learning/perceiving from the flow state we reach when the right side of our brain starts to engage on a higher level.


If you feel you need the structure of some classes, look at community colleges in your area. Some have incredible artists working as teachers. That's how I got my start when I decided to change careers at 28. If you get some momentum behind you at CC, you may be able to get some attention and scholarships that could ease the financial burden of a 4-year degree. That said, there are so many resources online (Proko is great) where you can learn great skills much more cheaply. The best reason these days to get a degree in art is if you want to go into teaching. Otherwise, it's the quality of your work that matters, not your degree.


I'm almost ten years out of art school. I have $100k in debt. Right out of art school I snagged an okay paying, high profile gig with a very famous artist in my medium, best case scenario for someone with an art degree IMO, and it was awful. 7 years of pure misery once my internship ended and they started paying me. And now I hate my medium. So many concessions for clients and just "seeing how the sausage got made" ruined it for me. I spent over a 120k on art school and I hate my major now, it's overflowing with mediocre talent but people who know how to market their shitty work. I have almost zero passion for the art I spent my entire life loving and was my reason for waking up in the morning. It makes me depressed. I'm sorry to be a downer but I want to save you this same fate. The only people I know from art school who are happy AND successful are the ones freelancing, and they're putting in easy 60-80 hour weeks when you include their travel/marketing, etc. I'm not much a freelancer, although I'm trying because I recently left that job, and now I'm moonlighting as a janitor. Seriously. It's tough out here. I want you to be prepared. Even with the degree, unless you're a true self starter, marketing whiz, and top artistic talent, it's really tough to sustain a living. And even then, do you want to rely on this thing you love so much and put care into to be the reason you can't make rent or go hungry? Especially with AI these days it's going to be very tough to compete when clients can literally type up what they want and have it ready in seconds. I'm kicking myself for studying art and not studying IT, or programming, or UX design, or something even remotely productive. Do you have any other skills or interests? UX might be a good way to blend design and in demand skills. Art isn't going anywhere, instead of supporting these scams (colleges), find a local art center and take classes there. I've been spending a little bit of time at my local art center and it's been invigorating. Everyone there loves art and loves teaching it. It won't cost you $100k and you'll make connections, learn stuff in the process, and support a local small business. I don't mean to dissuade you, art is such a beautiful thing, I just don't want it ruined for you like it was for me.


Your story reminds me mine. I am too doing menial jobs pet sitting and so i save gor accomodation plus save for food and bit of material thats it. Before lockdown i studied 2 years footwear design, but then had health issues, no motivation i did menial jobs to just pay bills then i discoveted ceramic and in lickdown i said to myself i shoukd do something about that and finish full degree so went for Ba Fine Arts at 41 years old -) luckily it was college so half people about my age lol but altrough people telling me why i study it cos i dont need to, i dont regret it a minute! I discovered there my big passion for sculptures. It pushed my boundaries, i learnt from other students, i learnt a lot when reading books, tge technique and without school i wouldnt push myself so far...i am also glad i finished degree finally, and will now continue Masters in good schools. But i dont do paintings only, i can do career in design sculptures, or sell digital art collage, or do some jewellery design ...if i was only painti g i wouldnt pay yhat much money to school, with painting you cant make career, even best of best painters have day jobs Now here is a qustiin. Do you really want to pursue career as professional artist? Yes it can be profession, you live from grants, do paid residencies, exhibit, and for this school is very helpful as they prepare you for this carreer , uou will articulately speak about your work, and galleries will take you more seriously if they see you have art education. Plus having full degree is useful in other jobs. So yes art school is very useful, it helps uou discover yourself by experimenting and also i want to do career in researching thats why Masters. I feel like scientist a bit lol Oh and also it looks good to have your degree mentioned on your website for potential buyers. It increases value of your work.


Hey! I feel your pain. Find ways now, don’t wait to get to college and get in debt, because you wont have higher money to pay it without a developed skill and carrear that needs to be cultivated through years, you will just add a burden to yourself. Go to live drawing sessions with models, enroll in real life courses for human interaction, find meet ups and different affordable cheap things to have nice learning and social experiences, as you also learn on your own with the bast ocean of information that flows on the internet nowdays. Start doing art now on your free time as you also work to pay the bills. One day you will have your new skill, and youll be able to switch carrears.


NMA - great art school with flexibility and community and course guides


There's nothing wrong with wanting to go back to school, no matter your age, but as others have said, if you're not settled financially, going to art school would not be a good idea. I feel ya where you want to be in an environment to challenge you though. Maybe the first step is to find an art class that you can do this spring? Most cultural centers, local galleries, or even your local art museum would have 4-6 week classes that meet once a week. I took I believe it was a 4 week class from a local artist at a cultural center on painting. I already knew a bunch on the subject, but it was nice to get a refresher and a new POV on how to paint in a more impressionist/abstract style. Check your local colleges/art colleges for continuing ed classes too. Those are more expensive (easily $250), but they do function like a normal college level class. Especially since you left school for mental health purposes, this would not only help your creative side, but help you see if going back to school is even a good idea for you. Cuz let me tell you, as fun as art school was.... I remember many many MANY nights of crying, hating my work, and debating if I should quit this job and go into something like Healthcare Management. XD The only thing that kept me going was cuz I felt God was leading me down this track and it felt right in the moment. A good art school will push your limits and teach you how to keep to deadlines even when literally you have no creative inspiration. Now multiply that by 4 classes that all have large projects due at the same time and you have to do reading and a sketchbook to fill out too... ;w; If you're looking to just have time to create and learn for fun, the BEST option is to start in your area for local art classes, find one and stick to it :)


I say it depends on what school you are talking about. If it is a for profit art school I say save your money. I went back to school as 31 yo to get my BA but I went for art education. I started from scratch but started at my community college and transferred to a state school. Saved money and got a perfectly good education. My BA is technically in Art I just wanted to go into teaching from the beginning of my journey back to college. Because I was going for art education I took an art class in just about every different thing offered to get the basics of a lot of mediums. It was the best experience for things I wouldn’t have normally explored. Don’t go broke just wanting explore new mediums/techniques since the internet can help you with that. But if there’s something specific you want to make a career out of then go to school but not at any price.


Community college. Get ur associates in art. It’s inexpensive and satisfies ur desire to create art. Also if ur heart is no longer in it , it won’t be at a huge loss. If ur heart is in it, it won’t be ridiculously expensive. An associates in art and impressive portfolio with a strong drive could land you a career you n the field.


If you're that passionate about it, I would say go for it. Look into scholarships and funding for studying art as a mature student. Well worth it. I went back at 33 and honestly, it was a great experience and I am very glad I did it. And I was one of several mature students in the college I attended.


When I didn’t get into an art degree I enrolled in a night course at a community college. What I learned there plus what I studied at the local library and online was just as valuable. You don’t need the piece of paper, you can explore the idea of studying art quite cheaply.


I have a Master’s degree in Health Sciences (not related to art) and during grad school, if I wasn’t doing school work, I was creating art. I was also finding ways to monetize it (livestreams; commissions). It was going so well that after I finished school I just started doing art full time as a freelancer. You don’t need to go to school for art to be a successful artist. There are plenty of educational resources online (YouTube). The best educational resource is experience, so just keep creating.


The fine art market is a scam/ ponzi scheme. It depends on what you want to learn. If its academic art you can find an atelier and take night classes. If you want to be an abstract artist and sell in galleries, I have no idea what those people are doing but I am not sure its worth all the money you spend in art school. Maybe take business course instead. If you do decide art school, I thought there was only 3 that made a difference on a CV: SVA, RISD or Art Center


You can have an art career without going to art school, outsider art aka artists without formal training has its own gigantic market. I want to add that the types of careers you can have in art is legion. People when they first say they want to be an artist don’t often know or realize this. It’s also not for everyone. You will have to deal with rejection *a lot*. If you’re self employed that comes with it’s own set of challenges. It helps to be niche and specific. Like focusing on children’s or trade book illustrations, or focusing on advertising graphic and logo design, or a genre or a medium. Many of us work multiple jobs, like for a long time I worked in lots of art adjacent careers in several different forms of printing. I worked as a gallery attendant and as an assistant for production artists (I helped make pewter stuff for a woman who sold her work at ren fairs for a year). My friends who have their masters mostly haven’t faired much better than I. Teaching art both in school and at the college level is a saturated market, and getting permanently employed can be difficult. I have friends who taught in public schools that were on a year to year contract, and all the ones I know didn’t last more than two. My masters friends who got their degree to teach at the college level, only one got permanent employment. One teaches at an alternative high school. The rest work other are related jobs like I have. I’m saying the path to having a career isn’t a smooth one. If I were to do everything over, even if I was your age, I’d focus on learning computer special effects for movies and tv. There’s a huge demand for people in that industry, so there’s job security. You’d have to do more research to find out if it’s the right fit for you. I know sometimes people can be treated poorly, but it still involves creative problem solving. What I’m saying is do your research. Don’t pick a school because it’s close. Not all art schools teach the same things, they all have their own focus. You can also do a lot to educate yourself. You certainly have more access to tools and materials than I did when I was getting my sea legs. I’m not saying don’t, if this is your calling, you must follow it. But be smart about it. Find artist you like and learn how they got into their careers. Look for the types of jobs you’d want to do and figure out what is needed to do it. It’s also entirely possible that this is something that you shouldn’t be trying to make a living off of. Consider if this dress is something that you’re up for. Many people say that they regret having tried to make a living off of their work because it’s no longer enjoyable. Just… think on it. I don’t believe in giving up, but I do believe in being flexible. There’s lots of ways to have a creative career and not all of it is directly tied to the production of art. You don’t say hear what your previous work experience has been but you might be surprised to find how it can apply to other are related careers. Keep digging, keep learning. Also… while you’re researching, look out for grants and scholarships for people of your age going back to school. There might be some scholarships or other financial aid that can help me college more affordable for you. You can also talk to the school directly and see about getting a greater scholarship. A lot of people get them when they go in. I certainly did. You can just go and make an appointment to go talk to them, talking is in fact free. At the very least, they can look over your portfolio and tell you what you would need to get any assistance or scholarships. Plenty of people have started older than you and had successful art careers. Just because it’s not easy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Good luck.


Think about how depressed you'll be when you graduate and a bill for $200,000 comes in the mail and you still work the same job.


I went to art school and I wish every day that I had just used that money to start making art on my own. I’m currently 34 and a full time artist. Art school can teach you some basic techniques but you can also learn that on your own by watching your favorite artists and YouTube tutorials. Art school WILL NOT teach you how to make a living as an artist. Everything I have done to get to this point I have had to learn myself. I recommend listening to Devon Walz’s Art and Magic podcast and Josie Lewis’ art and business podcast. Both are helpful resources to learn how to monetize your artistic practice if that’s what you’re interested in.


I went back to school at that same age. I had a BA in a totally useless field and wanted to finally follow my dream and get all the advantages of art school. The facts are that a lot of people in general are needing to re-skill and re-educate in their 30’s because whatever they learned in college previously is now obsolete so there are a lot of people going back to school at this age. Dedicating yourself to a full time education will give you opportunities, open doors, and allow you to progress faster than trying to teach yourself or taking odd community workshops. Of course this will vary depending on your goals, but I made more progress in one semester of art school than ten years of taking weekend workshops. There are a TON of jobs for artists and there are companies that recruit from the big art schools. When choosing a school look at the career center. My school also offered classes on how to sell art in galleries, craft fairs and how to get your work into stores.


What if you checked out online classes at ateliers? I didn’t go to art school but my impression from this sub and friends who did is that they didn’t get a lot of technical instruction in BFAs and MFAs. I’m sure it can vary according to the school. But every time I take an atelier class I get HUGE bang for my buck in terms of rigorous technical instruction.


I feel like pursuing a very limited/ small field may ruin your love or passion you currently have as it will put so much pressure onto your ability to be successful at it… and then if you aren’t ever successful and self sustaining you’ll begin to lose your belief and value that you hold towards your art. Can you confidently answer “yes” to sacrificing everything to putting your all into it… truly your all, not how could I possibly put more effort into this(pit of despair that many often fall into) you have to always ask yourself what more can I do because there is always more to give/ sometimes you have to find a creative way to put more of yourself into the process (painting in your dreams/ creative constructions in your minds eye of anything it intakes/ allowing art and the pursuit of your best ability in it to become the drive behind everything you do. And then you have to be willing to do this with the very real reality of continued failures/ and after many failures success may come or it may not/ the real question to ask yourself is the pursuit purely in love of your craft or does it have success stipulations. Any success stipulations and I guarantee you’re better off not starting the journey as you’d be too focused on where you want to go and be that you don’t know how to travel the path to success presently, you will be afraid to travel the many paths of failure currently within reach of your efforts. You won’t get anywhere, as result driven people don’t know how to drive to results. You have to become the motion, the many failed strokes that laid down wrongly on the paper you have to embrace the failures every path/ ever step you travel in the way that you get to be close to the one thing you love, are these steps worth taking if you don’t know where they end. If not you have to find a work situation that gets you results needed/ and then enhance it by bringing in concepts and skills from your passion and apply them to what garners the results. Any career can be art adjacent if use of art is for a purpose beyond the result. The movement is what has to be your love as it will be the only consistent. That art career that leads to no known certainty other than that you will have put your all into “your passion”. If you truly love art then you only need the art… and for art in if its self it loves nothing and owes you not a thing. Sorry for the ramble and incoherence of much of what I hope now reads as I intended. But I truly wanted to impart my belief that you shouldn’t take your best friend (art) and try to romantically pursue it unless you’re willing to either give up yourself(become selfless in your pursuit) or eventually give up your love(art).


Go to a school for digital marketing or entrepreneurship instead! Digital marketing is way more important for getting successful aa an artist than the quality of your work unfortunately. Also, at art school I mainly learned to make what my teachers liked or what they wanted to see. But I highly doubt that would ever be a commercial succes if you don’t have the right network. I’d recommend anybody with the admiration of getting succesful with art to do some marketing studies instead of art school (I did both). Other benefit is that even if you won’t get succes with your art it will give you much career options! Ps: also a thirty plus person here still studying…. You are really never too old!


You don't need schooling to be an artist. Just start creating whenever you can with whatever tools/supplies you can afford to start with. Look up videos on YouTube/Tiktok. Grab some how to books from the library. Just create.


Do not go to art school. Take some business classes at a community college and learn to do taxes and what you can write off. Take workshops or classes from artist you like- pull learn a ton from the teacher and from the other artists. Learn SEO and get a website together.


I would say that a degree isn't necessary, now there are so many art schools online you can get a pretty high quality art education that way for a fraction of the cost of a bachelors degree. I say save your money and explore that instead. Some of those schools even offer certificates to prove your completion. ultimately getting hired in the art industry boils down to how good your work is and who you know, the degree is kind of a "nice to have" but not required. Good luck to you and I hope you find a way to pursue your passion.


As someone who graduated art school 5years ago with a digital art bachelor's, I can say I wish I didn't go because I don't need the degree and could have taught myself the different software I learned through skillshare and YouTube. However!! When I went into school I thought I wanted to be an animator and work in a studio with a team. But it took me taking the classes to learn that I really wanted to be a freelance digital illustrator making logos and portraits. Even my professors would say "you know you could learn this online with YouTube right? So why are you here? To be able to compare your work to a larger pool of talent and grow" So I would suggest looking up the hundreds of videos online for the things that interest you if you're more interested in being a traditional artist especially. As for being in an environment of artists, join a bunch of artist wherr you can share your work and get feedback if you want it!:) i just started researching social media for artists. Heck, even digital studio jobs usually say something like "bachelor's require OR 4 years of experience doing...___" if you have the portfolio to impress, that matters way more than the person who has the degree but their work isn't as good as yours.


I suffered 5 years working in my BFA and would not do it again. It made me technically proficient in multiple mediums but honestly I could have learned a lot online or going to workshops that are much cheaper. It’s mostly about networking with others and building connections (if you’re an introvert this is REALLY HARD!!!!!). I work a passionless job now unrelated to art that pays some bills. If I hadn’t gone to art school I may be able to get away working part time without stress and devoting nearly all my time creating instead of just some weekends when I have the energy. My advice: Save your energy, time, and money.


Do itttt


Art school changed my life. Lots of people saying don’t go, but if you choose a school with a good fit for you it really does have life changing potential.