Question by Robyn Quixano: Should I drop out of a UC (University of California) to attend an art school instead?
I am currently 19 years old, trying to finish my first semester of sophomore year in U.C. Merced. Despite being on the honor roll, maintaining top grades in all of my classes, I am mentally and emotionally exhausted. I have been dealing with depression and anxiety for years now (have received formal diagnoses of social phobia and Generalized Anxiety Disorder).
The only beacon of light for me is art. I crave for it so much I’ve dreamt many nights of being the starving artist. In the beginning, I concluded art could be a hobby whilst I work in a real, secure profession, but I can’t allow myself to have two things on my mind. It’s either one or the other. I either sacrifice everything to save the sick or I create. If my heart’s not into it, if I am not genuinely happy doing it, how can I commend myself on my deathbed for having lived life to its fullest? Life is too short, life is only granted once for each of us, we can’t waste it.
Can anyone, please, wisely convince me otherwise? Maybe you can change my mind before I devastate my parents.
Nonetheless, I’m not expecting to become Monet, Van Gogh, Dali, whoever. I just want to learn everything there is to learn about what I love. And do it, of course. I want to illustrate, paint, sculpt, tailor, produce films, and write stories. I have not practiced much as I was trying my best all this time to commit myself wholeheartedly to studying, but when I do doodle/draw/paint/dream of creating I am filled with a foreign sense of excitement and happiness.
Here are samples I found on my computer:
I want to know if I might have a future with art if I keep working at it. More importantly, how can I maximize my level of mastery and/or success? Does going to an art school really make that much of a difference? In my situation, what is the best thing I can do now (ie. work on a portfolio)? I really want some kind of guidance, especially on more technical aspects of sculpting and film-making, et., but U.C. Merced is very limited in its art program (there isn’t even an art major here). That is why I’m considering dropping out/transferring.
I live in San Francisco. Will S.F. State do (heard they have a good art program)? Or am I better off in an art school like SFAI or Academy of Art University? Are they hard to get in and typically how much financial aid is offered? Currently, financial aid from U.C. Merced covers nearly everything for me (save a couple hundreds of dollars which I could work off with Work Study).
I also wonder – what else should I do to prepare for my future as an artist? What qualities (besides creativity, skills, good work ethic) make an artist more successful than another? I am extremely introverted, I never seem to be able to connect with anyone, so I am afraid I will not fit into the art community or be able to promote myself. Is this a big problem?
Also, once I graduate, is it really that hard to support myself? I am expecting to work a part-time job (possibly something degrading to my parents) while balancing art production. I just want to know if I will survive.
I’d deeeeply appreciate anyone who takes their time to read all this. Thank you! If these questions are unanswerable, please at least redirect me somewhere more appropriate to get help. I have no one to talk to but my school counselor, which I have scheduled an appointment with next Tuesday.
Answer by Me F.
You use art as an escape, do you really want to turn it into WORK?
If you become a professional artist, you will turn what you love into something you need to exploit for money.
Art is very much Business!
Nonetheless, it seems to me you are someone who would greatly benefit from taking art classes and DOING art. But dont make it into a business until you are ready for that “world”. I would suggest you join art groups and/or take art classes. Even if you must take an extra year to finish your degree, for you it would be worth it.
“I just want to learn everything there is to learn about what I love. And do it, of course. I want to illustrate, paint, sculpt, tailor, produce films, and write stories”.
Good, Learn to do THAT.
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!