What would I do with an Art education?

I spoke to two members of my family who have education in art, today.  What I’ve been told is that it’s very hard to make a living in art, in the U.S., and for the vast majority of artists, their “day job” is their actual job.

I’ve also realized that I’m one class away from a certain certificate (that class is Beginning Figure Drawing), and should I take that class, I’ll be -4  5 classes away from a Certificate in Art, at my more local branch.  Good thing?  Two of those classes, I’ve wanted to take; the third looks like it will be helpful as well.  Continuing Figure Drawing, though?  Eh.  I can do it if it’s required.

If I took these classes at a farther branch, I’d be looking at at least 9 classes — though that’s the place people go to get into one of the Arts colleges where I’d be able to earn an MFA.  The question is what I’d do with it, then.  And I won’t be able to get in unless I have a rockin’ portfolio, and I’m not at that level yet.  Of course, though, not only would that Arts college be looking at my training via degree and my portfolio, but they would be looking at my transcripts — and that means that it doesn’t really matter exactly where I take my classes, so long as I develop.

I’m actually thinking of a Fine Arts MFA.  Like a crazy person.  But it would be frikkin’ awesome to work at a Museum.  And it would be awesome to have the breadth of knowledge of one of the people I talked to, today.  And it would be awesome to be able to share that knowledge with greener people.  There are bad Art teachers.  I know this.  I’ve had them.  But Art History?  It might be like being able to share material on spirituality that I’ve gained over years of study, which generally stays locked away in a cabinet, except online.  If I were that excited about what I was teaching, like my Drawing/Art History professor, I’d probably be really good.

I just found, as well, that I actually took Basic Design, not Two-Dimensional Design.  They’re under different class codes, and don’t look like they’re interchangeable.  Maybe 2-D Design would be good, as Basic Design really didn’t teach me a lot about Design.  It was a Multimedia/Adobe Illustrator class, moreso than a Graphic Arts class, and I was looking for the latter.

I also, from talking with my family, have realized that it’s likely a better idea to pursue the General Business Certificate than to throw myself wholeheartedly into Art, thinking that I’m going to be able to make a living by doing it.  This relates to the aforementioned idea of working at a QUILTBAG resource/community center to make enough money to live on, and then I’d do my art (and personal writing) in my spare time, while possibly also being able to utilize them on the job (via written communications and/or illustration).

The alternative in a Business setting would be to work in some manner in an office, where I’d likely be forced to supervise people — which is contraindicated by my own temperament and anxieties.  I mean, dealing with the general public, at least — it makes me glad I’m not locked into this career path.  At the same time, I have a degree in the Humanities, which seems to predispose me to have either a menial or human-oriented job.

On the other hand, maybe Business doesn’t look so good.

The thing is — I’ve got a certain amount of time in which I’ll be able to have a part-time job and part-time schooling before it’s likely that my primary caregiver will be retiring.  It’s more important to be able to support myself than it is to make pretty things.  Right?  I mean, if I can’t afford to buy the materials to make the pretty things, and I can’t find a venue to sell them, I’d kind of be in trouble — but at least, now, we have some vestige of national health care.

I still haven’t begun researching how I might be able to make a living as a writer.  That would help.  I haven’t had time, though.

Hey!  I might be able to teach writing, too?  If I did teach…it would probably have to be high school or college, likely the latter.  I probably have too unruly an existence to be allowed to teach little kids.  College students would probably be easier on me than children, too — and depending on where I teach, they may be vetted.

As things stand, I kind of feel like everybody knows how to write in English and so I’m nothing special, though…maybe I just haven’t read enough average writing in English yet?  I mean…maybe I’m underselling myself because it feels easy enough to me that I don’t know how skilled I am in this medium.  And I see my own flaws in retrospect, like where I repeat words or phrases unnecessarily.  But that seems kind of minor…?  And easily avoidable, given enough time (and distance) to edit.

I do realize that here, at least, I use a more casual tone, so I can begin sentences with transitional words, and use abbreviations and etc., and that’s intentional.  But at least it seems that I can soundly communicate (at least with native English readers), regardless of whether I’m breaking rules of formal English or not.

One of my in-laws, in particular, said not to look at what job I have as an integral part of who I am.  As a part of my identity, I guess.  But a big theme of today’s talk, and the one on Friday, was to take advice which helps — and if it doesn’t help, leave it.  I have a tendency to take on other peoples’ rules too easily, and maybe I should just see that the people who talk to me do so from their own perspectives, which aren’t perfect (or all-knowing) by any means.

I just kind of don’t know what to do; and at least I’m old enough to know that I can’t force myself to know something I don’t.

I’ll look at this tomorrow and see what it tells me.

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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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