Post # 1
I am obsessed with figuring out a life/ career path. I would love any advice. I am a passionate and dedicated artist. I am just starting to show my work and it has been well received. But making a living as an artist is a difficult life. So, I am open to the possibility of going to Graduate School. In fact, if it weren’t for the student loan debt it would cause, I would LOVE to go. But, if I can get a job teaching from an MFA, that would be wonderful.
However, should I take a year to develop so that I can have an even better portfolio for when I do apply to MFA programs? Or, should I go to an MA program I am pretty sure I can get into? The MA program would mean a move of about an hour and a half away. But I am not even sure if I can get a job teaching with an MA. I would hate to do it and be stuck with even more student loan debt and no job.
Thank you so much for any advice.
Post # 3
I am an artist as well, and there are very few MA schools with my degree so I understand. I did not think an MA was necessary for me. As an artist, there are many colleges you can teach at as a guest artist, and I know most of my art school teachers do not have MAs. I believe you need them for teaching elementary or highchool art though, so it depends on what you want.
As for developing a portfolio, you will always be improving, so why not see what schools accept you now? Or ask an industry professional where they think your portfolio is at. I was able to get my job when I graduated, but I am not a fine artist so I can see why that would be more difficult.
Do you even want to teach? Is that your ultimate goal? Or do you want to make it as an artist? What is your speciality if you don’t mind me asking?
Post # 4
arenyth Thank you for taking the time to respond. I mainly just want to find a way to make it work- as far as being an artist. I want to do and be around and involved in something creative. The MA program is unique in that it has you do everything- with no emphasis (ceramics, textiles, digital imaging, photography (darkroom), printmaking (which i have never even had the chance to do and would love to), metals, painting, drawing). That is why I am attracted to it. My emphasis is darkroom photography and oil painting. I have a BA in liberal studies (humanities and literature- which really positively affects my work). I also did a year of classes at a goldsmithing program (while doing my academics at night- it was hard work), so I have those skills as well. I currently take part-time classes at a local transfer college in order to have darkroom access and I have been building a portfolio of oil paintings and fine art photos, getting perfect grades, and starting to get out and show my work, plus I have some fantastic references. I guess I feel like if I take on the financial commitment of Grad School, I will need to teach to pay for it. I also have strong illustration skills. I am just feel unsure where to go next right now. What is your emphasis?
Post # 5
My emphasis is computer animation and illustration, so my degree was in CA and I am self taught in illustration.I currently paint as a texture artist on animated movies.
I think part of your dilemma right now is that you’re doing everything. The MA program sounds really cool, but you end up becoming a generalist – a lot of random skills and no specialty. I found that once I stuck to one thing, I could focus on becoming the best I could at just that. And even though computer animation sounds focused, for my thesis I focused even further on only texture painting, which got me my current job.
If you have any inkling which field you’d like to really step into, go for it. But the MA sounds like its just a good time. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to do any sculpture or oil painting classes when I went to school, but I wouldn’t have my job now if I didn’t focus.
Art is such a large field I think we can get lost in it. Doing the MA sounds good if you want to do elementary education, where you can teach a bunch of this stuff. Universities would require you to have an emphasis. But you could do so much with photography, I know amateurs that make thousands a week just by posting themselves and their services on craigslist! And they don’t even have an art education so I imagine you could do quite well.
My sister is graduating in illustration so I know she’s feeling the same way, unsure of her direction or where she wants to end up. I hope I was of some help! Being an artist rocks, but it does take some serious buckling down to get anywhere. I’ve been spending the last 10 months redoing my portfolio website, creating a new business plan for myself, the business side of it is harder than the art! Good luck!
Post # 6
arenyth I think you are right. Thanks for all the good advice. I am planning to take a year and just work and show my work, and decide on painting or photography for an MFA- if I decide to go at all. (But secretly I know I will always do both.) Darling Husband wants more than anything to do concept art, he is just finishing his degree in graphic design. Do you think he has a chance of getting a job with a good enough portfolio in concept? Or should he get on the waiting list for the animation program here? Thanks for your help, arenyth!
Post # 7
I’m getting a MFA — in another art area. The MFA is usually a better credential for teaching as it is a terminal masters (in most cases…though, the academic landscape is changing and PhDs are becoming the status symbol for the job market). The MFA also gives you a better chance at teaching a variety of levels — from elementary schools, to community centers, to colleges.