I never let my schooling interfere with my education.
~ Mark Twain
I’m graduating from college in a few weeks as a certified artist. One of the common questions is “are you going to grad school?”
Though I contemplated it for a short while, the answer is an adamant no. Going on to get a master’s degree can be a great thing, and I won’t completely rule it out as a future possibility. However, in addition to being pretty thoroughly tired of school at the moment, I just don’t see where I can join a program that will justify its cost.
While looking at different masters programs I came to realize that what they teach is pretty simple. It doesn’t really matter what the school is, whether the University of Kentucky or Yale, the basic program is the same. Since I was specifically looking at Masters in Fine Arts programs I will use them as an example.
- Here are the 6 steps that you have to complete in order to receive an MFA:
- Create a lot of work
- and get a lot of feedback on it
- from all of the other artists you are meeting.
- While learning where you fit in/relate to art history
- and contemporary art.
- Then, to prove that the school has done its job, have a solo show.
Though the schools might disagree (and I’ve had at least a couple of teachers do so), I don’t feel that a school is required to meet those requirements. They aren’t the only repository of information. It doesn’t have to cost tens of thousands of dollars to learn to become an artist. (Or many other things, unless you are looking at a career that requires some sort of licensing to enter the field.)
So I’m not going to work toward a master’s degree at the moment. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t be continuing my education. In fact, I will be branching out, and am likely to be learning more than when I was in school.
If I decide to put that artist certification to use? That spare bedroom can become a studio space, I can go out and meet other artists (more than ever before are accessible, because of the internet) and ask them to give me advice about my work while using the internet and library to look up artists and learn more about their work and how it relates to mine. I can approach galleries to have a solo show, or easily host my own.
Maybe the business minor will be of more interest to me and I’ll expand my reading list to include the Personal MBA book selection and I’ll have the knowledge equivalence of an MBA. 99 books? I can read that in a year, no problem.
Perhaps I’ll do a little of both. Continue creating art and growing as an artist while reading some business books to get a better understanding of how that world works. Maybe I’ll throw in some other topics just for the fun of it.
Either way, I might be done with school, but my education is certainly not over.
Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned.
~ Mark Twain’s Notebook