Thursday, January 28, 2021

The stigma of being an art major

When I was younger, I wanted to be an artist. I loved to draw, take photos and do anything creative. I would wander around my house, backyard and the beach to snap pictures of nature, animals or people, but my dream dwindled as I got older. Adults began telling me that photography and art weren’t reliable careers to pursue and that I should choose something more stable.

Naturally, I was upset and wondered why these people were trying to kill my dream. But eventually, I did succumb to the pressure of these adults and began searching for alternative careers.

I knew then and now that I’m no Picasso or Dali. I simply didn’t have the raw talents with which great artists around the world are blessed. But those rare souls who do possess this talent are usually criticized or mocked when they attempt to make a career out of their passion, especially during college.

They’re told that they should switch to something like teaching or business. This is like telling artists who dedicated their lives to creativity, such as Claude Monet or Vincent van Gogh, to try a career in shoe-making.

Artists have the ability to take what’s happening in the world and turn it into a form of art that everyone can relate to. Art majors have the potential to shape a culture, ignite a social movement or inspire other artists and people in the world.

Most people are afraid to major in art because it is a competitive and somewhat restricting field. The sad reason a lot of artists give up their dreams is money — or lack thereof. It may not be the deciding factor for some artists who have already found financial stability, but for those people struggling after college trying to make a name for themselves, it’s difficult and a definite cause for concern.

When you think about it, there are plenty of majors that may be equally competitive and also may not result in a satisfying salary until years after you’ve graduated — journalism could perhaps fall under this category.

Everything comes in time, and if you’re doing something that makes you happy you will succeed at some point, whether that’s a month or years after graduation. If you stay true to your work and create your own style, people will notice, and your hard work will all be worth it.

If you ever find yourself questioning your choice of being an art major often, maybe art isn’t something worth pursuing as a long-term career. Just because you’re not an art major doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy making all kinds of art and trying to get your work out to the public.

The future of art lies in the paint-stained hands of art students everywhere, and society should encourage them to continue following their dreams rather than settle for another career with a fat paycheck.

Email Laura Schmidt at laura.schmidt@cardinalpointsonline.com

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