View Full Version : Looking for advice...
07-17-2004, 10:54 PM
I will be graduating High School next year, and am starting to think about college. I would
like it pursue my art (wood sculpture) as a career, but am not really sure where collage fits
in there. As far as I can tell, there are no collage courses that deal with exactly what it is I
do. Other artists have given me differing pieces of advice with regards to art school Ė some
have said that it would be a good idea to go, not because I would necessarily learn how to
do my art better, but because I would be exposed to more aspects of the art world; and some
have said that art school really isnít necessary since I wouldnít really learn about my art, or
improve my skills (since there arenít really any courses on it); and some have said that
something more in the line of a degree in business would be more beneficial.
I will most likely be attending a local community collage, rather then going away anywhere,
and am not really sure what subjects to center on that would be of the most benefit. Iím thinking
more in the line of not really taking any art classes, except maybe visual design or something
like that which would be helpful in my art. I will be looking to see what they offer in the line of
ornithology etc. since that would help with my art (I carve birds), and hopefully some music(Iím
not sure what all they offer), but am just trying to decide which other directions to go and what
else to pursue, collage wise, that would be of the most benefit to me with my art.
Anyway, just looking for any advice that anyone may have. :)
07-18-2004, 02:58 PM
David, I don't know much about sculpture, less about wildlife art, and next to nothing about your life, where you live, etc.
[b]But[/i], have you spoken to anyone who does wildlife bird sculpture professionally? Where did they learn their skills (and not just artistic technical skills, either...how did they discover how to properly display, price, exhibit, and thus make money from, their work?
If they went to school, then do that.
If they apprenticed with other artists, maybe that is what you should do...
07-18-2004, 05:21 PM
Thank you for the reply. I have talked to other sculptors who do what I do; most seem to
have either picked it up as a hobby later in life, or after they retired, and progressed from
their, or went to school to study something else, and then discovered this and went with
it Ė most seem to have come onto wildlife sculpture later in life through other things and
maybe went to college to study other kinds of art before they got into sculpture. Many have
told me that, earlier in life, they just didnít know that they could make a living at it, and thus
pursued another career, and then picked it back up later in life. I really havenít found anyone
who went to college thinking that they would like to do this for a living.
As far as learning the technical skills go, most seem to have learned from books, classes
offered by other carvers, or are pretty much self taught. I havenít really heard of anyone doing
apprenticeships with another artist.
The business/marketing/display/pricing skills seem to be another matter Ė many are excellent
artists, but lack those skills and are frustrated because they would love to make a living at it, but
just canít market themselves well enough to pull it off. The ones who do it successfully for a living
have, many of them, just developed and learned the business end over the years. That is where
some have encouraged me to go to college and study art Ė because it would expose me to a lot
in the art world.
So I really havenít met anyone in this art form who even thought about pursuing it as a career this
early in life, or who have gone to college with it in mind; or who have done what I am trying to do. So
that is what I am trying to decide Ė I feel that I should have some college, but am wondering about
what I could take that would benefit me, that I could apply towards the art that I do, and hopefully
making a living at it.
07-19-2004, 07:30 AM
For what its worth, US News and World Report ranks Virginia Commonwealth University and Alfred University (NY) as the top schools in the US for sculpture.
07-20-2004, 04:03 PM
I feel that I should have some college, but am wondering about what I could take that would benefit me, that I could apply towards the art that I do, and hopefully making a living at it.
David, have you thought about taking business courses? That could help you prepare a business plan for your own career, and help you manage money, invest, and be successful--
--and you could also hire yourself out to help other artists who may be in need of such services. Most business people know very little about art, or how art is marketed and sold.
That might be a nice side-career until your sculpture business can really stand on its own, and it will probably help your sculpture business get to that point much sooner!
You should try giving Dave Scamell a pm: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=89893&highlight=dave+bird+sculpture
He's a friend I use to chat with a lot in the WC Chat system. Does a lot of sculptures of birds. He might be able to give you some advice about how he got started, and information about his training and such.
My thoughts are you should apply atleast and see what happens. You might get offered a scholarship or something, which could definately make your decision to go a lot easier. I had a hard time figuring out whether or not I wanted to go to school. I finished my first year, deciding to try for atleast 1 year. I'm going back next year. Not so much because I'm learning lots of things to make my art better, but because its definately opening me up to a lot of the art world, and has given me much broader look on everything. Its also great to meet other artists, and hear their stories, and get to know other people and their work.
07-21-2004, 03:04 PM
Axl and Keith, thank you for the advice.
Keith, Yes, I have thought a little bit about that. A few other people have also suggested
that. I am starting to see that the business/marketing end is really almost more important
then the art end Ė it doesnít matter how good my work is if I canít market it and find people
to buy it. I am also, as you mentioned, looking for that side business, something, hopefully
in the art field, to supplement the income from my art until I can really get this business
going. I am starting to think that maybe going and taking business courses, with some art
related subjects on the side, may be the best way to go.
Axl, thank you for the advice and I will try to get in touch with Dave Scamell.
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