“Had I heard you speak when I was coming out of graduate school, my path might have been different….” Quinne graduated in 1985 with an MFA and his remark is something that I hear all too often.
Too many graduate from art, music, culinary or other schools, with very high hopes. And too many graduate with no plan or concrete guidance. So their hopes are soon set a drift on a raft of flames when the economic reality of food, shelter, and student loans set in.
What they have not been taught, because too many academics resist the notion, is that in order to thrive as creatives they will also be required to be very savvy entrepreneurs. Why? Because there are precious few “jobs” for creatives that deliver stable and adequate income, retirement, and health benefits. Glinda, the Good Witch, is just not coming.
Why don’t they get this guidance from their professors? My theory: it’s because their professors are, just that, professors. And they are not facing the same economic realities of a new graduate. My opinion: these teaching institutions, that are often very expensive, are simply irresponsible.
I’ll never forget when I served as a panelist at UC Berkeley. The topic: How to make a viable living as an artist? The tenured professor of the painting department advised the eager audience, “Don’t worry about it. Just make art. It will all work out.” Easy for him to say! That’s complete BULL$$hit! My fellow panelist, a successful print maker, said to him in front of a large audience. “F*&#! That! People are buying art!” In that moment she became my hero and the seeds for Artists Who THRIVE were planted.