“Should I—or my child—major in art?” Part two: the “passion” question.

In the first post in this series, Torpedo Factory artists discussed the practical side of a life in art, but our artists also understand the importance of passion. As the following artists point out, part of being creative is finding outlets and approaches that suit you—and knowing, very specifically, what you aspire to accomplish through art.

Julie Patrick, photographer

“Iceland Vatn 347”

As someone who graduated relatively recently from college—2001—I’ve had this conversation with my own parents many times, as well as with friends and even with myself. I was juried into the Torpedo Factory when I was just out of college and in my first professional job. I chose a liberal arts education, much to the chagrin of my civil engineer father, who would have preferred business or science or something more tangible than an English or fine arts major. I stick by my decision. A liberal arts education prepares kids to think creatively and analytically. I feel like a student for life. When you’re in a creative field, there’s always something to work on, to grow towards, to evolve and develop.

“The Quiet 117”

I think the most important question for parents to ask their children is: What is your passion? Some people spend their whole lives not knowing. Your passion may never pay rent or help you achieve monetary success or acclaim, but it brings joy and self-fulfillment. The second question for parents to ask themselves is how they define success for their children. Most say they want their children to be happy and self-sufficient.

I know my passion is in fine art photography. Every other employment or opportunity that enables me to pursue that is just what I need to do to survive.

If a student is serious about going into a creative arts field, then they need to apprentice, to work within a studio, or see firsthand that it’s really as much business as it is art. They need to learn how to write a business plan as much as they need to learn art history and technique—and then they have to work and volunteer. They need to find a mentor in the field they want to pursue.

Stephanie Lane, mixed-media artist

“Spring’s Push,” oil on canvas

There are many different forms of art; major in what you’’e passionate about. If your passion comes from the intellect, approach art that way. If it comes from your heart, that way works, too.

There are practical ways of making a living in art—many commercial applications. The non-commercial side has many fewer applications and is best for refining your personal sensibilities as an artist. Both work!

Coming on Friday: credentials—and one artist’s story.

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