Special Feature: Art school redpill

Thursday 1 October 2020, 8.00pm HKT

ONLY very few art schools are worth the bread in the sense of actually teaching you how to draw, paint, sculpt and whatnot. Your art school is probably shite, particularly if it isn’t in a First World country, and then some even there.

Watts Atelier and CalArts, for example, are in the category of greats.

Most art schools will just teach you useless shit like philosophy of art or the gestalt or zeitgeist of various artistic genres — when you just want to do something cool in art. Some will glorify some modern art bullshit because “muh expression.”

A lot of people graduate from art school can’t even operate on the level of begging. I’ve seen it first-hand many times in different countries, and it’s sad as it sounds.

It gets worse.

You will be tens of thousands of dollars or pounds or whatever currency in student debt.

Meanwhile a kid drawing anime for fun will draw 10 times better, and ironically, will have more money in the long run.

And that’s because you can learn most (not all) of the ‘art’ cheaper or for free online.

If you paid Watts Atelier or New Masters Academy and pay extra for critiques by their professionals, you will be learning more than you’ll save money. Then again, they’ll be worth the opportunity cost (formula here) since they accept the best and brightest — and the crême typically maximises the worth of their opportunities. So the point is moot when it comes to the topnotch art schools anyway.

Unlike the other occupations such as medicine, law, accounting, etc, employers generally don’t give a shit about what’s behind your diploma or degree. One glance at your portfolio and if it sucks, you’re effed. They would even hire a self-taught KID over you.

By what metric?

“I almost went to [Tokyo Communication Arts]. For car-design schools, what I notice is, if you just look at the designs that come out of schools, the consistently better ones come out from Hongik, Coventry, MAMI, Forzheim in Germany, and a decent one in California. Otherwise, I think every car-design programme is probably dog shit.”An industrial designer

I’ve seen plenty of detailed, technically good art that looks like straight retardation shit.

Also, animefags have to compete with each other on who can draw the style the best. It’s oversaturated and it’s boring.

By the metric of employers who need artists actually hiring you?

Had I contradicted myself there?

So if moneyfags employers are the ones setting the tone metric, it’s a straightforward task. Find out where you ‘should’ be working and draw whatever stupid style that is selling — ideally a style high in demand yet low in supply.

Working just for money is horribly unfulfilling spiritually as well as financially, by the way. It’s straight wage slavery. Your art suffers.

Contradicted myself?

If you thought the same as the above, then you’re confusing your shitty artistic taste with making art.

If you don’t get people to hire you, you aren’t a “pro.” It’s that simple. This is for people who want jobs, retard.

What part of nobody gives a shit about your “muh expression” you didn’t understand?

You say the debate is for people who want to actually MAKE ART.

So what exactly is your idea of “making art”? Why are you so willing and ready to accept a shitty life?

Piss off! We’re strictly talking about art schools. I don’t give a shit about what “making art” is for you. I’m not your nanny fcuktoy dictionary.

Let’s say we claim art wasn’t subjective.

We then have to claim that employers decide what good art is — since it necessarily follows from our earlier claim that you’re not a pro unless you get hired or commissioned.

The thing is, the employers are still subjectively deciding what they want and don’t want— since 90% of them are troglodytes untrained in art.

Did Picasso work for some big corporate bordello?

I’ve worked in the art industry before — professionally. It was butt-raeping soul-sapping awful work.

All businesses are started by crooks people. You can start working with other insufferable artists in a collective. Even if you don’t get shafted rich, I bet you’d be a million times happier — working on things you like, with goth chicks or Gucci studs people you like, in conditions you all tolerate agreed to — rather than be rich and working non-stop to make some philistine’s dream a reality.

But welcome to the real world too. In real life, we all have to do things we don’t like in order to earn money. Very few people get to do what they truly want. Deal with it.

Only few art schools are worth the money?

Depends on the school, of course. And what your expectations are, the quality of the teaching, and how industrious and focused you’re willing to be.

You cannot learn most of the art cheaper or for free online. It’s not possible to learn much online even from AnimeKing420’s “How to Draw Manga” channel.

If we discount street prostitution and software piracy free resources from the equation, it’s still cheaper to pay a life subscription to (say) NMA than being scammed by art school having university-level debt from art school.

There’s simply no comparison. I’ll bet you the life subscription is still cheaper than just one semester’s tuition at your average art school.

The real question is, are YOU worth spending that bread?

My schoolmate and friend Giles de Gisffourde went to art school and got a ‘First’ for his B.A. in Fine Arts with emphasis in illustration. He had to take all the studio discipline modules of the painting degrees, so he got solid training in the pure-art techniques. He was hardworking and motivated. He didn’t regret going to art school at all. He is a working artist and is ‘known’ in global art circles. His aristo-sounding name helps too.

But I also knew lots of people whose parents paid for them to go to some top art academy — and they just waltzed through classes, didn’t apply themselves, and then came out with worthless portfolios.

And then they pestered people like Giles (or me!) with “How d’you do this?” about basic art materials, never mind techniques.

  • To be fair, no art school is wholly rubbish. Even state-subsidised art programmes turn out talented art graduates every year.

But realise that even top-notch art schools are pretty much a “franchised school” and more about soaking up that sweet, guaranteed public-sector loan/grant money than about turning out qualified artists.

I met and talked to someone who taught and lasted only a year at The Art Academy in the USA. He said it was babysitting, not teaching art. Yet in the same city, there are private ateliers that teach students the hardcore classical techniques, and their graduates go on to actual art careers.

  • One of the defining aspects of many art-related discussion forums is their users’ stunning lack of knowledge of what actually happens in the real art world.

Check out the 5,000+ threads on 4chan and reddit that ask the same question.

Those forum users post grandiose screeds when they have certifiable delusions no real clue from experience about art education or how and where it happens. They would also meme about everything.

School — never mind art school — looks like it would be useless for those forum people anyway. They couldn’t follow instructions or take critiques even on the forum threads themselves to save their life, much less follow instructions for an art programme.

“I can’t afford to go anywhere anymore. It’s a high spend. It was just a dream. If anyone else is considering it and can afford it, art school is where you want to go. Just look up their degree shows and see what design students from each school made. People like to claim art is subjective. If that’s true, why do some schools consistently produce better art?”Angela, 29, working artist

Wait, are you saying Watts, NMA or such places are worth it — or not? Fedora guy says they aren’t worth it. I say they are.


  • The point about anyone asking if some art school is/isn’t worth the money is they’re really saying, “It ain’t worth going to art school,” period.

They’re not presenting much of a question either. Without context to the question, any answer will be true and objective.

For instance, is law school worth it?

  • It’s more worth it if — you have above-average school grades or possibly a first degree — have family networks in the legal field — have some working experience — can afford the high tuition fees — and still young enough at graduation time to put in a 25-year career timeline as a lawyer and corporate weasel.
  • It’s not worth it when you can’t even demonstrate simple common sense intellect to provide a context for your question. Law school is definitely not worth it when you’re barely able to write in cursive form a grammatically correct sentence.

For anything to be ‘worth it,’ you’ve got to have something in your person or background to provide the connectivity or interface to the field that the art/engineering/whatever school is supposed to help you cross into. It’s what Grandpa once said, “the maximisable molecular structure.” (In other words, the gestalt.)

Very often, that connectivity comes from carrying on some kind of family trade or activity — and the older folks helping to instill in you the knowledge base of that trade or activity.

For my artist friend Giles, he had that necessary gestalt to help make art school worth it. He’s been surrounded by art since birth. He knew how to sketch in rudimentary perspective even before he had learnt the alphabet. He’s been to more art museums more times as a 12 year old than most adults have in a lifetime. His folks are full of artists, or artistic types with conventional, unarty jobs. For him, art is as natural as breathing. From all that, Giles takes the view that art is ‘everyman’; it’s everywhere and nothing to be stuck-up about.

Those things would’ve meant nothing if Giles hadn’t ‘maximise’ them as his personal internal resources. But he did, and so avoided art school from becoming a bottomless sinkhole.

Same difference with the other professional schools. Wanting to be lawyer just because you’re argumentative or you fancy the status or potential earnings are not good enough reasons to spend 6–10 years’ money and effort on legal training and licensing. But law school could probably be worth it if you’ve worked for a few years in legal publishing (like me) or in food production compliance or HR. You get the general idea.

Sink your teeth into it, or sink in it

Any discussion about going to art school has one big issue:—

  • How are you going to get a job without making use of the networking that comes with attending a famous school?

Like most things, art school will give you the result equal to the effort you put into it. If you don’t take it seriously, you probably get jack shit from going to one. Others may differ.

If you’re worried about not getting a good education, then talk to the teachers, look at their work, look at other students’ work, look at the curriculum. There are a million options out there.

  • The famous art/ business/ law/ medical schools, etc, do have an edge. The difference is how you make that edge serve you.

Are you going to post on Art Station and hope to become a viral hit? DeviantArt? Instagram? Twitter? Girls Do Porn? 8chan?

Are you going to suck cock cold-call art directors and ask for a job?

Are you going to join the queues of thousands of waifu nolife artists trying to “get seen” at street corners art conventions?

Art school puts your face right in front of employers. What kind of face you want to be put up is up to you.

Below is a spur-of-the-moment artwork by the author, 2015, in pen and ink on artboard not meant to be used in this way. It sucks as art, but well liked by everybody who’ve seen it. They also wanted a portrait of themselves in the same style and material.

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 01 Oct 2020. (B19035).

All images via c4c unless otherwise indicated.

Xxxx words.

L’article original écrit le 14 février 2019 sur 06:48–07:57.

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