Should I attend an art program when I am not confident in my abilities?
March 25, 2013 10:25 PM Subscribe
Artists: do you enjoy the process of making whatever art you make? Should I pursue an opportunity in an artistic field when I dislike the process of making the art and am not confident in my results?
posted by amodelcitizen to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I was accepted into a great, multi-year, art program with all expenses paid. The problem is, I’m not sure if I should go.
I applied to the program for a few reasons. I am in my early 30’s, and I have had a series of unsatisfying jobs. I want to settle on one thing and have a career. I’d like it to be in the arts. I filled out the application for this program in part to start pursuing that goal, and in part out of sheer boredom. I am working in a job where I am alone a lot and do little work, so I had lots of free time to fill up. The pieces I submitted with the application were things I concocted expressly for applying. I worked intensely on them for months and they were the last things I did. I wouldn’t say I have a catalog of work. I have hundreds of fragments of abandoned work that I've amassed over the years.
The problem is, I don’t particularly enjoy the process. I am not a “natural,” you could say. I pour for weeks, months over a piece, beat myself up, go through horrid mood swings, and when the piece is finished, I usually hate it so much I can’t stand to look at it again. The quality of my work is okay. It’s better than what average people could do, I suppose, but I would not classify it as even “very good.” I think one reason I got into this particular program is because I had an influential alum, a personal friend, aggressively recommending me.
I have a few reasons that I keep working in the field. I hope to one day start enjoying it. I want to be in league with people who do it. I love the output of others. Consuming it is my chief hobby, and has been since childhood. I spend at least 2-3 hours a day seeking out the work of others. I am obsessive about it. I have an enormous amount of respect, love, attachment, and awe for the field. I know a lot about it an can talk extensively on the subject. It’s not an exaggeration to say I only feel truly happy when I am engaged in looking at the work of others.
When people close to me say, “Well, this is what you love, isn’t it?” I think, “Yeah, but only when other people do it.”
My other plan was to apply to graduate school in another artistic field that I am very confident in, know I am really talented at, but am not as obsessed with as this other field. If I knew I could get in to a school to study this other thing, I would definitely give up my slot in the art program because I am much more confident in the other area. The other field is very competitive, though, so there is no guarantee I would get in. If I turn down this offer, then don’t get in to school for the other thing, I’d be at a loss.
I feel like I am at a point where I want to get down to something and stop wasting time.
Do you actually enjoy the process of making whatever art you do?
If you do, have you always? Did it come to you later?
Should I gamble on turning down this offer to go for something I am more confident in that I may not get?