However, I know that in this economic climate that would be a terrible choice. I already have a big, fat student loan staring me in the face each month, and adding to that debt in order to further my artistic career would probably be the worst mistake of my life. If I'm already having trouble paying back the loans I have, doubling or even tripling that amount won't make it better. It may delay my payments for a while, but in all honesty, the degree I'd walk away with wouldn't throw me directly into a job that would help me pay off my debt. In fact, it'd probably just throw me right back to where I am right now; working full time while I try to figure out how to make my passion into my business.
I read a really fantastic article by Matt Cheuvront at Life Without Pants called "I'll Never Go Back to School," in which he discusses his own success as a self-taught marketing professional. Cheuvront also speaks to the value of experience over masters' degrees in most fields. He explains,
The beauty of the world that we live in today is that everything…EVERYTHING you want, all of the information you need, is out there for the taking. If you want to start a cupcake delivery company, do it! If you want to risk it all and move to another country, you can! Location independence is real, becoming an entrepreneur by age 25 is a legitimate possibility. Why? Not because of school, not because of a degree, but because people are willing to take flying leaps out of their comfort zones, ask a “shit-ton” of questions, and stay up until 2am reading marketing literature, all while saving money, surviving on Ramen noodles, and wearing that sweater their mom gave them in 9th grade.
I really needed this reminder. This is why I started blogging in the first place--to teach myself, and to share that experience. Maybe if I stopped drooling over these programs and lamenting my lack of time or money, I could start being successful in this field. It's time to start reading up on successful etsy shops, on making prints, on selling pieces to galleries, offices, hospitals, etc. Nobody teaches you about the business of art--probably not even the professors in these expensive studio programs. It's something that they taught themselves, and something that I need to start teaching myself.