Brush Up: The Starving Artist


With the final administration of the old SAT today, I thought, what better to talk about than college. When considering what to major in in college, the majority of students would probably rank Fine Arts as one of their last considerations. 

Even as an artist, I think that this opinion is completely valid. I’m not going to sugarcoat it; making it in the art world is not an easy task. 

For that reason, however, I actually have even more respect for those who pursue art despite the slim chances. According to U.S. News and World Report, roughly 6 percent of college graduates major in the Visual or Performing Arts. But of these graduates, less than 0.5 percent will be able to find a job in these fields. 

Despite these discouraging statistics, there are artists who still have hope that they will have a bright future. In a survey conducted by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, the association found that 44 percent of Fine Arts majors and 59 percent of Design majors are currently working as professional artists. 

Even though only one-third of the professionals surveyed said that they felt secure in their work, 47 percent stated that they were very satisfied with the creativity and opportunities offered by their job.

The urban myth of “the starving artist” is founded on a basic principle: being an artist means being unemployed, uneducated and thus, unhappy. But, I’m here to tell you that this is not the case.

While I will admit that pursuing a career in the arts may be risky, I do not believe that this should discourage anyone from doing so.

When photography was commercially introduced in the 19th century, supporters were convinced that painting would become obsolete. They contended that no painting could ever capture the accuracy that a photo could.

Although this may technically be true, clearly painting is still around to this day and thriving at that. This shows that even the most upheld, supported beliefs can be flawed, even disproven.

When making your list of plans for the future or having that initial meeting with your college counselor, don’t cross out “art school” quite yet if it’s really something you want to do.

While an artist may be “starving,” at least he or she is happy and living each day to the fullest. And at the end of the day, that’s what really counts.