Noah Bradley is a professional artist who works in gaming and other mediums – and he’s got a bone to pick with “traditional” art school educations that he wrote up at https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/138c5efd45e9. He points out that a lot of art school careers put you in debt, with less earning potential than many other careers, and you can do it a lot easier. We’ve seen people call out issues with law school, and medical school – Noah is calling it out about art schools.
So you know the drill – when someone rocks the boat in the creative world, I’m going to interview him.
1) Noah, what prompted you to write that article?
Frustration. I was tired of keeping my mouth shut about all of this. I saw so many artists going after their dream and ending up in insurmountable debt because of it. For a long time I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to step on any toes or catch the ire of art schools. But I stopped caring about that because I realized it’s far more important to see that the students themselves are informed.
2) How bad is it these days – I’m aware that many careers are putting people in debt education-wise, but I hadn’t thought of art careers.
It’s awful. It’s truly awful. And wholly unnecessary. While some fields still rely on a good degree as a way of filtering people out, art isn’t one of those. The only thing they care about is the portfolio (and your prior experience, to a degree).
3) Are people listening to you? What kind of feedback have you gotten?
I think they are. The discussion has been wide-reaching and fascinating to watch. Most people agreed with me and a few adamantly disagreed. And I’m ok with that. Because I’m more concerned with people having the discussion than which side of the fence people are on.
4) The art world has changed in the digital age, what other issues are facing today’s artists?
We’re under-valued, over-worked, and we have some of the worst contracts out there. Our leverage is terrible, too. We can’t negotiate a better situation when there are a hundred other artists happy to take our place for less money. There are issues besides art school, without a doubt. But perhaps by addressing that, artists will start with less debt and have less need to take on terrible, low-paying jobs.
5) How can artists support each other’s careers – and how can they do it in financially feasible ways.
By helping, teaching, and networking with one another. No matter where an artist is at in their career, they always have something to teach someone else.
6) What other resources and books – beyond the ones in the article – should artists use?
There are honestly too many to count. I’m always finding new books, new videos, new tutorials that are truly incredible. It amazes me how much is out there. I would recommend that artists start to plug themselves into the online community and keep an eye out for new releases. Share resources when you find them and hopefully others will do the same.
7) What role do you see the fan, convention and other social scenes have in promoting careers?
Building a fanbase can be difficult for a lot of artists to manage, but I’ve found it to be crucial in my own success. We’ve all read and enjoyed the 1000 True Fans article and I personally really took it to heart. It was a brilliant theory and I think spells out much of the future for artists.