Students ask me all the time, “Why should I be an Art major?”. They need some convincing and they are searching for it from me. I’ve also seen a lot of students that are incredible artists decide to go major in business. The reason is because they have bought into a lie. The issue is that students have been told not to major in art by people that truly care about them. Their parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles all tell them the same thing. That if they major in art, then they will be poor. This is a huge misconception and it needs to change.
True, in years past, if you majored in art and became an artist, you may have struggled financially. Being an artist used to be defined as creating art in a studio and selling your art through a gallery that took a fraction of your net gain. You needed to find a gallery to represent you, sell your work, and sell enough of it for you to make a living. Many artists today still operate this way. It’s not an easy life. A few become famous and become rich. But few indeed. Today’s culture, however, is different and the opportunities that exist for artists are endless. The question should be “Why not major in Art?”.
With today’s technologies artists have endless venues to share and sell artwork. The days of galleries dominating the marketplace are gone. Some artists make their entire living selling their artwork through the Internet. And because of the new technologies that are emerging more and more people are becoming patrons of art. But this is not the focus of this post. Instead, the focus of this post is on the evolving nature of what defines an artist. Technologies have created a new landscape for artists and the future economy belongs to the artist, not to the banker. Look around your world. Look at the creative products and services that we depend on and engage with. Mobile technologies and app creation, video games, 3D television, interactive books, and the list goes on. These products are created by artists. The new wave of artists and their art has arrived and is our future. I believe that we are truly entering a new renaissance where technology is the driving force of new art creation. You see, the opportunities for artists of tomorrow are endless. And new opportunities are appearing everyday. Art is the economy of the future. Think of the opportunities that exist today for graphic designers, industrial designers, animators, interactive designers, web designers, film makers, and illustrators. The renaissance that we are experiencing now may not be defined by oil paintings and marble sculptures. But I grant you that future generations will look back and see how artists of our era defined the future. Why major in Art? Simply because that’s where the opportunities exist.