I just graduated from high school and I'm wondering about college and such. Is it worth attending an expensive university or should I just go to a smaller school? I'm very serious about my art and I'm very dedicated... I want to be an illustrator. I want to do everything from magazine covers and book covers to concept art for games or movies. Is it possible to be in debt and be an illustrator?
|college works, 1988-90|
Every artist has to seek their individual path to success, no two are the same. It has taken many long years of practice, patience, and devotion to craft to attain the level of quality now exhibited within my work. I am sure this advice sounds similar to others before, but it is the truth, practice, and plenty of it, makes for perfection. Pursuing the arts is an admirable and challenging goal, but you have to be willing to make great sacrifices along the way to achieve those ends.
|Creative Impulse, 198|
The paths I took to become a successful artist are unique and cannot be duplicated - like losing detailed sight permanently out off one eye two weeks before I was to move to New York City to begin my career as a visual artist, or moving to New York City and finding work at the Society of Illustrators as a coat-check boy (ok., maybe not impossibly unique on that last one!). All of these events, and much more, contributed to the drive and insights I developed to become a successful creative individual. Each of these experiences challenged my assumptions about who I was and what direction I was determined to take as an artist.
I can tell you I am very happy with my career and would not trade it for another. I make a comfortable living in New York City, being able to support my family and travel and vacation when I wish to do so. But on the other side, if I had know how few artists actually make a living at this, I might of had second thoughts about pursuing this career. The burdens of financial debt weigh heavier on this new generation than they did on mine. I teach at schools in New York, hold annual seminars and lecture at a dozen others across the country. Throughout all these presentations I stress how the love of your craft must be the one driving force compelling the artist to create their work, for if they are pursuing this purely for financial gain, it will end in abject failure. The visual arts is a highly competitive field with only the most driven and studious surviving to make a career of it.
|Joan of Arc, 2011|
Learning a specific technical skill to become an illustrator now is like learning to use a whip and spurs to get around town; the needs of the industry will be different by the time you graduate and in the decades after, change is constant in the freelance marketplace. What you want are classes and teachers that open your mind to another way of seeing and interpreting the world, these skills can be used across media and fields, not limited to illustration. Major Universities have programs and offer classes far outside the traditional arts fields and supply your mind with a well rounded and stimulated education. The art I create stands out because I attempt to bring a different voice to the genre, a new view on the characters or places involved in the stories, a sample from my life experiences, something not typically found in science fiction nor fantasy.
I love what I do and I wish all of you luck in the pursuit of your dreams. Finally, my studio door is always open to those who wish to visit and learn if you make it to New York (just call first!).
|Studio in Brooklyn, 2012|