I've been battling with a tough decision over the last couple months, and I'd like some opinions, especially if anyone has had to make a similar choice.
When I was younger, I loved drawing. For many years this was all I did pretty much. When I was about 19, and started school, I stopped drawing altogether and concentrated on my studies. I was never an amazing artist, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm now 26, and I've recently (in the last 6 months) got the itch again to created some art, and have been drawing and painting occassionally to see if I can get back into it.
Currently I work in IT as a consultant. I earn a good living, enjoy my job, and have a good career path. My education is in computers, but before that I spent a year at an arts college doing general studies (drawing, painting, intros, art history, etc.), but was persuaded by friends and family to get a more "reliable" education. Once I got out of school, I went straight into the IT sector and haven't looked back since. I don't regret anything that I have done to get where I am today, and am quite proud of everything that I've accomplished, but I'm at a fork in the road right now.
It's been difficult because of my career to dedicate the amount of time I would like to my art. I have a lot of studies to keep up with in terms of certification for my career, and it consumes quite a bit of my free time. I have a test coming up in April that I have pretty much dedicated my evenings to, and I get frustrated that I can't just sit down and draw.
I'm recently married, and will be trying for kids in the near future. With having to support a family now on my shoulders, I have to make a decision. I'm torn between sticking with a well paying and stable career in IT that I truly do enjoy, or embarking out and seeing if I can get my art to a professional level in hopes that I can one day make a living off it.
Has anyone had any similar experiences? I'm not really looking for a direct answer, I'm more just wanting to reassure myself that other's have gone through the same things, and that I can eventually make a decision and move forward.
Thanks for reading!
I think people do often take those kinds of risks to get into the art field, but it's probably not the most responsible thing to do with a family to support. It's super competitive, and from the way you describe yourself I think you may be better off building your skills on your free time for a few more years. If you posted some of your art I bet people could give you better advice.
I went for art education, and wound up living in Europe with my wife and child. Right now I'm teaching English for the equivalent of about $1000 a month and I'm miserable. I mean completely. What I want to teach is art fundamentals, not grammar, and the students I have are very difficult - some classes feel more like therapy sessions in juvie hall... And on top of this I'm building a house that requires a steady income for our mortgage, so my only way out is to apply to a couple art schools nearby - it's tough when I'm not a native speaker. I have very little time to paint. I've just started an online shop on Etsy, we'll see if it ever pans out.
My advice is, stay at your job as long as you like it, and paint when you can. Try an etsy account (or some other site) if you think you could sell something - it's a cheap way to try and transition yourself to a new career. You think you don't have time now... Wait till you have a child. I'm typing one handed now as I hold my sleeping son... And we're worried he may be autistic, so there's a whole other can of worms...
Last edited by TASmith; February 19th, 2010 at 01:28 PM.
Honestly, you are too late for a career in art. You made the decision when you let other people convince you to go into IT. You piled on more when you married someone who sounds like doesn't support you as an artist if it means quitting your job. If you add children you will be in your fifties before you can give it a shot. I know, my classes are filled with people who made the same decisions you did but they are midforties or older trying to get back to what they wanted to do but didn't.
You can quit your job and tell your spouse you are going to be an artist but you better start right now because it is hard work without those things hanging over you and near impossible with them.
Sounds a bit like me. I got sucked into accountancy, and with 3 kids, a mortgage I can't just drop everything for art as much as I'd like to. Somewhere you're going to have to find the time to dedicate to art. Support at home will come if you can show improvement and a possible additional income. Just because people here might egg you on into an art career, you have to get your priorities right. So it might take longer, so what.
Thanks everyone for the input, it's very refreshing to see people have also dealt with very similar issues! I have posted a painting that I have worked on for the past week or so. Put about 2 1/2 to 3 hours into it so far, and struggling a bit.
Sounds like my life story. At 25 I worked Internet Support. I decided I wanted do what I loved. Taught myself how to draw and paint. I'm 32 now and working for an Activision/Blizzard studio as a concept artist. You can do anything if you work hard at it.
I wasn't trying to pick on your spouse, obviously I don't know her; but you said the responsibilty was on your shoulders. I have friends whose wives worked whle they went to art school or struggled building clients and to me that is supportive.
About seven months later, I started sending out applications to almost every studio in Canada. I got only one reply for a job interview with Beenox Studios in Québec. And that's where I'm at now.
Everyone's path is different and I don't expect anyone to follow anything I did. But I feel that as a culture, we are always held back by the question: "How?". "How will I get there?" "How will I be able to afford this?" "How can I do that?". Sometimes you just have to do it and the "how" will take care of itself. I truly believe that.
Honestly, if you're thinking about bringing kids into the equation soon, now is definitely not the time to quit a job with stable income and try to charge into the world of art. I'm a firm believer that when you bring kids into the world, your life is no longer about you, it's about providing for them (which is why I don't have any and never will). Art is not necessarily a stable career, especially not freelance, and especially when you're just starting out. The stress on an artist just starting out, trying to find work enough to support themselves is huge; now throw into that mix having to provide for children.
Probably your best bet would be to try and squeeze some time for art into your current schedule as much as possible, and like other people here have said, set up a page here (CA is great for creative input), set up an Etsy shop, get the exposure you can while you've got steady income, but it's never a good idea to just throw caution to the wind and spontaneously quit a good job. That works for some people, but it's a huge gamble.
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Become an illustrator? That's what I have been thinking since about a year ago.
if you have a job that you enjoy, stick to it.
I enjoy my job, income is great but a job is a job after all, no matter how fun.
Most fun i have when i paint for myself in my free time and not for money, unless it is some super crazy project.
After 10 years even shitting diamonds will get boring sometimes.
Hey JerryB, I know this might sound hollow, but everything is possible if you want it hard enough. Ask yourself how BADLY you want it? I mean, serious, even it means you have to quit your job (which you do love?), be super busy with your children and the responsibility weighing upon your shoulders, YOU CAN DO IT IF YOU WANT IT BAD ENOUGH. Ask yourself this question every night before going to bed, ask yourself this question over and over and over again until you are so sure of it.
Wish you all the best.
And I like you painting. You are more talented than me.
You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?
My Sketchbook: http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=164393
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My flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/justinkhuong