Why You Should Pursue an Art Major

Pursuing a creative arts degree may seem like a bad idea; the career options for those who earn this degree appear limited, to say the least. It’s not impossible, however. In fact, I know a man who has made a great living off his artwork thanks to his art degree. My father, Brant Bollman, is a professional artist. For this article, I asked him for advice he would give to burgeoning art students.

By Adison Bollman — October 3, 2022


Why You Should Pursue an Art Major

Pursuing a creative arts degree may seem like a bad idea; the career options for those who earn this degree appear limited, to say the least. It's not impossible, however. In fact, I know a man who has made a great living off his artwork thanks to his art degree. My father, Brant Bollman, is a professional artist. For this article, I asked him for advice he would give to burgeoning art students.

Brant's Career

Brant Bollman started his art career at The University of Iowa, earning his BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) and Art Education Certificate. He spent 21 years teaching K-12 art before earning his MFA (Master of Fine Arts), specializing in community art, from Eastern Illinois University. After stepping away from K-12 art, Brant pursued his interests in community arts and puppetry, forming Uplifting Puppet Company. He also became the President of Oskaloosa Community Arts, Vice President of FACE (Fine Arts and Cultural Events) of Mahaska County, and a creative arts instructor and the Director of Theatre at William Penn.

Inquiring for an Art Major

If you’re going to become an art major, you have several options. You can pursue a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Fine Arts. A BFA is a more focused degree. You will spend more of your time in the studio, and toward the end of your college journey, you will present your work in shows. Be wary, however. BFA students must critique each other's work, which may make some people uncomfortable. A BA is less focused, and BA students spend more time studying than in the studio. As Brant puts it, "BFAs are a different beast than BAs."

Take precautions when chasing an Arts degree, whether it be arts or fine arts. If you plan on becoming a studio artist, pursue a business minor to learn how to effectively make money off your art. Receiving an art education certificate is an excellent fallback plan in case your art career cannot make you a living. If you love art but are afraid to make it your career, consider taking an art minor. You can always pursue a more reliable and sustainable career path while investing in your passion for creating.

If you love art but don't believe you’re good enough for a major or minor, consider taking a beginner-level course, such as painting or drawing. You can improve your skills, gauge your interest level in the field, and have fun. Art history classes provide great alternatives if you enjoy art but don't fancy creating it yourself. Art history courses offer insight into past cultures, expose you to great new artists, and don't require critiques from your peers.

Tips for Art Majors

So, you have decided to pursue art. Now what? The structure of Art courses does not follow that of typical studies. You're not just buying books for your course, but also expensive tools. You'll learn how to use various techniques and materials that are unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable. Mr. Bollman provided insight into how these courses work and relayed some tips to succeed and get your BA or BFA.

Your fine arts courses will ramp up in difficulty and scrutiny as you progress through school. These courses involve introductory level painting and drawing, as well as design one and two. After these courses, you'll take intermediate and advanced art courses, which may involve advanced painting or live drawing classes. Map out your course of action to ensure you learn the skills you need for your specific fine arts interest.

Your tools are essential to your success. These tools are costly and quickly run into the hundreds of dollars. Take great care of these tools; invest in an organizational tool such as a tackle box to keep track of them. These tools are also prone to theft, so keep them in a secure location, such as a locker, when not used.

Keep an open mind regarding learning new art forms and how to create new materials. Say, for example, you've never taken a pottery course; don't be afraid to get your hands dirty, and don't be scared to fail. Failure is a crucial step in becoming a great artist.

The Arts Matter!

Open your mind by crafting a creative environment for yourself. One of the best things about being an art major is being in an environment fueled by the passion of young and creative minds. Pursue artistic interests with your peers; attend fashion shows, join a band, host a Halloween party, decorate your dorm room, or join an art club. These creative outlets will help to enrich your college experience and help sharpen your mind come time for studio sessions.

Adison Bollman

Adison Bollman

Adison Bollman was born and raised in smalltown Iowa and graduated from North Mahaska High School in New Sharon, Iowa in 2021. Adison currently attends William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa as a double major in Political Science and History. Adison articles help new students navigate through their college journey with emphasis on personal experiences and advice from professors and staff.
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