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Bachelor of Arts Not Required

The truth is that when pursuing a career in the visual arts, you don’t have to have a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree to be successful. Despite what the poisonous toad may have told you to break your confidence and self-esteem, there are several paths you can take that don’t involve going back to school and investing thousands of dollars into your education.

Many self-taught visual artists like myself gain entry into the market by showcasing their artwork at local art shows or galleries, networking with potential buyers and curators at such events, as well as through social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. In addition, these artists may have developed their skills through independent study, workshops, or apprenticeships and gained recognition through exhibitions, awards, or commissions. Some notable examples of self-taught artists include Vincent van Gogh, Henri Rousseau, and Edward Hopper, who achieved great success and acclaim during their lifetimes.

While formal education can provide some advantages for artists, such as exposure to different techniques and styles, more is needed, and become art teachers themselves. What I’ve come to learn over the years is that the quality of the artwork, the artist’s portfolio, and their ability to market themselves and their work effectively are often more important factors in determining success in the visual arts industry. In fact, some artists may even choose to forego a formal education to develop a unique and individual style that sets them apart from others.

So, are art galleries and curators more prone to choosing artists with degrees over self-taught artists? The answer is not necessarily. While some galleries and curators may prioritize artists with degrees, many also value the quality and originality of the artwork itself, regardless of the artist’s educational background. Moreover, the art world is becoming increasingly diverse and inclusive, with many galleries and curators actively seeking out and promoting artists from underrepresented backgrounds and communities.

In conclusion, while a formal degree can certainly provide a foundation for artistic development, it is not a requirement for a successful and profitable career in the visual arts industry. Self-taught artists can and do achieve great success and recognition, and art galleries and curators are not necessarily biased toward artists with degrees. Ultimately, what matters most in the visual arts industry is the quality of the artwork, the artist’s portfolio, and their ability to market themselves effectively. With hard work, dedication, and a passion for their craft, any artist can succeed in the field, regardless of their educational background.

So ignore those poisonous little trolls telling you otherwise—you absolutely can do this!

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