In the olden days, when making a living in art photography was shocking, which is to say, unlikely; this was the period just after WWII and through Vietnam. There were few galleries, minimal collectors, and hard scrable poor museum mandates for photography. The main museum collecting photographs had been the George Eastman House, which emphasized old images, and the technology of photography. It was a tax write-off, not the best of vehicles for substantive risk, or innovation. The main byproduct was Nathan Lyons, who quit and proceeded to do much more interesting things via Visual Studies Workshop. His journey wasn’t far, less than 2 miles, but it was an alternative perspective, one which spread during a fertile growth period of photography as art, art as photography.
Photography entered the curriculum of fine art programs becoming a profession, one that carried a differing mandate from professional education schools. Fine Art schools were meant to provide an environment for development of an independent artist, one who would develop their own practice without regard to market needs, or edges.
But that changed, lasting no more than a decade. Education, all education, became job oriented after the 80’s. Since the 90’s all discussion within education has taken on the tone, and vocabulary of business development, sounding like low-grade MBA coursework. Students became clients, and customers. So it goes.
The course in fine art didn’t include business advice. Now, many books for artists feature a ‘money’ section of some sort. Art became media, and media become the alternate spelling of money, just as fashion is commerce all made up to seem something else.
Change the world, or your place in it.
End the rat race, or try for the lead.
School now includes how to write advertising and a sales pitch .. That’s your artist statement.
And your teachers main income is from teaching. How much time do they give you toward getting their job?
Why It Has To Be
It has become this way since your parents, even you, expect it to be. Would you take a class, assume all that debt, if you knew you would never make any money? The school bets that you wouldn’t. Further, all schools operate as a business, even the dedicated, free standing art school. Become and alumnus and you’ll find out why I say that.
My real suggestion is don’t go to school for art. Absorb art via other means. If you have a need to create, you will. School is for teachers, not artists.
Make art; sell hot dogs