Students should not fear pursuing art

By Thristan Ramos
Pulse staff reporter

Photo of students working on illustrations in painting lab.
Photo of Palo Alto College art students by Thristan Ramos.

When students choose a major, they are encouraged to study something that they can make a living. Nursing, law and engineering are all seen as noble studies, while art is often seen as a huge risk.

The arts encompass many things. A career in the arts can range from illustration to drama to music. One perception that many people have is that if a person studies art, they are lazy. They want to do something quick and get recognition for it. As a student, you just want to be the next “Drake,” someone who wants to shine in the light. The art student won’t make a bridge, like an engineer, or heal people, like a doctor. They just want to get rich quick, or if they don’t the make it, they become a starving artist.

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor, the outlook for a graphic designer in 2014 was 261,600 jobs recorded, a 1 percent increase. For multimedia artists, 69,400 jobs were recorded, a 6 percent increase. Both of these would require a bachelor’s degree.  In other words, professional work does exist for this major.

Kevin Garza, a Digital Arts major, chose art because most of his family studied art, “My whole family was into art, so I felt like I should study it.”

Growing up surrounded in art made Kevin want to pursue this field, working to obtain a career in digital arts.

Cakky Brawley, Palo Alto’s associate professor of Art, wanted a career in art since she was young, and she was in an environment where she could pursue it.

“It’s not for everyone, though. Like anything, you need to have the talent or the willingness to put in the work,” Brawley said.

Brawley pointed out like any field of study, it might not be suited toward one person. If you’re having trouble in your health class, it might be hard to be a nurse.

Hector Garza from Teatro Palo Alto explained that the arts are important because you learn the to ask questions. In math and science, we find solutions and get answers. But within art, we analyze ourselves and our society, asking question we might not have asked otherwise.

“I create places where people can open a dialogue where things are asked,” Garza said.

Even though it may not be the most financially viable route, the arts are an industry that is expanding and going forward with our content-driven world. Creativity is king. But if you’re still skeptical, think about this: Think about a world without art.

Look at your shoes. Do they have a swoosh or a guy jumping toward the basket? Does your phone have an Apple on it? Who is that clown selling a hamburger? Art shapes so many aspects of our day-to-day lives that it just becomes a part of it, like the street we walk on.

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