Considering dropping my Art major

When I first entered the university, I came in as a film major. I took some art classes because they were interesting and fulfilled some general education requirements. I had petitioned to be a double major in art towards the end of my sophomore and successfully got in. I enjoy art and the classes, I thought, and if I was going to be taking those classes out of interest on my own anyways, I might as well major in it also. However, as I'm approaching the 3/4 mark of my college career, I'm thinking of dropping the art major.

Something to note:
Film classes and art classes tend to take up more hours than normal classes. For example, Film 101B alone meets a total of about 13 hours a week. Film 121 meets for 3-hour long twice a week. One art class can take up to 6 hours a week, not including the time spent on working on projects alone.

So I guess that leaves me to list some reasons why I plan on dropping the art major:
1. I have never, and probably will never, agree to being graded on art. Art is so subjective that no set of criteria could ever truly take into consideration the mentality behind the work produced. I believe that most of the time, it boils down to the grader's personal bias (because there is ALWAYS a bias, no matter how objective the grader tries to remain) and preference.
     1a. I guess as a subset of the grading aspect comes the critique days. I have never liked critique days. As my own personal preference, I have never liked to talk about my own work, in terms of explaining why I did something. I like to just let it stand for itself. I heard once somewhere that "if you have to explain your work, it isn't very good to begin with." It's an interesting statement that, of course, can't apply to everything, but it has been thought provoking to me. During critique days, I usually just heard "This reminds me of..."

Am I making the art for myself or for the one who will grade it? I've once been called narcissistic for voicing that I chose elements of the painting that were important to me. (the painting is posted at the bottom)

2. I feel that I lack the necessary passion for art that justifies me taking the major and sacrificing time away from my film major. I look around and see the art students around me with their 2B drawing pencils and ink pens dotting away in their black sketchbooks. When our art classes require us to have sketchbooks, I cringe, because I know they'll require it to be a journal of thoughts, notes, and ideas. I already have my own daily journal and my own system of remembering inspiration and ideas. I knew something was wrong when sketchbooks were due the next day and I was furiously drawing, writing and doodling page after page of meaningless junk while most of the other students just had to hand in their own sketchbook. I love and appreciate art, I just don't live it as much as an art major should.

3. I don't believe in staying past 4 years of university. I don't look down on those who do to finish up classes, but it's just not for me. To finish the film and art double major at this point, I would either have to take classes during summer school AND stuff myself to a tedious limit during the rest of the quarters. If I did this, I would sacrifice possible summer internship time and film project opportunities.

4. Paying money for art materials I'm only going to use one time for one class. The painting supplies I have no problem - I can paint on my own, but other things such as compressed charcoal, linoleum carving tools, and seventy different kinds of paper and erasers I can't see myself using more than once for the class assignment. I am just not that invested into it.

 I feel myself investing more time, energy, and emotional attachments to my film classes and projects than to my art classes and projects. In just writing this, it's pretty clear that the art major doesn't deserve my partial commitment and that my film major deserves my full commitment. So, I will be dropping the art class I am currently enrolled in, and, sometime later, I will be dropping out of the major. 

final project, 2010

Mark Twain - "Don't let schooling interfere with your education."


  1. Defitely good reasons. But I hope you're still going to be making art cuz I find your projects much more interesting than 90% of what's out there - and if nothing else being in class forces one to keep making stuff.

  2. Making changes to your education plan is always a tough choice, especially after all the time, effort and money put into it. But you're still early into it, so it's a justifiable decision since you seem pretty happy with the choice.

    Best of luck! And that final project....really beautiful. I especially like the red dots traveling through the image.

  3. ah, I totally understand. :( it's kind of classes are great but students just can't invest all that time and money into these classes. btw I love your final project :)

  4. your "final project" is so pretty - i really like the mixture of the colors and shapes and details. have you seen the documentary "exit thru the gift shop"? how mr. brainwash became an instant and high-earning "artist" was very 'interesting. i don't think he had any formal education in art, but he sure has passion, ha! in any case, i think we often rationalize about the "best" route we should take, in the end though, I think we feel the best when we follow our heart. The good thing is that most things in life aren't set in stone. If you decide later on that you want to go back to art classes, you can always do that. Of course, logistically speaking, may not be the best financial decision in terms of $ on tuition, etc., but in the big picture and in the long run, I don't think it would matter. =) I think of you as an amazing artist, whether you get that official degree or not. xoxo