Does Your Child Want to Go To Art School? Honest thoughts 20+ years into my career.

Do you or your child want to be an artist?  Does it strike fear into the very heart of you or make you swell with pride?  Having been an artist for nearly 20 years, I share my thoughts with you – warts and all…

Does Your Child Want To Go To Artschool?  Blog post by Samantha Barnes Artist

“Mum….I want to go to Art School & be an Artist”     DUNDUNDER

Sometimes my clients ask me if my children are arty & do I think they will follow my husband and I into a career in the arts? 

I’d be lying if I said the thought didn’t make me shudder.

I could take this blog post into a long and boring personal rant about financial cuts in the arts, particularly in schools - but you know all that.   Equally, I could bang on about the level of debt that our kids will inherit if they choose to onto Art School or University – but you know all that too.  So, this post is going to get personal and offer you some tips that I wish I had known when I was in my early years of my art career, when it wasn’t too late to get out and change course.

I’ve enjoyed highs, real highs which included opening my own gallery in London in the early 00’s, solo shows in Harrods, clients flying in to the country purely to buy a piece of my work – and lows, the awful lows that come with situational downturns in the economy, believe me, purchasing art is the first thing to go when people feel insecure… about anything.

My career, like many others, has been potholed with long periods off.    Time off to have my babies, time off to move house, time off for this and that – when you work for yourself, you feel like you can fit it all in, you have to fit it all in.  No monthly pay cheque, no sickness pay, no holiday fund, no pension.

Scared yet?  That’s the reality.  There could, of course, be factors to this – perhaps I am just a crap artist?!!  Perhaps I should have gotten the message 20 years ago?  The thing is, I have grit, a passion for what I do and if I were plonked on this earth from another planet, I would land at my drawing board.  I am living my dream of making art and drawing every day and am deeply thankful for it.

I recognize that I am disciplined, I go to my studio almost daily and when I don’t I feel disconnected, when it gets to a week of not being in there, I get shakey.

Living a creatively fulfilled life is my path, sometimes I wish it wasn’t so.  I’m a funnel for something more than me, some sort of sparkle-dust that travels right through me and onto my drawing board. 

If I had a fiver for every time I have told myself that it’s over, that’s it – no more – I’m off to find a job, a pension, another way, I would have tons of them by now.

But if I did give up, what would happen to the sparkle-dust?  Without an outlet, I honestly think it would dry up and do me no good at all.