I’m an Artist, But Not the Starving Kind

thanks to PSN for bringing this story to my attention.

Source: Newsweek via MSNBC
Written By J. D. Jordan-Newsweek

Sept. 19, 2005 issue – “I could get an art student to do it for $35 and a six-pack.” I remember the first time a prospective client said that to try to intimidate me into accepting dramatically reduced fees for Website design services. I was newly self-employed and hungry for work, so I conceded. I delivered a great Web site, but I hated my client for making me work for so little—and myself for not knowing how to get what I deserved.

It was 2002, and I had just opened my own graphic-design studio in my basement, where I was working with two old friends. Back then, I thought I had to compete with local students—to accept it as just another part of doing business. Now I find myself at one of Atlanta’s premier art colleges, standing at a podium and teaching those very same students.

In my small, windowless classroom, in front of a baker’s dozen of powerful G5 computers that line the walls, sit tomorrow’s crop of great graphic designers, illustrators, filmmakers and animators. But despite their skills, their burgeoning individual styles and their unlimited creativity, they are crippled by the narrow focus of their education.

It took me a couple of years out of college to realize that my own B.A. in history was an asset. I landed my first salaried job during the heady days of unstoppable Internet growth, when the fact that I hadn’t gone to art school was no impediment to getting hired as a senior Web specialist at a studio. Then the World Trade Center was attacked, and suddenly, I was answering questions about Islam, oil policy and our government’s struggle against a new enemy for my colleagues—degreed artists all—who didn’t understand the basic issues of the day.

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