Asked by Anonymous
Sorry for the length! I tried to answer this as best I could:
I don’t think there’s advice that is universally applicable. I don’t know your situation or your child, and everyone is different—some people succeed in art, and some people don’t. It is a tough field (partly because it is also an intensely personal field) and it’s rare to be a super wealthy artist, but I do make my living doing it, as do others. I don’t regret it. Some artistic jobs are more stable/financially rewarding than others, too. You have to be motivated, you have to be skilled, and you usually need a little luck (or at least be willing to work hard to make opportunities). Some measure of frugality is usually necessary. Even then some very talented people quit and go into something else. For some people, the financial repercussions of going to art school might totally rule it out as a possibility, too.
I talked to my parents today and asked them why they let me pursue art as a career. In high school I took all honors/AP classes, I was a consistently good student, enjoyed school, and my parents had saved long and hard so they could afford to send me nearly anywhere. I was also really into art, and had been since I was a kid.
They said that because I was so passionate and invested in art, they figured studying it in college is probably better than leaving school without any clear direction. You have a goal you will be motivated to work towards, so you’ll be more likely to do a good job at it! They thought I was talented but they took me to college portfolio reviews so they could get unbiased opinions from professionals. They also wanted to talk to more experienced people about the kinds of jobs that are available. My mom only really felt confident after portfolio reviewers thought I had good work, and i had been offered some scholarships at different schools i had applied to. She figured that was a good sign. If people had been more hesitant about my work, they may have tried to steer me in another direction.
If I had a kid, they’d probably grow up immersed in the industry already, with all its ups and downs. I think the best thing I could do would be to expose them to other activities they could excel at too. You only really enjoy what you’re doing when you feel like you have some sort of mastery or understanding of it. The more things you feel like you CAN do, the more choices you have for what you WANT to do. If art was still my kid’s passion and I thought they had potential, it’d be pretty hypocritical of me to stop them from pursuing it. At that point I’d just try to give them the best start possible.
That’s just me, though.