Higher Education and Golf

I received a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art but have had to learn how to live my life as an artist on my own.  In art school we are taught the technical skills of making art but aren’t taught how to make it in the world professionally as an artist.  I recently had the privilege of getting schooled to the business of art while on a golf course in the green hills overlooking Honolulu, it was great for so many reasons.   This experience has solidified for me that art, like many professions have a learning curve that can really only take place through on the job training.  The answers don’t show themselves until you have worked enough to know what questions to ask.


I loved the art program at Colorado State, it was an amazing experience.  I had incredible teachers who taught me how to use the materials, how to put together a portfolio and how to expand my artistic consciousness.   But making a living as an artist is difficult, and no one can teach you how to make that work.  Each artist is unique, each artist’s work is unique and in turn the successful career path for each artist is unique.  I think the reason so many art majors end up doing other things in life is because no one can tell you how to make it as an artist, you just have to figure it out for yourself.


You can however, pick up helpful tips along the way.   My time on the golf course with Walfrido “Wally” Garcia was extremely enlightening.  Wally is a professional through and through, his work is worldwide with Gallery representation in Hawaii, California, Florida and New Orleans.  He’s the man.  I explained where I am with my art and with my career, and he gave me great advice.   Some things were simple that I wasn’t seeing from my perspective and other things were deeply profound.  It was an amazing time absorbing all the wisdom he passed to me.


In some professions the course is laid out, but in so many it’s not.  Tons of careers are based on an ‘On the job training,’ situation.  What works for one won’t necessarily work for another.  Things are constantly changing shape, approach and style.  The solution that will work is hiding behind all the failures one must learn from and move past.  I feel that most people can connect on this level of trial and error until error gives way to success.


Life as an artist is much like many careers in that schooling taught the nuts and bolts but not how to operate the machine as a whole.  In school I learned to draw, paint, present, critique and think as an artist but they didn’t teach the keys to making a successful living as an artist.  I did get some great professional schooling while hitting golf balls in Hawai’i though.  I feel that my story could be substituted with many different professions out there pretty much verbatim.   It breaks down to the fact that no one can tell you exactly how to make your professional life work, nor should they.  We are all unique beings living unique lives.  No one has ever been or ever will be exactly like us.  In this life we are all just figuring out how live and work as ourselves.