Hello, friends and fellow creators Erik here. Today,. I’m sharing with you how I became an artist and why art is such an important part of who I am. When I was a kid I was diagnosed with the condition called ocular albinism and I was legally blind until I was 11 almost 12 years old I saw the world in colors and forms rather than sharp edges and details. They told me I’d never be able to see past the big E on the eye chart and that I most certainly would never drive. By the time I turned five I had already had two corrective eye surgeries and had spent about a fifth of my life wearing an eyepatch. But, even during this time I was always drawing painting playing with sidewalk chalk making jewelry – anything that involved creating something. The gratification. I got from giving someone something that was one-of-a-kind – that was what kept me coming back to art. When I was seven years old and yes this makes me want to sing that song that I really don’t like “once I was seven years old” I published my first Illustrated children’s book called “The Deep Blue Sea” and shortly after an award-winning book called “Wouldn’t it Be Great if I Was A Toucan”. Yes, I know Amazing titles right? My parents, teachers, and everyone around me seemed to already be making plans for my quote unquote “big art career”. I remember eavesdropping on my parents chatting with my aunt about art schools, and I remember asking, “What do you mean? There’s a school for art?!?” I knew art was something I loved from a really young age and I knew I wanted it to be a key part of my life. Whatever that meant. My parents fostered my creativity enrolling me in summer programs where I painted with oils for the first time like Bob Ross. I loved art class and would always go above and beyond on my school projects like in other subjects – science and English – I’d always try to incorporate art into my projects in whatever way that I could. Somehow, my vision started getting better as I got older which was not at all what my doctors had predicted. My optometrist actually considered my improved vision a medical miracle! So I still had coke bottle lenses giant glasses But I started to write and learn art that required more detail work like pencil drawing and stippling. At 13, I stumbled upon the site deviantART if you guys aren’t on there It’s an amazing resource for artists full of stock photography and drawing resources, and they feature artists every day. I just love that site so finding it when I was really young I don’t even really remember how I found it… but I started following photographers, and I gained a real interest in nature and architectural photography. My dad got me my first DSLR camera when I was 14 which was a Canon Digital Rebel xTi. I still have that camera and I used it up until around a year or so ago when I upgraded to the Canon t5. Being on deviantART, (or dA) exposed me to so many different mediums. I started delving in digital art and since I was starting high school I ended up dual enrolling in an art program called the Creative Arts Institute. In this program I went to art school for three periods of my day, and then I’d go to normal high school for the rest of the day. There, I learned every program in the Adobe suite like Photoshop Illustrator flash Premiere Pro… I got college credit for doing it and I got Adobe certified which was really cool being young and having the privilege to know those programs. Just really kind of helped my art stand out. At this point people were starting to tell me though that art wasn’t a viable career choice and that I would have to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, so I decided I wanted to be an architect because it incorporated something I loved and still seemed like a realistic…I guess, a viable career option, right? So I’d always been fascinated with architecture and would read up on art history or watch documentaries about the wonders of the world and think “Wow someone designed that building like an actual standing object that will stand the test of time someone had an idea in their head for what they wanted that to look like and just brought it into the world” and of course my thoughts were probably not this deep because I was only 14 but once I decided to be an architect that was that… Until math class came around and I wasn’t that great at math. It’s not surprising that geometry was the only kind of math that I caught on to and actually enjoyed and someone got the idea in my head that in order to be a great architect. I needed to also be great at math I later found out that’s not really the case (there are engineers for that) So instead I set my sights on being a photographer and Started doing freelance gigs and working as an events photographer at a local theater when I was 16. Around that time a representative from the Savannah College of Art and Design came out to my art school and was kind of scouting for a young artists and even though I had kind of set my sights on going to university for something else even though I didn’t know what that something else would be yet I then set my sights on attending SCAD even though they have a really competitive and prestigious program. Nearly every artist asks themselves that big question – should I go to art school? For some the answer is obvious but for me with everyone telling me that most art careers fail my decision was fueled with a lot of self-doubt and a little bit of faith. I didn’t want to be that starving artist that everyone seemed to be making me out to be or who I would be… so… So I ended up attending my local college for family reasons even though I really had my heart set on the Savannah College of Art and Design. I completed my foundation studies there before attending SCAD finally in 2011. I’m super grateful for the time that I had at art school. The skills I learned there were invaluable and learning the same skills online just isn’t the same as going in with all your peers with the same fears and not only putting your art on a pedestal for everyone to see but also having to explain your process and the meaning behind that work What it means to you and everything behind that. What I’ve learned along the way is that there’s no wrong way to be an artist and everyone’s journey is different – of course. You just have to believe in yourself and your work and feel empowered to do what’s right for you. What do you all think? Do you think artists should go to art school? Do you think that people that don’t go to art school aren’t “real artists”? What was your experience if you did go? Do you regret going or being in debt from art school loans? Or did you enjoy your time there as much as I did? I’d love to hear about it! If you like this video, please leave me a like and hit that subscribe button! My art is always evolving and I’m always looking to connect and collaborate with other artists. Find me everywhere at Erik Quinn Art. Until next time – stop comparing, start creating, and have an awesome day!