Students at the School of Visual Arts, an art school in New York. Photo Sarah Trigg.
Education isn’t cheap. The increasing professionalization of the art world means getting a degree is an increasingly desirable path for many young artists, but the levels of debt that come with the pursuit of knowledge makes this option only viable for some. The question is: Can you become a successful artist without a degree from Yale or the Royal College of Art?
There are very good examples of successful contemporary artists who have side-stepped the academic route. Carsten Höller and Yoko Ono did not attend art school, Jeremy Deller studied art history rather than fine art, and Tosh Basco—aka boychild—started out in the underground club scene before working with their partner Wu Tsang and friend Korakrit Arunaanondchai.