…well, if the art schools we attend aren’t spending time telling us how shitty our work is, we wouldn’t be spending our hard earned money taking their classes in hopes of lessening our shitty-ness, and so the teachers would lose their jobs, the schools would shut down… and then something miraculous would happen… we’d have to find our own way, and suddenly, our greatest work will emerge from within us.

“We can achieve so much when self-help is all the help we can get.”

Consider this question:

If there were no schools to aid you in the pursuit of your passion, would you still pursue it?

There is big money in the “HOW TO” business. We love learning “HOW TO (fill in the blank)”. However, we’ve grown a little too accustomed to this form of assisted learning. When we set out to learn something new, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Which school can I attend to take some classes?”. Unlike the “ignorant child” whose first instinct is to learn by doing, we’ve lost our drive for proactive self-discovery. Instead, we want others to do the heavy lifting for us… and they will, and you’ll pay, and they’ll continue telling you how you’re not quite there yet, how you need to continue taking classes, how you need to continue giving them your hard earned money, because you suck.

Let’s stop and think for a second… can you remember the last time a teacher said to you, “You got it. You are totally competent. You don’t have to take this class anymore”. I sure haven’t, and from a business perspective, that would be completely idiotic. Bring them down, and charge a premium to bring them back up again! Now that’s a profitable business plan! Don’t worry. You’ll get there soon enough. We promise. “BUT FIRST, LET ME TAKE YOUR #MONEY”

You want to improve your art? Take that money and go travel instead. Get lost. You’ll end up with less debt, and more self-knowledge. You don’t need a degree to show that you’re an artist. You need to do it yourself.

We’ve been fooled to believe that we have be like a lion in the circus, pointlessly jumping through flaming hoops before we can reap the rewards, when the power to do whatever we please has been within us all along.

We are in a new age where it’s actually possible to achieve the unimaginable. The older generation with all its hierarchical bullshit is deeply afraid. They know we can knock them down, and we will, if only we first accept that we can.

by Jason Lam

P.S. I actually wanted to title this article “HEY, YOU SUCK”.

Originally published at on March 13, 2014.

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