On the route people take to bench work…I own a business that employs goldsmiths. I hire talented people, sometimes right out of high school, sometimes with fine arts degrees from well known art schools. I did not go to art school myself. Here’s what I think.
Once trained the high schoolers are as capable as the fine arts degree people at preforming the tasks required. But, the people who went to the university tend to have a much deeper reservoir of understanding and knowledge than the HS onlies. They seem more experienced even if they weren’t with that particular task.
Not only that, they had a much bigger picture and understanding of the world. They had met and worked with all different kinds of people, both students and professors. Plus they’d been exposed to ART so when I was asking them to do something they could relate it to something I’d never seen. They just knew more because they had the opportunity to work on art and solve art related challenges without having to make a profit. They’d been immersed in it, unless they wasted the opportunity.
Additionally they, almost all, left my business to start their own businesses (with my blessings). They just had greater expectations because of their education and experiences.
So I absolutely, 100% encourage people to go to art school and graduate. Even if it doesn’t add to your income it will surely help you to have a more fulfilling life. That’s what it’s all about in my book.
That said, life is a series of rich experiences and opportunities no matter what you do, school, work, travel, prison time…It’s a human tendency to give greater weight to our own paths in order to justify our choices. The older I get the more I understand that each path I choose means I’m trading away the chance to explore something else. This is getting a little too preachy and obvious, I’m just saying you can learn an awful lot from anyone if you give them a chance.