Even then, the odds are still against you. Finding a professional art-related job is extremely difficult. However, I have to correct my landlord in saying that you can
get a job in the field, and with art under your belt, it is pretty versatile. Chemistry majors usually have to work chemistry. Physics majors have to do aeronautics or engineering. Art majors can find a spot in just about every company imaginable, whether it's visual effects for the next Avatar, or designing an online menu for a mom and pop Chinese restaurant.
But artists are in constant competition with one another.
Here on deviantArt, I'm very open and encouraging of other artists. Especially my fellow color artists; I want to help them out as best I can, and give them their due praises and encouragement. Outside of deviantArt, though, until we are actually hired on a team together, you are my enemy. You are trying to keep me from making my living, and I am keeping you from your's. Survival of the fittest, baby. When you bring your A game, I too will bring mine, and we will duke it out with every neuron in our mind, every fiber in our fingertips. With a dignified silence, without words or blows exchanged, we will fight. Fight dirty. Fight unfair. Fight ferociously. Because if we don't battle to stay on top every day, we will be surpassed by the others.
So it's important to keep your options open, and pursue an art major that opens up a lot of doors to improve your demand. Graphic design is the obvious choice for best pick, because every publication and piece of media requires it. It is the foundation of all things art, all things visual, and until humanity evolves beyond the necessity of eyeballs, graphic designers will be needed no matter how bad the economy, how trite the script, how awful the design doc.
Animation is the second obvious choice. They don't come along easily, and finding a truly good animator is even more difficult. Oh, sure, companies are trying more and more nowadays to bypass the necessity of good animation. Just a cursory glance at 'Problem Solverz' shows cartoons trying oh so cutely to overcome its importance. But the truth is, animators can get jobs way beyond their own field, and get hired to work for science and architecture.
Go back to the first point. Do not shirk your high school education. With that animation degree, you will need to know the content you're animating. Want to make a simulated visual aid for a chemistry project to win a multi-million dollar grant? Bet you wish you paid more attention in chemistry class. How about a projected step by step construction process for that billion dollar high rise? Sure would've helped to take math more seriously.
Artists always need a fall-back skill, too. Math is mine. I was always good at math naturally, but didn't do well in school because I kept pulling the relevancy card on my own parents. Who needs stupid trigonometry? What kind of idiot goes around measuring shadows at flagpoles? Sheesh!
Fast forward five years, and I'm in a Flash class, working on a game where a cannon shoots a ball towards the cursor.
'How do I make it follow the mouse, then shoot when I click?'
'Follow the mouse?' my teacher looks over my shoulder. 'Oh, you need a Math, Tangent operator in the code.'
'Tangent? Wait, as in-'
'Umm...' My face sinks to a scowl. 'Oookay, so, tangent. That for, err...'
'You do know trigonometry, right?'
'Uhh...I, umm.' I look down in shame. 'Damn.'
'Relevancy card, huh.' The teacher smacks the back of my head. 'Shoulda kept it in the deck there, skippy.'
There are several other great majors that focus in art that open many doors in the professional world. Website design. Advertising design. Even video game art and design. Believe it, video game majors can easily get jobs outside of the game industry, as the industry itself is one of the most fast-paced quality demanding fields out there. After developing the skills necessary to work on video games, they are easily qualified to apply their skills in countless fields.
For example, in El Segundo, Maba Media is a company created by former game design graduates who make simulated car crashes in 3d software for court cases. Zoic Studios in Marina Del Rey, who does the CGI sequences for CSI: Miami and American advertisements for luxury cars, hires visual effects artists from Electronic Arts.
Almost all art related majors overlap in several ways, and are interchangeable between multiple industries.
Art school is, in many ways, a lot more difficult than a regular university. While the work there may not be as tedious as solving parabolas or measuring the atomic weights of molecules, the time and energy required can sum up to a much greater quantity than its academic counterparts. Many things can go wrong with art, too. Paint can run. Markers smudge. Renders can cancel, files corrupt, animation rigs break, textures reset, and sculptures drop. The stress art students go through is insurmountable in comparison.
Regular students just have to worry their thesis is spelled correctly, their numbers are aligned, their handwriting is legible, they go into the class properly studied and knowing the course material enough to survive the midterm test.
Art students? We have to make sure we don't leave our drawings in the sun. We can't put too much water on paints, or too little. Every speed bump in the campus garage is a traumatizing endeavor of crippling worry as we pray to God, Odin, Jupiter, Zeus, and Patrick Swayzee that our external hard drive doesn't chip with each thud against pavement. On top of knowing the course material and doing all the homework, the commute to campus is as psychologically draining as awaiting the results of a pregnancy test.
It's easy to get in to art school, I'll give that. Yet they don't make it easy to stay. It's like a frying pan, any dope can place their palm flat against its hot surface. However, it takes a special breed of calloused masochist to not pull away. In my class, I'm amongst the 2% of psychotic socially inept drones who managed to get through. And it was all because of a strong work ethic I only wish I had in high school. It was because of a solid staff of teachers who had faith in me. And above all else, it was because my dad cracked the whip, kept my ass in gear, and never once cashed in my relevancy card. I was a perfect candidate for just another case of year-one dropouts going in, but drastically adapted into a completely new animal that actually clenched that diploma without the luxury of a home stretch.
And I wouldn't have done anything else differently.