I am a self-taught artist. When I say that to people locally, they usually immediately dismiss me as a serious artist. Some have even suggested I should take classes to learn to paint, or laughed at me etc. It seems that having a degree in art is important in Canada, and I get that kind of thinking. Formal schooling gives a person an experience like no other, and one can grow a lot and learn a lot from attending a University program. Because it is an investment of time and money, degree is viewed as a valuable asset. From the research I did in Edmonton, I can see that there are just a few professional artists without a formal degree represented by local galleries.
I have looked into going to the University to take classes, because I do think I could benefit from the right kind of instruction. It would be great to hone drawing and painting, color theory, and composition skills with a professional artist. However, most of the art education in Edmonton is centered around conceptual art and I just cannot get into it, nor do I understand it. I strongly feel that attending the University at this point in my career and in life, would not be beneficial to my development as an artist. I came to this conclusion after attending numerous local art shows and leaving most of them underwhelmed. I just do not get it. I figured out much better ways to use the money I would spend on tuition to better myself as an artist.
So what is a self-taught artist like me to do, in a city where they do not fit into an art education mold? There are many ways to grow as an artist, and resources are quite readily available.