There’s some general misunderstanding about what it means to be an artist these days and I want to clarify my interpretation of things. It is one thing to be an artist who is “fed by the art” who lives a life dedicated to creating and sharing art with the world. It’s a romantic notion to which I aspire.
Most artists though work 9-5 type jobs where they get to use some aspects of their artistic inclination in their professional life. This means, of course, that non-traditionally educated people have fewer job prospects. Graphic designers tend to be formally educated professionals who also consider themselves artists. This also goes for museum curators, advertisement creators, film editors, etc.
I left formal education when I was 17 and had a ton of fun for 7 years hopping trains, creating art, painting murals, and creating street art. I loved it and I was happy! But I had no insurance, no steady income, no consistent place to live, and no established goals. These are not things everyone wants, but for those who do I suggest seeking out some formal education to fill gaps. I used My GRE Exam Preparation to get my GRE which opened so many more doors to seek an Associate’s Degree which got me a foot in the door at an advertising firm. I was able to work my way up to content creator where I get to create art for 40 hours a week in exchange for a nice little paycheck, health insurance, a 401k and a consistent social network through work.
Not everyone grows up this way, but I did!