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Is an art career ‘pointless’? TODAY readers weigh in on comment by photographer, 19, who aced subject in A-Levels

Is an art career “pointless”? TODAY readers discussed this topic last week after a 19-year-old student photographer aced the subject in her A-Level examination and landed an offer to pursue fine arts in London. Here’s a selection of comments.

“By saying that the arts are pointless is like saying one side of our brain is useless. In fact many top scientists display artistic appreciation of the natural world.” TERENCE TAKESHI MACHIBUNO CHIEW

“Art comes in many forms. One could even argue that without artistic experience, things like the National Anthem wouldn’t exist… Television commercials would just be lines of text, detailing the pros and cons. There would be no such thing as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which came from comics — drawn by hand). Art is communication beyond the ordinary — with its rules and logic. You can disparage it all you want, but you can’t deny life would be boring without art.” GWYN LAU

“Don’t worry. Human creations are always valued, especially in this era of AI and automation.” JIBRAIL IDRIS

SIMILAR EXPERIENCES

“I look forward to more young people continuing to pursue arts… I grew up having my family tell me arts, sports and history are useless. I didn’t pursue any of these passions in the end.” JENN BASHFORD-TEO

“When my kid was young, I sent her for art enrichment classes and relatives all commented ‘why art? Useless!’. I could not be bothered with them. Currently my kid, in Sec 2, is happy doing art and talented also. Her dream is to be an illustrator.” LYDIA LEE

“I recall my Primary 2 relief teacher complimenting me on my music, then I remembered how much my mom emphasised on music having no future. Now, I don’t even know how to read any music notes or appreciate classical music.” LYNN KAYLEN

“Chase your dreams and you will go far. Pursuing arts is definitely the road less travelled. It’s also a blessing that you have understanding and supportive parents. It’s never easy. My daughter loves art and I hope she can be like you too.” MEOW LING TAN

REALITY CHECK

“Art is not pointless. But when you have a family to feed, reality sets in. Art doesn’t make you money, unless you are Yayoi Kusama. Even if you are, at some point, you’ll still need to fall back on, mostly distasteful, commercial projects and jobs to maintain your keep. I work in the creative industry, and this is the reality.” PETER PANG

“If you can make bank with arts as often or as consistently as any Stem (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) job, then maybe it wouldn’t be such an issue.” ALFREDO FRANK GARICA

“Not that art is pointless but in order to make it successful, you have to move out of Singapore to study elsewhere as Singapore, being a small market for arts, does not have sufficient grounds for advancement. Most people in Singapore have little time to appreciate art too.” SHANON TAM

“I think whatever point the article claims she was trying to make would have been much stronger if she had obtained straight As and then went ahead to study fine art anyway. But to be honest, with a bunch of Bs and Cs for the other subjects, she doesn’t really have many options for university courses to begin with… I do sincerely wish her all the success she deserves, though or there might not be a Plan B in place if life doesn’t work out the way she wants it to.” LOON TZE TAN

 

These comments were first posted on TODAY’s Facebook page. They have been edited for clarity, accuracy and length. If you have views on this issue or a news topic you care about, send a letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

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