ASD student artists finish high school, consider next chapters

A senior art student contemplates his and peers’ artistic futures


Photographer: Lachlan H.

E. Mokhtar (’19) is a prolific filmmaker at ASD who will be pursuing a career as a chemist while still keeping his art alive.

Lachlan H., Reporter

ASD has a vibrant art community, with everything from composers to graphic designers. They fill the practice rooms with music, they fill our assemblies with beautiful messages and our halls with vibrant colors and ideas. Every student has completed at least one fine arts credit during their high school careers, and many take it further, making arts a staple of their academic experience.

But what about those who plan to take their artistic careers to the next level? The obvious thought may be art, music, and drama schools, but the senior artists at ASD show how diverse and divulging their paths may become. I, myself, am about to enter university at Parsons School of Design, in New York City. I am not alone, with three other ASD students also going to the exact same school to pursue their passions in Fine Art, Fashion, and Photography. You only need to look around the senior commons to see how many art schools seniors will be heading off to in the fall. Top ranking schools such as Otis, UAL, CalArts, SCAD, and of course, Parsons.

While going to art school does seem the logical choice for those who attempt to pursue a career in the arts, the statistics may tell us something different. According to BFAMFAPhD, an independent arts advocacy group, out of the two million art school graduates working in the US today, only around 10% are actually working in an art-related field and would consider themselves “working artists.”

A vastly higher number of art school graduates actually turn to become educators, with 280,000 of current art school graduates working in the education sector. This is one of the paths that J. Hazzouri (‘19) is considering undertaking. “I’m going to be going to UAL next year,” Hazzouri explains, “and for my first year, I’m planning on taking a foundation year so that I can find the major that I want to do… I would have no problem going to teach art in international schools, especially if I end up majoring in Fine Arts or Visual Arts.”

On the other end of creatives at ASD are those who are incredibly active in the art scene at ASD, but do not intend to pursue a career or further education in the arts. I sat down to talk with a prominent filmmaker at ASD, E. Mokhtar (‘19) about his plans post-high school, and what he thought his future may be with filmmaking.

“I’ve already been accepted into a chemistry program at a University in Canada,” Mokhtar said, “where I intend to get my degree in chemistry and get a job as a forensic scientist.”

I probed a little further into his future as a creator, as someone so prolific, does not fall off the map so suddenly.

“I’m still very interested in film, so I won’t stop doing that,” he responded. “Plus, I recently purchased a pretty expensive video camera, so I’ll definitely be sticking by this camera for a while and still making movies.”

Mokhtar is not alone with his plan, with over 60,000 currently working artists starting off in a STEM field, and not in an art school.

More than anything, this goes to show that there is no one path to becoming an artist and that those who truly love what they do, will find a way to do it. Mokhtar may be starting off on a different foot than Hazzouri. In September one of them may be calculating mole values of different chemicals as the other considers the impact of Rembrandt on the work of Banksy, but both have no plans anytime soon on giving up on something they’re so passionate about.