Artistic Career Paths for Creative Personalities

If you consider yourself to be a creative type, a career in the arts may be the perfect choice for you. Creative workers are becoming increasingly in demand as brands across a variety of industries seek to differentiate themselves from their competitors through creative marketing. This opens up a lot of opportunities for artists in just about any medium. At Hussian College, we have seen a majority of our art students go on to build successful careers in the arts after graduation. Here’s an overview of some of the many options available and how to decide if a career in the arts is a fitting path for you.

Can I Use My Art Skill to Make Money?

Assuming that you have skill in your chosen art form, the answer to this question is a resounding, “yes.” While certainly nobody, nor can any career, guarantee that you will get rich, it is entirely possible to earn a comfortable living from your artistic pursuits. Whether you sell your digital prints online as a graphic designer or go in a more commercial direction, such as working in marketing or advertising, you’ll find a variety of companies and individuals willing to reward you for your talents

What Can You Do With A Degree in Art?

While a college degree isn’t always a requirement for some art careers, it can help you to get your foot in the door, especially with larger corporations or firms. Having a degree demonstrates to potential employers that you take your craft seriously and that you have the commitment and dedication to see tasks through to completion. When choosing between two job applicants with similar skill sets, employers are often more likely to choose the one who has a degree over the one who doesn’t. At Hussian, we offer several Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs, including Digital Media, Graphic Design, and Visual Communications, to name a few.

What Kind of Careers Involve Art?

There are about as many artistic career possibilities as there are styles of art. In finding a career in the arts, don’t just think about creating art for art’s sake; think about other possible uses for that art besides being put on display in a gallery or museum. With a bit of creativity, artists of all mediums can find a way to profit from their unique creative talent. Some possibilities include:

  • Taking and editing landscape photos for a travel company’s website
  • Conceptualizing and designing infographics for a hospital or doctor’s office
  • Creating clothing designs for a small business ecommerce boutique
  • Using Photoshop to retouch images for magazines
  • Building storyboards and assisting in the creation of instructional videos for a product or service
  • Staging and shooting photos for a restaurant promoting a new menu

Whatever style of art you prefer, there’s a way to transform it into a career. At Hussian College, our academic advisers can help you narrow down your career options based on your skills and preferences.

How to Build A Career in the Arts

There is so much more to building a career in the arts than simply creating art and then hoping that someone is interested enough to buy it. It is an ongoing process of honing your skills, learning how to market yourself, and finding viable clients or employers. Let’s take a look at this process step by step.

Honing Your Skills

The more you practice creating art, the better you will get at working in your chosen medium. While you can practice on your own, one of the best ways to improve your skills is to go to a school that specializes in the arts, like Hussian College. In working towards your degree, you’ll have a chance to explore a variety of styles of art to see which you like best. You’ll also get valuable feedback from your professors regarding your work, which will help you to become a better artist. Of course, every individual has their personal preferences but both constructive criticism and words of praise from an industry professional can help you gain a better understanding of the skills you have and the skills you may need to further practice.

Marketing Yourself

Once you have educated yourself in the world of art, it’s time to figure out how you will market yourself to prospective employers. If you are a graphic designer, for example, will you specialize in advertising, product packaging or logo creation? How you market yourself will depend on your unique skill set, as well as your career goals and personal preferences. Over time, these goals and preferences may change, so don’t feel as though you need to be locked into a single path for your entire career. You can always pivot later on.

During your tenure at Hussian College, you’ll take a variety of classes related to this area to help you figure out which direction you’d like to take and how to achieve it. You’ll also have the opportunity to network with faculty and other students, opening up even more potential job opportunities and giving you references to help you get those jobs.

Finding Employment as a Professional Art

The final step in the process is getting someone to actually hire you. Of course, this is easier said than done. Your first step is to put together a strong portfolio to showcase your best artistic work. At Hussian, you’ll be required to do this as part of your graduation criteria, so you’ll already be a step ahead of those who choose not to attend art school. You’ll then need to research various places that you might like to work, including marketing firms, non-profit organizations, major corporations, startup companies, and more.

Going the Freelance Route

Don’t focus all of your efforts on traditional employment routes, though; artists are in a unique position to be able to work as freelancers. This can give you great flexibility in setting your work schedule and can also result in a greater variety of work available to you. Freelance employment can be a bit unpredictable, so you’ll have to put in a fair bit of effort to keep attracting new clients if you choose to go this route. You’ll also have to be great at budgeting and saving, as your income as a freelancer can be unpredictable as well.

In looking for work as a freelancer, there are several ways to obtain clients. You may choose to approach businesses directly. For example, let’s say you come across a company’s advertisement that looks plain and doesn’t really grab your attention. You could offer your services to that company as a graphic designer, explaining to them that more visually attractive ads will help them bring in more new customers than the ads they are currently using. Alternatively, there are many online resources, such as websites and forums, where freelancers can post their work or submit their portfolio for clients looking specifically to hire a freelancer.

No matter how you search for freelance work, be sure to have a portfolio ready to show potential clients so that they can get a sense of your style.

Is a Creative Career Right For You?

While you may have plenty of artistic skill, just as any profession, your ability to succeed in the industry may be dependent on your personality and overall determination. For instance, if you’re an incredibly talented illustrator, you may still have trouble landing a full-time job if you are unwavering to suggestions or don’t handle criticism well. In order to build a successful creative career in an art-based industry, it is important to be able to practice the following:

Take Criticism

While it is true that your clients will be hiring you because they believe in your artistic vision, at the end of the day, your work needs to meet their specifications and preferences. You may think that a piece of art you have created is perfect, but your clients may ask for changes or revisions to get the piece to where they would like it to be.

It is important to not take these constructive criticisms personally. Artists need to learn to adapt their unique artistic style to meet the needs of clients. This may mean making changes that you don’t necessarily love, but you need to remember that your personal preferences are less important than your ability to serve the purpose that your clients have outlined.

Know When a Piece Is Finished and Be Able to Meet Deadlines

Artists can be known for being perfectionists, often believing that no piece is ever truly finished. This is all well and good if you are creating art simply for personal enjoyment. However, it doesn’t work so well when you are creating art for an employer. You’ll need to be adept at treading the line between creating high-quality pieces of art for your clients and getting the work done in the time frame specified. It is important to be able to budget your time well and know when to stop tweaking and refining your work.

Meet the Needs of Your Clients

Whether you work for a company or as a freelancer, it is important to remember that your client will ultimately “own” the work that you create. Because of this, the final product will not necessarily be your own anymore. You’ll need to prioritize the needs of your clients over your personal attachments to the art that you create, tailoring your work to their specifications.

Starting a Successful Art Career Begins With a Great Art Education

The foundation of any successful career is dedication and determination. It isn’t enough to simply have artist skill. Rather, it is a combination of skill, hard work, and the foundation of a great education. At Hussian College, we’ve seen many of our students build strong careers that allow them to lead incredibly successful lives as an artist. From the visual arts to graphic design, you’ll find a variety of courses in our catalog to help you become a better artist, as well as a faculty and staff that can provide you the tools and knowledge you need to succeed.

Contact us today to speak with one of our academic advisers about your personal and professional goals. We would be happy to discuss the finer details of our degree programs in graphic design, digital media, and more.