If you are of an artistic bent, becoming a professional artist must have crossed your mind at least once. Art is exciting, certainly more exciting than being buried in spreadsheets in a corporate job.
It is through art, and through art only, that we can realise our perfection.”Oscar Wilde
But what does art as a profession really entail? What are the things you need to know? What kind of an education plan do you need to follow? Is a scholarship enough or do you need an education loan? Also, how do you make money from an art degree anyway?
Well, here are some things you can do.
Knowing Your Education & Career Options
Art degrees are not really as monolithic as you may think. They can lead to many different career avenues. As a matter of fact, there are many different kinds of art degrees! You have to figure out which degree is right for you.
A Fine Arts degree is quite different from an Applied Arts or Design degree. In addition, there are specialised designing degrees like graphic design, fashion designing, web designing and many more.
Fine arts, similarly, has specialised degrees in fields like painting, sculpture, printmaking and so on. There are also degrees and disciplines that are loosely allied with arts but have different scopes and interests, for example, art history and curation.
Not all artists spend all their time in their studios or make money the same way. Design degrees can get you a well paying corporate or freelance career. Fine arts degrees can also be lucrative, especially if you plan on teaching. It is important that you determine what kind of art course you want to take to understand the career options that would be available to you.
Finding The Best Fit
Once you have determined what kind of degree and career path you want to undertake, you need to find a university or school that would be the best fit for you. Art school is one career path where studying abroad is worth it and makes a lot of sense. This is because universities abroad offer much better infrastructure, networking and job opportunities, all crucial for any budding artist.
Research universities that are the best fit for you. This involves looking at their location, faculty, infrastructure as well as funding opportunities. Make sure that the university you are choosing is a good fit for the kind of artistic career path you have in mind. Choosing the right university is crucial to your education plan if you want to study abroad.
Convincing Your Parents
If your parents are encouraging and supportive of your choice to pursue an art degree, that’s great! You are lucky! In fact, you are part of a lucky minority. Most parents tend to be a little iffy about any non-traditional career paths. If your parents fall into that majority, you may need to sharpen your persuasion skills a little.
Talking to your parents and persuading them is not as difficult as you may think. What you need to do is research and prepare a proper education plan. This plan is to show your parents that you have properly considered the details and intricacies of your decision and are prepared for any issues that might pop up.
If that does not work, you can take the help of an education and guidance counsellor. Counselling can help bridge the gap between you and your parents and bring them on the same page as you. Education counselling can also help you smooth out any kinks in your education plan. It can help you come with comprehensive and pragmatic solutions that will enable you to follow your passions without reaching a career dead end.
You can even look for education counselling online if in-person sessions are not possible.
Art school is expensive. Not just tuition costs, but the costs of procuring materials and art supplies for projects and assignments can get pretty high.
You should look into the websites of the colleges you are applying to and talk to the admissions officer about funding opportunities. Look into the kinds of scholarships they have available and that their students and alumni have availed. Research one time grants or fee waivers that you may be eligible for.
You may need to secure an education loan. In that case, you should try to familiarise yourself with them. Find out how to apply for an education loan, procedure, documents required, interest rates, repayment rules, etc. It could also be helpful to use an education loan calculator to figure out how much you can borrow and how much you would have to repay.
Talk to your parents because they are likely to have investments and savings set aside for your education. Education funding can be stressful but it is a necessary part of higher education planning.
Creating A Portfolio
Portfolios are important when you are applying to an art school. A portfolio is a collection of your best work that basically acts as your resume. It presents the work you have done and are capable of doing so that admission committees can judge your skills and workmanship. A portfolio should therefore feature your best work but should also be diverse. You want to show people that you can do more than one kind of artwork and have more than one skillset.
You should refer to the websites of the universities you are applying to find out what they are looking for in a portfolio. Talk to admissions officers and current students and alumni of that university. You can also try to go online and look at other people’s portfolios to get an idea of how you should structure your own and what kind of artwork you should include.
A portfolio contains artwork that is not just simply pretty to look at but also showcases the versatility of skills. For example, a simple landscape may be pretty to look at but does not really show any exceptional talent, skill or vision. Choose pieces that show your artistry with brushwork or impasto work. Pieces that are unique and show complexity and expertise with different materials or media are perfect for portfolios.
Art school is a great place to both satisfy your passion and begin an exciting and promising career. You will be learning not just how to make great art but also how to sell and market that art. You will need to remember that you are not just here to learn artistry but to learn how to make a career out of that artistry. But even more than that, you are in college on an adventure! Remember to have fun on this adventure!