Developing Your Career in the Arts Industry
Many people enjoy artistic hobbies alongside their work and studies. These hobbies could include anything from physical art such as paintings and drawings, to crafts, writing and even researching and collecting items of a certain specialist interest. It is possible to turn these hobbies into a career, but it takes a lot of hard work, effort, and crucially, correct financing, to create a career that is rewarding, sustainable and successful.
For students in the arts at college or university, the task is a tough one. People can no longer rely on being talent spotted, or on moving seamlessly from graduation to full time paid employment in their preferred field. Many postgraduates find themselves in the difficult situation of juggling part time paid work with part time internships at the companies where they truly want to be embedded. Other people dream of setting up their own freelance businesses, but have little or no idea about how to plan such an endeavor It is one thing to create the art that comes from natural talent. It is quite another to combine this with sound business planning and forward thinking.
Look Beyond the Obvious
One factor that is often overlooked when considering a job in the creative arts, is the broad scope of career options available. Most people think of arts jobs as simply that; being an artist. In truth there are far more possibilities to research. The prospect of becoming a self-employed artist, answering only to yourself and your debtors, can be a very difficult place to visualize Artists need their creative freedom after all, and the popular myth is that they do not make for successful entrepreneurs. This is a very outdated stereotype, and one that needs to be dispelled once and for all. A freelance artist can be a successful entrepreneur. All they need is guidance and support from the right organisations, and from fellow professionals who have been and done what they aspire to do. You could try researching a little more about your preferred area of interest, and you will find many books available at very reasonable prices.
Aside from being a freelance artist of paintings, you could consider broadening your scope. There are lots of opportunities in new media, particularly as cover art designers for independent book publishers. A good writer knows the importance of their book cover and promotional material. They are prepared and willing to pay a decent price for the quality and professional finish that is required. Other avenues of income could include designing and producing posters, leaflets and marketing material for small businesses or agencies. All it takes is a little broad thinking, looking beyond the boundaries set by traditional careers advisers Ask around, search the internet, and listen to what people within the industry can share with you.
Approach the Organisation Directly
If you are not quite confident enough to set up as a self-employed freelancer immediately, there are still options available for your career in the arts industry. Think about what you do, and find out where it fits into business and existing organisations. For example, you could consider applying to your local museum or art gallery. Every exhibition needs a dedicated team of curators and experts. If you believe you have the knowledge and practical expertise, then speak to the people in charge. Do not be afraid to speak up about your skills and your ability to do the job. In the arts industry, as with so many others, the key to reaching your goals is to nurture and develop connections with the most influential people.
Don’t Ignore the Voluntary Route
A popular route into the creative arts industry is to secure internships with organisations and companies that serve your preferred skill set. One important factor to remember is that you cannot exist on voluntary work alone. If you are in a position to do an internship then well done, but it is not practical or economical for many people wishing to work in the creative arts. Some people might be able to secure voluntary work at weekends or for short term contracts for exhibitions and events, which is a good way to boost your resume and gain valuable experience and on the job training.
Think very carefully about where you want to work, and who you want to work for. If you are giving up your time and energy in the hopes of receiving payment in the long term, you must also be strong enough to stop if the internship does not develop as planned. You are best advised to seek guidance from industry professionals, careers advisers and those who can set you up with the beginnings of your business plan, to develop alongside your creative products and services.
If you have an idea for a PROFILES piece or a comment about
this one, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org