You might not think that becoming an artist requires a college degree. After all, it’s easy to think that a person either has natural talent or they don’t.
There is some truth in the fact that people need a certain amount of natural artistic ability to be successful in this field, but even gifted artists can benefit from an art education program.
“College looks better on your resume whether you’re a freelance artist or employed by a company,” says Maegan Shipp, an artist and art teacher in Lowell, Michigan. She earned a bachelor’s degree in animation from in 3-D art studies from Southwest University of Visual Arts in Arizona.
Not only does studying art in college introduce you to new techniques and help you improve your skills, but it also gives you the opportunity to build a portfolio and make connections that can lead to great career opportunities. earn money. “You’re definitely valued more,” says Shipp.
Read on to learn more about how to become a musician and what to expect in this career.
How do I know if being an artist is for me?
Although it may seem obvious, to be successful as an artist, you need to love creating art. You should also have a natural flair for your medium.
“You need to have artistic ability,” Shipp said.
If you’re not sure if you have the ability or interest in pursuing art as a career, try taking art classes before enrolling in a degree program. For example, high school students may be able to sample a variety of mediums through their school’s art department while adults may receive community education through local art councils or community colleges.
In addition to enjoying the art, you need to be comfortable with the idea that you might be working for yourself. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 58% of craft and professional artists and 63% of special effects artists and animators are self-employed. That means these artists work on a freelance or contract basis, or create art that they can sell directly to consumers.
Although many people love the freedom of self-employment, it is not for everyone. If you prefer to work as an employee, as opposed to a contractor, check to see what job opportunities are available in your field before committing to becoming an artist.
How to become an artist
Unlike professions such as teaching and nursing, there is no set path to becoming an artist. Some people are self-taught and drop out of school while others choose to earn a bachelor’s degree in art.
“I think you have to do a lot of legwork if you don’t have a degree,” Shipp says.
Degree programs can teach you how to become a better musician and also provide networking, career advice or mentoring. Within the art program, you will build a portfolio that can be used to showcase your skills and work after graduation.
For those who plan to sell their art directly to consumers, art professionals can take business classes in college that can help them learn how to set prices, market their work, and complete other tasks. Meanwhile, if you plan to work in-house for a company, an arts degree is required by many employers.
Even before enrolling in a degree program, students will need to create a portfolio that can be used in the college admissions process. Taking classes in high school or through local art organizations can be a great way to build a collection of work that can be exhibited at colleges and universities.
“I would fill in [high school electives] with all the art classes offered,” Shipp says. The healthier you are, the better. Then, once you enter college, you can focus on your favorite medium or specialty.
Education options: How long to be an artist
Wondering how long it takes to become an artist is a reasonable question, and it depends on the art program you choose. Some community colleges offer an associate degree in fine arts that can be completed in two years. However, a four-year bachelor’s degree is more common.
“You’ll spend a lot of time in your studio class,” Shipp says but adds that students should also expect to take non-art classes. Psychology, basic math and history were just a few of the classes she needed to complete to get her degree.
At the University of Nevada, Reno, the bachelor of arts degree includes at least 12 credit hours in studio art and 12 credit hours in art history. The University’s Faculty of Arts also offers the following press releases:
- Art history
- Book and literature art
- Digital media
- Graphic design
- Photography and videography
- Making a print
- A picture
Another option is a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Naturally, this program encourages students to be creative and explore different skills.
A holistic approach to art education worked well for Shipp when he earned his degree. Although he always dreamed of becoming an animator for Disney, after graduating, he got married and moved to the Midwest to be closer to family. Although there were no animation studios nearby, he was able to use the graphic design skills he learned at school to get an in-house job at a fundraising firm.
“Every company needs some form of graphic design and marketing,” he says. not expecting it at first.
Works of art
By the time you graduate from college, you should have extensive hands-on experience in your field of interest. Hopefully, you’ve also connected with experts who can help you narrow down your entry into the workforce. However, at the end of the day, works of art depend a lot on the artist and their ability to search for works of art.
“You have to be your own advocate,” Shipp says. He thinks that working as a successful artist is a realistic goal but it requires effort. “You can get there. It just depends on how much work you put into it.”
For all skills, self-employment is the path taken by the majority of those pursuing artistic careers. If you’d rather not be a freelancer, here’s where professional accountants work, according to the BLS:
- 12% of special effects artists and animators are used by the graphics and video industry.
- 11% of art directors are employed in advertising, public relations and related services.
- 9% of graphic designers are employed by specialized design services.
- 8% of artisans and craftspeople are employed by freelancers, writers and artists.
No matter which path you take, industry organizations such as the College Art Association, The National Association of Independent Artists and local arts councils can all have resources to help you on your way to success.
The future of artists’ careers
Although there have been alarm bells ringing about the potential for artificial intelligence to take over the jobs of commercial artists, particularly in the digital media sector, the BLS expects continued growth in arts jobs. in the coming years.
From 2021-2031, the government agency expects job growth from 3% for artists to 6% for artisans and beauticians. Although technology may become part of the art process — from the use of 3-D printers to AI-generated images — a machine will never be able to replace the creativity or imagination of a human artist. what you bring to their work.
If you have a love for art and dream of making it a career, don’t be afraid to pursue a career. Explore your degree options and speak with an admissions coordinator to take the first step toward becoming an artist today.