Every time you tell someone that you’re pursuing an arts degree, you typically get a series of chuckles, eye rolls and side remarks about the joys of being a “struggling artist.” Despite what these people say, don’t let your dreams get trapped into a box of stereotypes. Just because you want to be an artist doesn’t necessarily mean you have to paint scenic landscapes for the rest of your life.
Being an artist makes you an increasingly valuable asset to any company and today there are a number of jobs looking to use your creative talent. According to Huffington Post, the American Association of Colleges and Universities found that 93 percent of people feel that the “capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems [are] more important than [a candidate’s] undergraduate major.”
Those with liberal arts degrees are accustomed to thinking creatively and boldly. They are passionate, curious and committed. Succeeding in life is about your tenacity and your willingness to adapt. So if you’re willing to think out of the box, here are some job suggestions for unconventional artists.
Disneyland has a number of creative teams that allow you to create “extraordinary stories, develop unique characters, define and inspire the look of a film, television show or game.” Disney Careers has information about the different kinds of jobs available for creative minds like you. You can use your ideas to become a story artist, a character designer, a visual development artist or even an art director. If you’re unsure about which path you want to take, Disney has various internship programs to help you integrate into the company culture and expose you to the kind of opportunities available.
READ MORE: Miranda July and Her Success as an Artist
Graphic novelists can showcase their work in many ways. They can create their own stories, commission their work for artists or even teach cartoon classes like Ellen Forney. TIME interviewed Forney, a cartoonist and comic book author, who has a great deal of experience as a graphic novelist.
In 2012, Forney published a graphic memoir titled “Marbles,” in which she uses her love for drawing and storytelling to write about her bipolar disorder and depression. Aside from the book, she also commissions original art and illustrations. For example, she is working on two large-scale murals for a light rail station in Seattle. According to Forney, it takes “dedication, passion and a natural storytelling ability” to succeed as a graphic novelist.
According to Art Bistro, multimedia artists and animators “work primarily in motion picture and video industries, advertising and computer systems design services.” Animators typically draw their designs and characters by hand then use computers to create the pictures that form animated images. Art Bistro predicts that the demand for this job will increase as “consumers continue to demand more realistic movie and television special effects, video games and 3D animated movies.” In fact, as technology evolves, animators aren’t just limited to the entertainment industry. Art Bistro writes that the demand for animators is increasing in scientific research and design services as well.
If you’ve ever gone to a salon to get your nails done, then you know that there is a shortage of talented nail technicians in the world. According to a TIME interview with Pattie Yankee, whose celebrity clients include Pink, Katy Perry and Giada DeLaurentis, nail art has taken off in recent years. There is formal training required to be a nail technician, but having the technique and discipline to create beautiful artwork on smaller canvases takes skill. Yankee also expressed that she loves her job because she “[loves] that every day is different [and] that each set of hands is a new challenge and a new palette to create an amazing work of art on.”
If you’re interested in the past, historical artwork and appreciating different artists, styles and techniques, then perhaps curating is right for you. Maude Bass-Krueger, an art expert studying for a doctorate in Decorative Arts, Design and Material Culture, tells The New York Times, “Today, everybody calls themselves a curator – you curate your Facebook page, Web sites allow you to ‘curate’ your tweets … but to work professionally, a curator needs to be able to contextualize the work within its historical and socioeconomic framework.”
Although it may take more education and specialization to succeed in this career, it is worth it if you’re passionate about art. Additionally, The New York Times reports that many schools nowadays focus on a holistic education that focuses on methodology, art history, museology, administration, art management and mediation. Clément Corraze, advertising director of the fashion magazine Antidote, tells The New York Times that “curating studies allow for considerable flexibility. Projects include working on performances, clothes collections, setting up workshops for children – what we [learn] is a passport for life.”
Finding a job for you really depends on your personal goals and preferences. Are you up for the adventure of freelancing? Or do you want a more stable job? Really think about the type of environment that will help you succeed because being in the right environment will help you reach your goals. You don’t have to be the “struggling artist” everyone expects you to be … you just have to be a passionate one.
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