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How do you change into a career you have no professional experience or education in?

I want to pursue a career in Visual Arts, but my professional experience and previous education more geared towards warehouse and IT fields. I don't even have a good art portfolio.
How do I get my foot on the right path?

#art #artist #career #career-choice

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Jeanne’s Answer

If you want a career in visual arts, then you have to show your talents in an interview to have the best chance to get the job. This would be an easy thing to do (vs trying to show your talent in some other areas that don't have a physical thing you can show)
First start building examples - so make designs, art work, presentations that show your talents. Ask volunteer places if you can create presentations for them to show the community what they need, create pictures (digital or paint, etc) for places like a nursing home that would love to display free artwork, etc. Create some free websites to show you know how to see layout options for the internet.
This will give you a real portfolio and community experience too in meeting and talking with various types of businesses.

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Ashlee’s Answer

Hi Brianna, first, in my opinion it depends on your goals in visual arts. If you want a formal education then you could consider going to an Art Institute or getting a Bachelor's at a University in Sculpture, Graphic Design, or Painting. Or if you want to pursue your passions without going into formal education, then you might want to review options for individual classes, in order to build your skill set. Then I would recommend entering competitions so that you can begin to network and look at others' skills as well. Also look for opportunities to display your work. From my students experience, I've found cafe's, small galleries, book stores, even bars/restaurants/hookah lounges are textile friendly. Next, I would look for opportunities to intern through LinkedIn or personal contacts (this is where networking also helps). Then begin to build your portfolio by reviewing other portfolios online. Google, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest are easy ways to see other portfolios. Make sure to include your best work (about 15-20 pieces) and make sure the work flows/conveys the "story" you want your readers to understand. Then get out there and market yourself! You can do it!

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CK’s Answer

Hi Brianna. Although I can't answer your question in the specific sense of visual arts, I can, maybe, answer the more general question of doing a career shift when the one you're shifting towards is wildly different than your current one. I did something similar in moving from a banking a finance background and degree (heavily business/finance focused) to a production brewery career and degree (heavily science focused). I'd say the first thing to do, is try and at least meeting and being around people that are involved in the prospective new career. You can try and do this through volunteering, or just learning where those people tend to socialize. You'll start to develop a network of some kind and you'll find out very quickly how much their own experiences line up with everything you've read/heard about. You'll also get to see, up close, different examples of how people got into that field or that job as it's not always as straight forward as getting there straight from college. Also, and in my opinion most importantly, you'll get a feel for what kind of *personality* is commonly tied to that industry.

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Henry’s Answer

Hey Brianna,

The Visual Arts is pretty broad. If you were more specific, I'd be able to give you more specific advice. My general answer would be to find out what you would like to do in the visual arts. You can be a oil painter, a sculptor, a graphic designer, an illustrator, a film director, or a photographer. Once you find your main interest, you could find out where you can take that interest and make it a career. For example, you can be an independent illustrator that mostly works in TV and film, or a painter that mostly works on murals. Once you have found where you might want to go, take a continuing education class at a top visual arts school near you. I am also from New York and decided that the School of Visual Arts was the best school for me. You can also visit some of the top art schools and ask them for a tour of the school so they can give you a good idea of where a particular major might take you. The more specific you are with your questions, the better.

Best of Luck,