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How easy is it to get jobs as a traditional artist?

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I enjoy doing traditional art rather than graphic design and digital art. Is it easy to get jobs doing these? #art #graphic-design #design #fine-art #artist

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Ellen’s Answer

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This is a good question, and the answer depends on many variables. Such as what sort of art you create (realistic, abstract, conceptual and so on), your subject matter, can you get a gallery interested in your art, and how good you are at it, in this stage of your life? (Most artists take years to develop their art.) Also, what kind of funding do you have, will your family help support you to get started, or do you have some kind of savings to see you through the rough early stages of a fine art career? Do you have the discipline, the patience, and the confidence to work on your own, as most fine artists are self employed and create artwork for sale in galleries or online. Do you love making your art enough to realize a life that has few frills? Some fine artists hit it big, have their work in galleries and museums, and make a lot of money, but, sadly, most do not.

The reality is that most fine artists need to have two jobs, a "day job" to pay the bills, and then their "real" job of making their art. Sometimes these "day jobs" are art-related, and sometimes not. For example you might get a day job painting baby furniture for a company, (a job I once applied for but did not take). I have a cousin who went to art school and studied textile art, and her "day" job was creating cloth labels for clothing company (someone has to do it, and it was quite complicated and satisfying for her). Some fine artist work in graphic design too, because they have the skills, if not the passion.

Many fine artists also teach, either at the university level, in public or private elementary, middle, or high schools, or in community art centers. To teach at the university level, you will need to get an MFA after college. These jobs are quite competitive and will require you keep up a body of artwork for exhibitions. I taught in public school, at the middle school level, which requires a certificate in K-12 art education, along with degrees in art education at the bachelors or masters level, depending on the school district. Community art centers usually have a requirement that you must show you are competent in an art form, usually by showing your portfolio. Teaching salaries vary, but my experience teaching middle school was that I made a comfortable living with health and retirement benefits.

As a retired art teacher, I will say that it was great being able to share my passion for art with my students on a daily basis, and I loved having the summers off to pursue my art. However, during the rest of the year, it was a challenge finding the energy to keep up with my art, but I managed to do so, often by taking art classes in the evening, which were necessary to keep up with my teaching certification, but also very stimulating in terms of my artistic development. I'm retired now, and I can work on my art full time, and it is wonderful.

I hope this has been helpful. Best wishes. Keep up with your art.

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Judith’s Answer

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I believe that it is possible to make a profession as a traditional artist. You may need funding for a studio so working in addition to your artistic career may be necessary to get established. Many artists are opening their studios to teaching classes since schools are so remiss about perpetuating the arts. Young to old wish to take courses in established studios in every media. Building a body of work that you can market is also necessary to feature on your website and enter juried shows online. When chosen, you are permitted to feature your work or works in their galleries for the duration of their shows. You can communicate with them and develop a relationship with galleries all over the country.

Doing your research about galleries is important. It can make inroads into museums and build clientele that appreciate your work. You can also feature step by step processes on U tube. I am wary of accommodating patrons' too much. It could compromise your integrity in your art. Having your own brand may make some go but others will know what you are about.

Judith recommends the following next steps:

  • Look for an affordable studio.
  • Get sufficient liability insurance.
  • Apply for a business license.
  • Apply for a sales license.
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Amy’s Answer

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There are not really any jobs as a traditional artist unless you teach art. Most traditional artists make a lot of art and then seek gallery shows. One can also do commissions and murals. There are many art residences that offer a stipend. If you find a Sponsor or Patron they would pay you to make your art. Get a contract and make sure it is crystal clear their expectations before you agree to it.
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Jennifer’s Answer

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I think if you are a traditional artist with computer skills you have a better chance of finding work. But traditional art is tough alone.
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