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Finding painting jobs

My struggle is to find a well-paying job in art. I have a BA in studio art, however, I am lacking 2+ years in a studio that some jobs require. Does anyone have any resources where I can look? arts fine-art artist the-arts art

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Sarah’s Answer

Hi Caroline! I have a BFA in Illustration so I know all about the struggles of finding well-paid creative work. My advice to you is to focus on freelance work if you want to be an artist. Put together a portfolio, set up an Etsy, enter juried shows, network with your local artist community, market yourself on social media and just keep making art! You can make a little money in the beginning and it will set you up as a working artist as you grow.

If you want to find a regularly paid job, there are plenty of opportunities for artists with technical skills. If you don't have any, spend some time learning graphic, web, mobile design, and UX/UI. There are plenty of affordable resources for this online. Join local meetup groups focused on these and you will build your network and learn.

I had to juggle fine arts work with commercial design work to earn a modest living. The better your technical skills, the more money you can make. Hopefully you can sell your fine art one day at prices that allow you to continue that work full-time if that is your goal.

If you want to work at a gallery, that is a possibility as well but you will generally start out as a low-paid intern or volunteer. Just try to get experience however you can and eventually it will lead to better opportunities.

It's a tough road, but if it is really what you want to do there are ways to make it. You may have to work in the service industry for awhile to support yourself but if you keep hustling you can get where you want to go. Good luck!
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Stephen’s Answer

The answers by others here are all good. I will try to give a (very slightly) different way to think about it.

1. Do art work every day. People, whether they are employers or just anyone who might want to purchase art or commission a work, prefer to do so with someone who is already doing art work that excites them —"them" being the artist and everyone else.
So, you cannot wait for someone else to prompt you to do exciting work. You need to do it everyday.

2. Get your work out into the world. Get an online portfolio site and post on whatever social media you deem appropriate. When people see you in person, and ask you what you are up to, show them your portfolio. That is how I started getting portfolio commissions and representation from a gallery. People can't hire you if they don't know that you exist and are doing the kind of work that they want or need.
I also got the job that started my long and very successful graphic design career because of a self-initiated project.

3. Educate yourself about a wide variety of subject matter. Artists literally illustrate the world and all of the knowledge, feelings, events, etc. in it. The best artists are the best educated artists.

4. You have to connect and "network" with people who have the finances to hire you. I love my friends, but they will never have the money to afford to hire me to do anything. If you never connect with people with the money to hire you, you will never be hired. Again, by "hired," I mean for a job, a commission, purchasing a work, etc.

I hope that this helps, and good luck!
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