Something most career advisors will tell you, is that if you are interested in a career change, it’s best to find something that your current skill set and former experiences can compliment. Not to make a drastic total 180 from what you already do.
For example, I’m certain positions in Nursing, though in high demand, hardly require you to have any former experience to get in, other than school training. However, they do like if you’ve had expeirence through volunteering at Hospitals or worked in familiar positions to that field. In fact, you’re more likely to get the job if you DO.
Just as well, artists looking to do work outside of their art business need to look for jobs that their skills and talents are good match for. If you don’t have any skills other than your artwork, you can always develop your skill set through training, research and education. You don’t have to go for the degree or even a certificate. Doing such, however is integral to cultivating a well-rounded resume and position yourself for success.
If it wasn’t for my Graphic Design training in college or my participation in various entrepreneural business companies in my teenage years, I would not be where I am today!
REMEMBER THE FOLLOWING OPTIONS FOR EDUCATION:
- Taking single classes for non-credit at colleges or technical academies. You don’t have to be a full time student or working on a degree to take classes. Also, community Colleges offer many if not all of the acceptable training you could get at any big university, with exceptional professors that have industry experience in what they teach.
- Workshops & Seminars: There are really great classes on everything from social media, marketing to art shows and creative advancement for artists and business owners alike, both local and nation-wide. They tend to run between $10-$2000. and offer incredible information in 1-3 day classes. Plus, you get the added bonus of networking with others that attend!
- Conferences, Art Festivals & Expos: Not only do you have the opportunity to showcase your work at some of these places, but it’s a valuable time for connecting, networking and collaborating with others in the creative and business space. You can also learn so much from innovative events like SXSW, Web 2.0 or other tech conferences, where sometimes they offer distinct, niche panels and classes for artists, coders, entrepreneurs, etc. I’ve found that networking with people in other industries always offered me an opportunity to do something outside of my typical work, i.e. show interviews, television exposure or commissioned work for offices.
- Gallery, Museum or Institute of Art classes: If you want to take an art class or specialized artist workshop outside of college, these places always hold classes that run for 1 day to a couple of weeks and can be more affordable in improving your art skills, while giving you some social interraction with other artists.
Just as any industry position will expect, you should acquire more education or training as you work for both enrichment and advancement. Being a full time artist requires the same attention to improve as any other career, so you should always be educating yourself in any way you can. There are always affordable and flexible opportunities. And the web is a vast and profound hub of information and opportunity that you can research right from the comfort of your home. Just as well, I’d recommend you get out in public more and really connect locally with people that are in your line of work, simply to boost morale and inspire you.
Let’s say you want to work in Graphic Design, for example. It’s great if you have any personal experience in working with Adobe Creative Suite, HTML, SEO and some form of web building. Plus, this is hugely beneficial to your work as a self-representing artist when it comes to branding development of your web presence and website! (think avatars, banners, advertisements, profile wallpapers, etc.) You can save money on design for all of your web profiles!
If you want to work in something somewhat OUT of the art business, look for classes that will train you in those subjects. Connect with people in industries that are of interest to you and could benefit you professionally in the future.
Don’t limit yourself to painting or drawing or sculpture, whatever your work is about. Being more flexible in your business offerings and services will not only help you withstand a difficult economic climate but drive away boredom and burnout potential. You want to be more diverse, as you would like your investment portfolio to be! If one project isn’t profitable one month or goes out of season during certain times, you should be able to pick up other projects involving your other skills to meet the financial gaps. For example, as seen in the picture above, I worked on other projects involving my other skill sets (marketing the 2011 Ford Fiesta for Ford Motor Company in 2009). I also try to work on other projects other than art to fill in those gaps between projects or work on my other career as a marketer and connector. That’s the art of being a successful freelancer, and the survival tactic of a successful ARTIST.