An arts degree is an education that many might consider to have little potential, often viewed as a degree that offers limited opportunity outside of undergraduate or graduate school. But what is often overlooked is the art major’s educational versatility and solid foundation that can be taken in a variety of promising and interesting ways. An art major can provide a student with communication skills, analytical skills and critical thinking skills, but the art related jobs suitable for an art major can be difficult to narrow down because of the large number of disciplines “art” falls under. While there’s no shortage of art related jobs for aspiring workers, there are a few career paths that are particularly desirable. Artrepreneur investigates several different careers in visual art for the job-seeking art major.
Art Related Jobs for Art Majors
The art major who most enjoys performing introspective analyses of artistic works might consider art criticism. Working as an art critic tends to require both an art and history of art degree. Art critics usually function as reporters for the arts: they write articles that work to understand and interpret meanings and qualities of artwork. These are skills that are primarily acquired through a history of art degree. Art critic job opportunities are more open to those who have years of experience teaching art or art history, or working with museums and galleries. As an art critic, your duties include reporting and writing reviews on local art organizations and artists, as well as gallery openings, shows, and exhibits. Art critics may also teach at colleges, and even work for art museums as curators from time to time. Often times, a critic will concentrate on a specific medium of art such as oils, acrylics or photography. The expanse of an art critic’s potential lies in their ability to analyze, interpret and review different forms of art through writing. If you’re a wordsmith searching for a highly analytical career path, this is one of the art related jobs you’ll want to keep an eye out for.
Similar to becoming an art critic, becoming a curator requires knowledge both through an art degree and a history of art degree. An art major should be aware that often times, a graduate degree is required to be competitive within the curator market. These art related jobs usually require higher education because the precision and detail behind curation is very extensive. A curator’s job is to help an institution collect art and organize that work for exhibitions or for storage. They also care for and preserve the art, as well as conduct tours of the work they compiled. Curators also have many opportunities to travel, searching for new work to collect and display, while frequently lending or borrowing from collections from around the world. Curation is a hands-on and organized job, one that is heavily business oriented but also taps into the art major’s passion for art and its appreciation. As a result, it’s often one of the most coveted art related jobs available to art students.
An art major with a particular sense of business savvy might consider searching for a gallery director position. Gallery directors share some roles with curators in that the curator maintains the artwork while the gallery director oversees and manages the business portion of the institution’s transactions. Overall, directors are in charge of the gallery’s policy as well as managing its day-to-day operations. They can be owners of the gallery or hired by owners, coordinating shows and running the foundations of the business. As a director, useful majors can be topics like art management or history of art. Having experience in art sales or other management roles can also be helpful. Depending on the size of the gallery, directors may also take on the role of curator for smaller galleries, where directors will not only be managing and marketing but also have the requisite knowledge in art to be able to collect it and care for it.
Restoration and Conservation
The work of restoration and conservation artists are incredibly precise and difficult. Regardless, it’s an interesting career path for an art major interested in pairing their knowledge of the arts with a more scientific approach. Conservationists and restoration artists polish up artwork to enhance its appearance; cleaning paintings, re-plastering nicks and blemishes and even improving old film to become more visible. The overall goal of a restorer is to bring a piece back to and beyond its original quality. Between restorers and conservators, the difference is subtle: the restoration artist improves the quality of the artwork, while the art conservator focuses on making sure that the restoration work can be reversed. Both roles require study in not only art and art history but also chemistry and anthropology to be able to understand and handle the artwork in the safest way possible. As a restoration or conservation artist, the passion for the safety, upkeep, and detail of the art is a large part of the job, so if you’re searching for highly technical art related jobs, you may want to consider polishing your science-related skill sets.
Reliant on effective communication and visual appeal, graphic designers immerse themselves in digital media by creating advertisements, brochures and other marketing materials for companies and small businesses. The fundamentals of graphic design are, of course, graphic art and website design. The likelihood of landing a job in this field increases after earning a bachelor’s degree, as well as with a well-rounded portfolio. Unlike artists, graphic designers don’t produce art for the sake of it; instead, their goal is to put across a message to elicit a response through their work. This can often be seen in making logos or selecting color schemes for clients. Graphic designers tend to focus on a particular digital field, like typography, desktop publishing, web design, and logos. Even though graphic design may not incorporate traditional art skills, the technique and mindset behind it can be acquired through an art degree.
The process of becoming an interior designer is structured and formalized, and therefore represents a very alternative career track for an art major. Interior designers create indoor spaces suited to their client’s request or to its intended purpose – whether it be a bedroom, a play area or an office space. Some designers specialize in specific areas or styles, like restaurants, or a phase in interior design. The path to becoming an interior designer requires a formal education, as well as business and marketing skills on top of the individual’s love for design and creativity. Most interior designers need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree and have an experience in courses like drawing and computer-aided design. On top of the technical skills of an interior designer, being able to listen well and communicate is also important. Interior designers must be able to understand their client’s requests and translate them into art before building that vision into a living space. If you’re in search of art related jobs that allow you to apply your artistic eye to practical, everyday spaces, then consider focusing your arts education on this arena.
The field of video game design is steadily becoming one of the more widely sought art related jobs, both by artists and employers. Game designers often work with a team to create video games by coming up with its concepts, characters, story, setting and game play. The designers work with programmers to create the code and artistic procedure of the game. Making video games is a meticulous process, involving the creativity of an artist and the practical expertise of computer programmer proficient in 3d modeling. Having this type of experience, along with a degree in art, is crucial if you’re searching for work in video game design. For most employers, a passion for playing video games is often a prerequisite.
Somewhat in hand with game design, animation has also risen in popularity amongst young artists. Animation art uses artistic skills by administering them digitally and incorporates programming and software skills as well. Animators are responsible for development and production of moving art used for websites, games, and film. Becoming an animator requires this specific set of skills and hours of practice, therefore interested candidates should both pursue an art major and focus on digital courses within that concentration. Having a background in more traditional art is important as a foundation in animation, on which artists can build up their portfolios and demo reel—which is a simple display of animated talent. An entry level animator usually requires a bachelors degree within art or computer graphic areas, along with the passion for the job within the competitive field.
Working as an art professor is rather self-explanatory: they offer instruction and expertise in art to students in universities. This art instruction can be specified and not just general studio-art—for example, there are photography professors, printmaking professors, and sculpture professors. They improve their student’s knowledge and also offer critical reviews, analyze artwork and publish their own work in scholarly articles. To be a professor, a student must be prepared to earn a graduate degree in their field of study and obtain some real-world work experience before turning to the world of academia.
Are you an art major? What type of art related jobs are you searching for?