Careers in Art [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Blythe Camenson
eBook Category: Business
eBook Description: Careers in Art offers all the information career seekers need to explore and choose a profession and then narrow it down to a job that suits them. The book provides an overview of the field of art, outlines job options, and shows how to plan and prepare for a career.
eBook Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies/VGM Career Books, Published: 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2002
Successful artists might tell you that they never consciously chose a career in art -- the profession chose them. Although skill in creating art is something that can be learned, refined, and honed, many people feel they came to their work with an inborn talent; it was just something they could always do.
Whether art is something you never questioned would be your niche in life, an interest you discovered, or a skill you actively sought out, the career choices for you are numerous. In this book you will learn about the variety of settings in which you can work as an artist and the variety of job titles you can call yourself.
ART AS A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT
Human beings have been expressing themselves through art since the beginning of recorded history. The need to create and to share those creations has been an all-consuming force that even a millennium or two has not suppressed.
Early cave paintings suggest a collaborative effort. For each clan artist (except for the first) there must have been a teacher, a mentor, and a clan historian -- the storyteller who passed on significant events from one generation to another. Perhaps there was even a color and design expert to discuss pigment and the most aesthetic placement of drawings upon the walls.
The image of the starving artist painting alone in a garret belies the fact that, today, collaboration continues. Artists study and are influenced by those who came before them. Other artists, also called art historians, delve deeply into the art of past and more recent cultures, then share that knowledge through their writings and teachings. Art educators also contribute, teaching budding artists of any age the time-tested techniques and methods for creating a variety of art -- from ceramics to computer graphics.
Even art critics add to the collaborative effort, albeit inadvertently, helping to shape public tastes with their opinions. Museum curators and art gallery owners further the cause, choosing which art to display, which artist to promote.
Although many think of the creation of art as an individual effort, art does not stand alone. It functions in its own ecosystem, in which each component -- like the water we drink and the air we breathe -- is essential to the survival of the whole.
Where you can fit into this system is an individual choice, based on your interests and skills and desires, but the choices are varied. The degree of talent and skill you possess, the area that interests you, the amount of time you are willing to devote to study, the setting in which you prefer to work, and the kind of income you hope to earn will all influence the career path you choose.
But before you commit yourself to a path, explore it first. And if possible, begin that exploration at the beginning, with the question of education and training.
IS AN ART DEGREE NECESSARY?
For the gifted prodigy, probably not. This rare individual can work alone and produce magnificent works of art. But even those who are extremely talented can still benefit from professional training. Learning about other artists can help shape our own creations. Having the positive influence of a mentor can help introduce the art student to new techniques and media.
Not all artists create art for art's sake; studio art is not the only path to follow. Many careers in art require a degree: graphic artists, art educators, art curators, art historians, art restorers, art critics, and even art sellers must receive professional training and aquire experience to compete in the job market for these very popular fields.
In reality, most successful artists have pursued some form of higher education to hone their talent. Because educational options are as varied as the different careers in art, you must carefully consider which art program is right for you.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT ART PROGRAM
There are almost as many different names and focuses for art programs as there are job possibilities. Some common names are applied arts, fine arts, cyberarts, computer arts, computer-aided design, studio arts, art education, art history, museum studies, commercial arts, graphic arts, industrial arts, design, communication arts, and visual arts.
Art schools, institutes, colleges, and universities categorize their art programs in a variety of ways. In some institutions you will find the art department encased within colleges of liberal arts or humanities departments. Others have separate art schools. Still others combine art programs within the school of architecture, or with advertising, public relations, or other related disciplines.
The program or department name does not always obviously convey its focus. An aspiring art teacher would waste precious time enrolling in an art studies program that emphasized commercial art or design.
Many university programs allow for a great deal of latitude in designing majors and courses of study. It is now common practice to offer interdisciplinary degrees.
Art majors wishing to teach can take advantage of the interdisciplinary approach. It can be particularly helpful with the decisions future art educators must make concerning their studies. Should they pursue a B.F.A. in their chosen subject area, then work toward a teaching credential? Or should they study art education with a concentration in one of the subject areas?
There is no single correct answer. These decisions must be made individually, based on research into specific programs, personal long-term goals, and the availability of local programs or the ability to relocate if necessary.
As examples, several art programs at various institutions are highlighted here to show how different institutions focus their curricula. But, ultimately, you must continue this research, requesting catalogs, visiting campuses, and talking to other students and faculty members. An informed decision about your training program will only enhance your career opportunities.
SAMPLE ART PROGRAMS
Art Education K-12: University of Toledo, Ohio
You may, through the completion of 191 to 192 hours, become certified in Ohio to teach art in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The art education program of study is designed to develop your knowledge and skills as a student, teacher, and artist. A broad foundation in the liberal arts is an important facet of a strong education. With this in mind, you must complete 55 to 57 hours of general education. A critical element in the development of effective teachers is a strong professional background in the fundamentals of education. During this component of the program, which totals 26 hours, you not only will be introduced to the history, philosophy, and psychology of education, but also will have the opportunity to work in public schools to begin to get a feel for actual teaching. Course work of 10 hours in art education for the elementary classroom introduces you to methods and techniques for teaching art skills, art history, art criticism, and aesthetics. The 25-hour professional sequence in art education provides the final phase of teacher preparation. During these courses, you will be involved in numerous field-based instructional opportunities, including student teaching.
Central to the program of study is the development of your skills as an artist. Specific content areas of study include 25 hours of two-dimensional studies such as drawing, painting, computer graphics, design, and printmaking; 9 hours in three-dimensional studies such as ceramics, metals, and sculpture; and 18 hours in studio electives. Study of the history of art, which may include international travel, provides the final 15 hours of course studies.
Finally, your program of study will be completed by selecting an additional 18 hours of concentrated course work in studio art, art history, or art education.
The University of Toledo also has art programs in cyberarts, photography, sculpture, ceramics, painting, metals, printmaking, drawing, and art history.
Rhode Island School of Design
One of the most prestigious schools in the United States, the Rhode Island School of Design offers programs in the following areas: apparel, architecture, art education, ceramics, film and video, foundations of art, furniture, glass, graphic design, illustration, industrial arts, interactive arts, jewelry, landscape architecture, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and textiles.
Rice University, Houston, Texas
Rice, founded in 1912 by William Marsh Rice, is a small private university dedicated to the promotion of letters and the arts, science, and engineering. Throughout its history, first as Rice Institute and later as Rice University, the institution has enjoyed a reputation for excellence and selectivity in a quiet and spacious campus setting. Current enrollment is about 2,700 undergraduates and 1,200 graduate students, numbers that maintain a remarkable one-to-ten faculty-student ratio.
Rice's president has observed, "We are extraordinarily fortunate in the setting provided for our pursuit of liberal as well as technical learning. On the campus as a whole, we are able to be a community of inquiry that allows, encourages, and even requires the collaboration among students and faculty that characterizes education at its best."
Within easy walking distance are the Museum of Fine Arts, the Contemporary Arts Museum, and the Museum of Natural Science.
Rice offers a unique environment -- the personal atmosphere of a small liberal arts college and the intellectual stimulation of a research university within a large, lively, and diverse urban center.
Rice's School of Humanities houses the Art and Art History Department, which awards the following degrees: B.A. and B.F.A. in art history, studio art, film and photography, and archaeology; M.A. in teaching; and M.A. in art history and classical archaeology.
For students interested in teaching in secondary schools, a program of teacher training leading to certification in the State of Texas may be completed together with the B.A. degree. This program is administered by Rice's Department of Education.
Art History: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
The history of art is a rich and multifaceted discipline, embracing the entire course of human history. Within this broad field are many areas of specialization, but overarching issues define a unified sense of purpose among all art historians. The concentration in the history of art at the University of Michigan is designed both to introduce students to a diverse repertoire of art from wide-ranging cultures and to expose students to a number of specialties in greater depth. In general terms, the goal of the undergraduate program is to enable every student to acquire the following skills and knowledge: a familiarity with some of the great works of painting, sculpture, and architecture produced by the civilizations of the world; an awareness of the religious or personal values and of the intellectual and social conditions that surrounded or are embodied in these works of art; an awareness of the ways the making of works of art -- indeed, of all humanmade things -- has grown or evolved in the course of time; a grasp of the nature of the concept of quality; the ability to analyze the qualities of works of art and also the qualities of the buildings, streets, and everyday objects that lie outside museum walls; the capacity to enter into the spirit of works of art that are culturally (and geographically or chronologically) distant and to draw conclusions about the aims and intentions of their makers; a sense of the rich history and varied methodological approaches of the discipline; and the ability to express feelings and impressions about art.
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
The design curriculum at MCAD teaches students how to identify and approach design problems, find creative and responsible solutions, and execute those solutions with precision and flair.
All design students start with courses that examine the general principles of design and techniques used by the designer. These courses draw from disciplines such as sociology, psychology, and anthropology to help students better understand cultural influences and their future clients.
In studio classes, students apply this knowledge and develop technical skills in hands-on projects. Through creative exercises they learn the techniques required for professional practice.
In the areas of graphic design, illustration, and advertising design students generate ideas and imagery, use color, integrate images and text, and explore the dynamics of typography and page composition.
Furniture design students approach their studies from three key points of view: the creation of individual pieces from the artist's expression, the mastering of the ability to design for a specific purpose or patronage, and the skills of relating individualized designs to industrial processes.
Students with a graphic design, furniture design, or advertising specialization are required to take computer graphics courses. Computers are used in most design classes to produce work and are important tools for exploring and experimenting with alternative methods of solving typography and image problems. All design majors are required to take theory and methodology courses and to complete a senior project.
Visual Arts: The School of Art, Montana State University, Bozeman
Montana State University houses the School of Art, a professional school within the College of Art and Architecture. The department offers courses leading to a B.A. degree with programs in ceramics, jewelry and metalsmithing, painting, drawing, graphic design, sculpture, art history, and art education. Montana State also offers an M.F.A. degree in ceramics, jewelry and metalsmithing, painting, drawing, and sculpture. The professional art program at Montana State enjoys a national reputation and offers the training and personal guidance necessary for a successful career in the visual arts. All programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
YOUR CAREER OPTIONS
The aim of this book is to help you narrow the wide range of choices and find the career path that best suits your education, interests, and skills.
This book explores five main art career options. Although it is not exhaustive, this list of main tracks comprises hundreds of different job titles. Many are explored throughout the following chapters under these primary categories:
As mentioned earlier, this list is by no means exhaustive. As you read, research, and talk to other working artists and art educators, you may unearth several other possibilities for yourself.
Also, as you read many of the firsthand accounts included in the chapters ahead, you will see that often artists don't limit themselves to one particular career track. Portrait artists also design T-shirts. Potters work in living history museums. Graphic artists do stints in art galleries. Sculptors work in advertising agencies.
Whichever track you ultimately choose, your decision to be flexible will ultimately broaden your employment options.
SAMPLE JOB LISTINGS
As a preview, take a look at the following samples of actual job listings. They offer an overview of the types of duties you would perform and the working conditions you can expect. They also specify the training you would need to qualify.
Position: Art Director
A leader in the casual entertainment software industry is seeking a senior art director to join our team. Individual will be responsible for the art direction and design of classic games software titles. This hands-on creative position involves overseeing creative development, defining the look and feel of the product, and supervising artists. Primary production responsibilities include 2D design and illustration; knowledge of 3D helpful. Requires technical knowledge of art tools (Photoshop, DeBabelizer, FreeHand, After Effects) and development engines. Industrial design, graphic design, or related degree required. Minimum four to five years of professional design and supervisory experience. Familiarity with Internet applications a plus.
Position: Web Production Artist
A high-profile Internet commerce leader needs full-time Web production artist to create banners, scan and touch up artwork, create original elements for the existing site, and contribute to the design of our new site slated for next year. Immediate opening. We're looking for someone who is creative and highly organized, has a great sense of humor, and understands the power of good design. We need someone who already has strong Photoshop, ImageReady, DeBabelizer, and scanning skills as well as a good understanding of image compression and Web palette issues. (Flash and HTML skills are a plus.) Must be Windows and Mac literate. Benefits include a stock plan as well as medical, dental, and vision insurance.
Position: Senior Designer for Travel Magazine
A national consumer magazine has a position for a full-time graphic designer. Applicants must have magazine experience and interest in travel. This is a full-time salaried position. The salary range is $30,000-36,000 depending on experience.
Position: Graphic Designer
Hip interactive point-of-purchase merchandising company seeks flexible graphic designer to help bring hot new projects to life. Candidates must be familiar with the latest graphic design and DTP tools (Photoshop, Illustrator, PageMaker, Quark XPress, etc.), but, ideally, also be able to do some work with traditional materials. If you're ready to exercise creative license and can thrive in a dynamic environment, send your resume to us.
Position: Graphic Artist
With over 600 retail superstores and record-breaking sales of more than $6.7 billion, our growth continues. Join us now in our fast-paced advertising department. Requires proficiency in Quark XPress with a minimum of five years' experience. Knowledge of retail advertising for production of catalogs, direct mail, and newspapers a plus. We offer competitive compensation and excellent benefits including 401(k) plan, on-site cafeteria, and a business casual working environment.
A well-established greeting card company seeks talented illustrator and cartoonist. Prior related experience preferred. B.F.A. or M.F.A. preferred but successful portfolio may substitute for formal degree. Starting salary in the mid-$30s. Send cover letter, resume, and slides.
Position: Art Curator
Opening for a curator of visual resources; reports to assistant director, collection development and curatorial projects. Develops coherent plan for managing collection of 1.75 million study photographs of art and architecture. Implements organizational, cataloging, and preservation work plans to enhance scholarly understanding and accessibility. Participates in museum's overall collection development programs, acts as subject bibliographer, and recommends acquisitions of special collections and visual resources materials. Conducts scholarly research, provides advanced reference, and participates in activities including exhibitions, lectures, and publications. Requires Ph.D. in art history or related humanities discipline, or equivalent combination of training and experience; comprehensive knowledge of the history of art with two or more specialized research fields within the broad areas of Mediterranean archaeology and European art from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century; fluency in relevant languages plus reading ability in two other western European languages.
Position: Exhibits Registrar
Registrar is responsible for creating, organizing, and maintaining orderly forms, legal documents, files, and retrieval systems. Organizes, documents, and coordinates all aspects of borrowing and lending objects, including handling, packing, and shipping of objects. Will supervise implementation of a collections management database and maintain the database and records associated with the art collection. Required qualifications: bachelor's degree or equivalent; minimum two years' experience in museum registration, fine arts shipping, or related experience; knowledge of conservation and storage practices, legal matters related to the collection, copyright laws and policies governing rights and reproductions, insurance requirements for the collections, and packing techniques and transportation methods; demonstrated ability to plan and implement multiple projects and work independently; flexibility in originating sound solutions; ability to work in an organized manner; ability to travel two to three weeks at a time.
Position: Exhibits Technician
One of the nation's most prominent and historic sites has an excellent opportunity for a hands-on individual with experience in building and maintaining exhibits and handling artifacts. Requires minimum two years' relevant experience and proficiency in carpentry, fabrication, and basic art skills. An interest in U.S. military history is a plus. We offer competitive salary and benefits.
Position: Art Instructor
Full-time art instructor to instruct freshman and sophomore art theory and studio courses within a one-person department. Minimum requirements are a master's degree in education with twenty-four hours' concentration in art or an M.F.A. Preference for community college experience. Eligible for state postsecondary licensure. Salary commensurate with experience.
Position: Art Educator
Fixed-term, one-year position. Ph.D. in art education preferred. Teach undergraduate art education and participate in the elementary program. Advising, relevant research, creative work, and service to community expected. The Art Department employs ten faculty members and offers over 240 majors for B.A., B.S., B.F.A., M.A., and M.S. degrees. NASAD accredited. Excellent resources, library, gallery, visiting artist program.
Position: Art Instructor, Sculpture/Ceramics
College seeks applications for a two-year non-tenure-track term position at the assistant professor level beginning September. Teaching responsibilities will include two offerings each of beginning to intermediate sculpture, beginning to intermediate ceramics, and a 2D/3D design course. M.F.A. in sculpture (preferred) or ceramics and a minimum of two years of college-level teaching experience required. Salary competitive and consistent with level of experience. Candidates are expected to have high aptitude and interest in undergraduate teaching, a commitment to the liberal arts, and a desire to involve undergraduates in creative work both inside and outside the classroom. Send letter of application, curriculum vitae, slide portfolio of recent work, undergraduate and graduate transcripts (unofficial acceptable), a detailed statement of teaching philosophy and goals, and three letters of recommendation.
YOUR JOB SEARCH
The sample job listings give you an idea of what's out there. When you are ready to start your job search, you can use conventional methods like newspaper ads, word of mouth, the Internet, job and recruitment fairs, direct calls, and blind resume submissions. But each job discussed in this book also has its own avenues to pursue. The following chapters will lead you to those avenues and get you started in the right direction.
Copyright © 2000 by VGM Career Books