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Thread: Job as Artsist

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Job as Artsist

    Just wondering how many of you guys have jobs in the Art World. Also maybe some info on how you got in to the field.
    my work- gusion85.deviantart.com

  2. #2
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    "Jobs in Art" is pretty much an oxymoron. Most of the currently accepted "greats" died poor and unrecognized. I've sold a few pieces but they wouldn't buy me a couple of decent meals at a modestly priced restaurant. You don't do art because you want to make money ... you do art because there is something inside you that needs to be expressed.

  3. #3
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    Hi CS,
    Art doesn't pay much unless you hit the big time. (while you're alive, that is, after which it won't really matter). Any stream of art is riddled with aspiring talented people who never make it big be it painting, sculpture, music... whatever.

    what you probably want is a field allied to 'art'. This would ensure that survival happens.

    Graphic design would be a good choiceif you lean towards visual mediums.
    Make enough to pay the bills and yet be close to what you like to do.

    Mind you the criteria for 'doing' things will be completely different if you get into design, but at least the medium might be familiar.

    My two cents worth.
    The more hair I lose, the more head I get.

  4. #4
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    There certainly are jobs in art and the pay can vary widely depending on where you are regionally. If you're in a small town, your chances are less than if you are in a big commercial hub like New York, or Los Angeles or Chicago etc. nd you dive in hands and feet.

    Look at where you see art in the world and trace it back to the client and to the people who put together the art for it. If the client has deep pockets, they're likely to pay better.

    There are different approaches. And the world has changed a lot since I was in the commercial art world for a living. Persistence is important. Networking is important. Dependability is crucial. Skill is sorta crucial, depending on if someone wants to bring you along and train you. Going to a good name school is more important than you might think. But that can be hit or miss.

    Look at what jobs are getting sent overseas and try to assess how long before the ones that are still where you live get undercut by other parts of the world that charge less. Or that some Art Director can do himself because of programs like ArtRage or Photoshop etc etc that make it very easy to generate a good image using graphics or photography. And there's the stockpile of image banks that you're also now competing with. The pieces of the pie are getting smaller.

    Be clever about your career. And if you approach it intelligently, you can do very well at art. Look at where there is a need and fill it. Don't look for what everybody in the third world can do for 25 cents an hour.

    Straight art is one thing. Who knows what value that holds. It's saturated out there. BUT!!!! There is always a need for people who can do art that serves a specific commercial niche -- helping visualization is really valuable and cannot be replaced by someone across the planet or even another city. Many people need someone at hand on the spot to do art as part of a team creative endeavor like designing toys, animation, movie storyboards, etc. Being quick and sure with a pencil is valuable in film. Being also clever with a computer is a tool one can not do without anymore.

    I made a pretty good living at it. And I made nothing compared to those folks who worked the job and did freelance at night their whole career. If you're motivated, you can make a lot of money.

    And there is a real kick out of some of these careers, especially when they include travel or working with a team of creative types who are giddy from making a living doing what they love love love!!!!

    The better your skills, the better your chances. The younger you are, the better your chances. The better you are with people, the better your chances. And then there's luck that comes from getting out there and getting seen and having the right door open at the right moment.

    Everybody has to deal with the world as it is right now, and hereafter. It's hard selecting any career based on it remaining the same for a decade or two. Doctors are a dime a dozen now for that matter.

    A good eye is an asset, one of many that you should cultivate. Then go out there and ask questions of people in the industry you are interested in, I mean the guys who are sitting behind desks.

    It's a different trip for everyone. And I agree, you should pick a life path that is something you actually want to do, that floats your boat, and makes you money. Be smart about it all. And having told you the things I did making it sound possible to do, which it is, there's lots of paths open to a creative person that could be even more fun, and stable where you don't have to spend all your time working or shopping your skills around.

    Pick art as a career ONLY if it works for you on EVERY LEVEL. If you choose to pursue it and it works, nothing could be finer. If not, it sorta sucks. One small part of that suckyness is because being an artist does not always teach you other marketable skills should the bottom fall out of the field you're in. . . perhaps.

    That was a question i myself faced at one point and there's nothing quite like the vertigo you can get while trying to put together a resume in an unrelated field, and it gets worse the older you get. I've had some dry patches in my art career. Had I played it differently, I could have been working fairly steady though. Not sure how it is now. But it's something to look at as you make your decision.

    But look at it square in the eye and see if it's something you want to do. If it is, go for it, and I wish for you all success. Did I say play it smart? Well, tattoo it on the inside of your eyelids.
    Last edited by D Akey; 07-24-2009 at 08:13 PM.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

  5. #5
    Wise words D Akey!

    I'm a full time freelance illustrator, making my living from my art. With hard work and the right skill level it is entirely possible (if not exactly probable) to make a living as an artist - a good number of my friends are in the same profession.

    It certainly isn't easy by any manner of means, but for me the rewards of being my own boss, and painting every working day are well worth it.

    It was always something I wanted to do, and I got into it by degrees - slowly building up a client base initially part time with a day job to support me, then eventually shedding that day job and going full time. I've been full time for about 10 years now.

    You build it up with research, networking and simply turning in the best you can do on every job.

    If I had to give one tip it would be not to launch into business before you have the skills to succeed. You can learn on the job, but you're making it so much harder on yourself. If you make sure your folio of work is of an entirely desirable standard to your target market then you'll do much better.

    If you're interested, I'm a co-host on a podcast for freelance fantasy artists called Ninja Mountain, and we tackle all these kinds of issues on a weekly basis, and it applies to many fields beyond the niche of fantasy art. There's 26 episodes at the time of writing. I'd advise starting at episode one if you can! I'm yet to have enough posts to post a url (which is wildly frustrating, since I have so many useful links!) If you google for Ninja Mountain Podcast you should be able to turn it up. Or more simply search the itunes store. It is free of course, before I come across as a spammer!

  6. #6
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    Rob- i didnt mean trying to sell you own painting (fine art) I meant more along the lines of gaming,videos,movies(exf) books design, graphics novels, anime, and anything else along those lines. Art carriers where you work for someone else.
    my work- gusion85.deviantart.com

  7. #7
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    also!!!

    D and Jon thank you for the lengthy replies these are just the type of answer im looking for. also could you maybe go a lil deeper about how you first got started?? thanks guys.

    p.s. where can i see your work??
    my work- gusion85.deviantart.com

  8. #8
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    I used to work as a graphic designer went to Design school for two years and got a job at an ad agency by showing them a CD of my work and bugging them and then later as a layout person at a magazine publisher... but never sold a painting or did much traditional art before using artrage. I used photoshop and Illustrator and Quark or InDesign and back in the day Freehand and Pagemaker. I mostly did ads for businesses. I can think of about five people immediately who do art professionally as a living who are on this site or were on this site who are connected to the professional world and a few who have worked as graphic designers. That is my limited knowledge though there are probably more than that. So it is not as bleak a picture as you might imagine. Nowadays in art school it is usually you that gains the peripheral information and does the work for an education. In graphic design it is helpful to have a broad knowledge of the history of such and love typography.
    As a production designer, entry level in graphic design, you have to be able to know your typography, have editing skills layout skills as well as design skills. Be able to work fast and produce consistent quality work from a little doodle the client gives the creative director. Also you are at the whims and limited knowledge sometimes of the client... the art director or creative director is the one fighting for your creativity (sometimes hopefully... not much of your opinion is usually sought at this stage. In the comic realm... draw, draw, draw all the time. In the 3d animation world... great drawing skills as well as understanding the 3D programs and loving doing the CNC type stuff. You could probably expect to make around 75k or so if you got in with a good studio. Maybe more. Web design is still a pretty good talent to have. They make around 30 to 40 k a year and up depending on position. Programmers are always in demand of course but then you have to love code with a passion and be able to do amazing things and spend long hours looking at code before actually visualizing the art.
    As far as selling art in a traditional media sense it seems to me I keep seeing a lot of folks doing quite well with a website and a few galleries showing their work as well as marketing it. Then again you would have to be consistently producing quality work or have supplemental income. Being able to produce a lot of good paintings would be required and the marketing of them. You could also supplement by doing art seminars. Still I think that the selling of digital art prints is not at all lucrative yet. I don't think people ever pay 2k for a digital print. Lots of people pay that for traditional art originals. If you could get to that point wow you would only need to sell five or six a month to make a pretty decent living. Galleries take 50 to 60 percent of the sale and you often buy the materials out of your end. Still again you only get to sell the originals... once, unless you also have gained the money and notoriety enough to sell prints of the originals also. I have seen some artists selling originals in oil for around 10k each and always selling out on the web... but suppose they are the exception not the rule and in great demand. Design school might be a starting point for a career? A high percentage of jobs turn out to be web design work after graduation. I believe there are a few who do the gaming design and fantasy art that could tell you what you are looking for... how to get into that.

    P.S. Glad Jon posted... he is one of the professionals I know of that are art rage fanatics here. Here is a thread of his work.

    http://www2.ambientdesign.com/forums...ad.php?t=20724


    Also Fashmir, Waheed, Hannz and Bob Ross I believe are in the professional artist realm. Nick Harris is an amazing illustrator...http://nickillus.co.uk/ Brian Tinzo used to stop by here quite often but has since disappeared somewhere in northern England. An acclaimed and professional artist after a career in graphic design. SuzieQ was a graphic designer retired I believe and now an artrage and iphone artist gaining some acclaim.
    Last edited by screenpainter; 07-25-2009 at 11:19 AM.

  9. #9
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    I'm trained as a graphic desiner but can't seem to get a break into that field so I'm selling prints of my art online and starting Tupperware to pay bills as party plan for my friends while reskilling at tafe certificateIV in assesment and training which will in15 weeks allows me to become a tertiary teacher at uni tafe or with business
    "I like to have a thing suggested rather than told in full. When every detail is given, the mind rests satisfied, and the imagination loses the desire to use its own wings."
    ~Thomas Bailey Aldrich~

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by chambersecrets View Post
    also!!!

    D and Jon thank you for the lengthy replies these are just the type of answer im looking for. also could you maybe go a lil deeper about how you first got started?? thanks guys.
    I'm afraid there is no first 'door' in. The drawbridge is always shut for all intents and purposes. Do you still want to get in? How would you do that do you think?

    You just keep circling and tapping on the castle walls looking for an opening. Throw up a grappling hook and scale the walls. Call out someone to sneak you over the wall or put in a good word for you with the captain of the guard or the king. Or wade through the muck and slosh in through the sewers. Just be damn sure you wash and change clothes before you see any noblemen. And be sure to keep your portfolio pristine.

    THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL DOOR TO ENTER THE ART SCENE!!!!!! The openings keep appearing like a wormhole and then just as quickly closing. And sometimes after a long run of being inside, you can suddenly find yourself scratching your head from deja vu. And you have to find a way back in again.

    Hell you want to get into gaming? A career in commercial Art can be analogous to playing Super Mario Brothers. And it can be as much fun too. But watch the fireballs.

    How did I do it? Once I had a portfolio, I got lists of everybody in town that might use an artist and I made phone calls and got interviews. Once you get your first job, people begin to take you a little more seriously. A percentage responded with work, some modest and some mind blowing. And in the corporate arena, with full time employment, it always seemed to boil down to the artists vs. the MBAs. But the door in those cases is through the head of the department who is or was himself usually an artist.

    Be persistent. Do kick ass work, on time, and get paid. And keep building and strengthening your connections -- Forever.
    Last edited by D Akey; 07-25-2009 at 10:42 AM.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

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