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Topic: Artistic-y jobs, anyone?  (Read 1851 times)
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Spoongirl
« on: September 29, 2005 01:13:04 PM »

Hmm, I'm not too sure of what I'm writing, so bear with me.

Anyone have/ know what kind of jobs you can do with art? And if you do, how did you get there? Design, selling...stuff. Tell me, I wanna know all about it!

Sorry, I'm beginning to worry about the future and what kind of options I have  Undecided

Any comments will be greatly appreciated, as I am COMPLETLY clueless. Thanks Xx
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craftsbian
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2005 05:33:45 PM »

I am working at the job of my dreams!!! I am an elementary art teacher.  But for other options, check out this web sight http://art.nmu.edu/department/AD_Career-Jobs.html It has a lot of usefull links.  Good luck!
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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2005 06:00:28 PM »

Ohh...how i wish i had an artistic job... i currently work at a huge, cold, nasty law firm. Dress code and everything. i'm starting school (very slowly, taking only one class)...so maybe i can put myself in a fairly artistic/crafty environment. My advice now would be to take the job you have, and MAKE it crafty. At my old job, working as an office manager for a beauty supply warehouse, and I started a zine. The monotony and unlimited access to the photocopier called out to me... and while i am at work at the firm, i browse Craftster with an insane zest, using legal size paper to make patterns from the many tutorials. Just keep your crafty spirit alive!
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Sweet_Enemy
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2005 07:51:36 PM »

Well, I've been working at an independent art supply store for about five+ years.  I get to talk to artists every day and come up with solutions for "how would I do this_____?" everyday.  Occasionally the retail aspect will wear me down, but overall I interact with good people.  It's cool when you have someone come in who's just starting out, and then you get to help them take off and really get into what they're doing.
We have regular (but very informal) art shows in the store every two months, so I get to see what they're doing if they haven't brought stuff in to be framed yet...which leads to:

Lots of art stores have a Framing department, and I was doing our framing for almost two years (after helping out for two years previous!)  You do need to do lots of training (i.e. reading, practicing, researching, workshops if you can, etc.) to really do good, and not do harm, but that's something creative and very rewarding.  Definitely not for everyone though, and I'm glad I'm not responsible for all of it now!

Also:  There's lots of cool craft schools in my area that do small workshops, things like that, if you have any in your area they might be looking for help...

good luck!
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2005 09:10:43 PM »

I work as the gallery coordinator of an art gallery...and I don't like it all that much. It's fantastic being around the art and getting to handle and curate it, and being part of the art world and meeting the movers and shakers of such. But it's a lot of boring work, like entering pieces into the database and sticking stamps on mailings. And it's a LOT of sales, trying to encourage people to buy the art. I'm terrible at that, but a lot of people really love that aspect.

Anyway, that's one job that is artsy that people do and that some people like and has it's pluses and minuses.
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2005 01:56:30 PM »

I have a few bits of advice for what they're worth. 1) follow your interests/passions. When I was an undergrad I wanted to major in art history/studio art/film theory/English but got talked into Poli Sci because "humanities majors can't get a job". This is NOT TRUE.
2) Be open to whatever path life leads you. As a result of the above I ended up working in a variety of careers including residential care for adults with disabilities (where I organized craft nights, produced a newsletter on community activities etc) and study abroad (where I worked with the art schools & students) so I tried to incorporate it into whatever I was doing.
3) Don't give up! I eventually went to library school thinking "I am going to be an art librarian". At first I was told I couldn't because of the poli sci degree, so I went to work at a law firm, but eventually I quit the firm, got an internship in an art school library, and now I am a slide/digital image librarian, and it's awesome. It's not like being a studio artist, but I work with artists, art historians and amazing images, I get to mess with photoshop and slide/digital production, and it all inspires my own work. I am more productive with my own art than ever before. Sometimes the right fit isn't exactly where/what you were looking for.
4) Call/email people who have interesting sounding jobs and ask if you can interview them. This is scary at first but most people love to talk about themselves and love to encourage interested people. This is not asking FOR a job but asking them questions about THEIR jobs. Write down your questions in advance, be prepared, polite, and don't stay more than 15-20 minutes. Just tell them you are exploring potential careers in the arts and want to learn from them. They will say no if they can't do it, but usually they are impressed with your initaitive.I was terrified when I started this but most people were more than happy to talk to me, and I would never have heard the term "visual resources curator" if I had not done it...and now I am one!
5) Volunteer, network. I volunteered for a while in a museum, and was offered a part time job. It never led to full time as I hoped but I did meet lots of people, added it to my resume, and got good references, so it definitely helped. There are often volunteer opportunities in all kinds of arts organizations, and the people in that community tend to know each other, so get out there and chat with people, you'll have interesting conversations and may just learn about a career path you never thought of or an opportunity you can pursue. A lot of people in the arts like the opportunity to informally mentor and encourage younger/less experienced folks, so you will likely find people who are receptive to your dreams. Join groups, classes, attend openings, volunteer to take tickets, whatever: get involved. You will help build your local art scene as well as your career.
I hope this is helpful, this is something we all struggle with, but the biggest obstacle is fear and insecurity. that sounds like a cliche but only because it's true. Have you read the Sabrina Ward Harrison books? I adore her, and she's very inspiring when doubt starts creeping up. http://www.sabrinawardharrison.com
Good luck!!!
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2005 01:58:17 PM »

Damn, that was a long answer! Shocked after trying to answer that question myself for 35 years, I am passionate about helping others muddle through a little quicker!
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2005 11:34:55 AM »

I followed somewhat the same path as batgirl.
I work as a registrar in a museum. Meaning, I got a degree in art and I don't wait tables.

Seriously, though. I started as an intern/volunteer. That seems to be a big starting off point. Most people who have these kinds of jobs stay in them forever and as much as I hate the term, if you want to succeed and move up and get lucrative positions, networking is key. (networking is the term I hate). When I was an intern, I came 3-4 times a week and worked almost a full day. Mainly I wanted to get my internship over, but I was dedicated to what I was doing. At the time, I developed an educational booklet for students about our museum. (oh, by the way, this is the museum I work for http://www.metalmuseum.org ). I ended my internship and got my degree. I was called back 4 months later, asked if I wanted to catalog slides. I said yes, because it was much better than working at sporadic catering gigs and leasing apartments. I don't get paid much, but I have medical insurance. Which is good, because 2 months after I started I found out I was going to have a baby. So I sat and cataloged slides in a really bad database. Then I went on maternity leave and when I came back 4 months later I was made the registrar. The lady who had done it before didn't really do much in all the years she was there so she was not there any more.

I got to completely overhaul the library, slide management system, and website. I campaigned to get an easier collections software for our library and archives. The one we had before was obsolete and not very user friendly, besides it was geared toward law and corporate libraries, not museums. I also handle incoming and outgoing loans, accessioning new pieces to our collection, and keep paperwork for exhibits and permanent collections. I work on the website when I can. And like batgirl, I also scan and catalogue a library of about 25,000 images from slides of metal art, architecture, processes, etc. I catalogue books for the library our museum is opening in 2007. It's a big job, and one I feel will set a foundation for my career in other museums. Then hopefully I'll be able to demand a higher salary. I plan to go back to school and get at least a museum studies certification, if not a master's degree. My family and I are hoping to move to southern california in the future.

If you want to work in museums, I suggest checking out the American Association of Museums. They have a lot of special interest committees and resources for people working in the museum field.

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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2005 12:43:03 PM »

I agree with Jenmkat about the term "networking", but at the same time it's so crucial! I think we "arty" types tend to shy away from "business" concepts because we feel they are cold, and we tend to be more "giving" than "taking" sorts of people. That, and it's hard to get the left and right brain working at the same time! Huh But that reluctance is also our downfall when it comes to having good careers. So, although I hate the term "networking" too, I also can't emphasize enough how helpful it is! And there's a huge difference between having a genuine interest in what someone is doing, and wanting to be a part of it, versus coldly seeing "what they can do for you". So, if you approach it as wanting to learn from others/share ideas etc the gain is almost an afterthought. It's important that you know the difference between creating a network of colleagues and friends and who are supportive and striving toward similar goals, and using people to get ahead. Think of it as Craftster for your career!  Wink But, yeah, I wish there was a better word! Now for some Craftster networking...Jenmka t, are you a member of VRA or ARLIS? I was at the AAM conference in Indianapolis last spring. It was HUGE! Did you see the live bat guy??
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2005 12:54:42 PM »

Jenmkat also has a great point about AAM. Professional organizations are HUGELY helpful, if you have figured out the field you are interested in, or want to learn more. Conferences, if you can afford them, are great, you learn alot and most have career resources, workshops, resume reviews, etc. There are usually reduced membership rates for students, and sometimes you can volunteer for a break in conference rates. Most have listservs and forums (and not all require membership to join the list). Some I have found helpful are:
Visual resources association (http://www.vraweb.org)
American Library Association (http://www.ala.org)
Art Libraries Association of North America (http://www.arlisna.org)
College Arts Association (http://www.collegeart.org/artjournal/)
American Association of Museums ( http://www.aam-us.org/)

There are tons more, too, depending on your interests & location.
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Spoongirl
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2005 02:44:12 PM »

Oooh, thank you so much for putting so much effort into the replies. I really appreciate it. And I suppose your guidence will probably help others as well as me. So, yey! Thanks!
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2005 07:22:04 AM »

I'm trying to figure this out too, but I figured I'd throw my two cents in Smiley  Note that I've got no degree tho, just several incompleted years as a fine arts major...

I worked for a while at a production company, that did work for retail stores.  There was a department that painted huge murals, a department that did digital work, a department that did faux finishing (that's me), etc.  It sounded like a dream when I was hired, but after a while it became apparent that it was very, um, sweatshoppy. Smiley  That being said, it looks great on a resume, I may not have gotten the experience I thought that I would but I still learned a lot.  And most importantly, I made tons of friends there and met people who all made art on their off time and had similar goals as me, and it's great to have a circle of people like that to look to both for inspiration and a cheer squad (why can't I think of a better phrase than "cheer squad"...).  AKA - "networking"  Lips sealed

I've also worked at a theater research library, it wasn't a terribly artsy job but libraries and museums are always a good place to go.  I tend to look for the non-standard creative jobs anymore... in college (and still, really) my dream was to work for the Jim Henson Company, making puppets and props.  There's a costume company in my city that makes really great stuff, I applied there too but no luck. Cheesy  Trader Joe's (delicious groceries) is a great company to work for and they hire sign painters for their stores.  Right now I work at a huge antique mall - there's a bit of art and creativity there, too.  If you're not someone who loves office work, but loves to learn about, talk about, and handle artwork, you could be an art dealer vs. working specifically at a museum or library.  There's art preservation, too.  If you're in school, there's always art supply stores, galleries and museums of various sizes, creatively-minded shops, and production studios that you can try to get a little part-time job at while you're there for some good experience and great contacts.  Or, make things and sell them online!  Your own successful business would be the most rewarding.  And what I hope I can do someday.  Because I don't want to go back to school.  Wink
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« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2005 11:15:31 PM »

I have a different sort of artsy job- I'm a landscape designer.

I'm 31 now, and I have been in the field since I was 16. I started out being an assistant to the other designers, just inking, coloring, and labelling landscape designs.

I went off to college under the guise of getting an teaching degree, but planned to switch to majoring in art once I got my parents off my back. I didn't even get that far- I missed my job, thought long and hard about my options, and came back home, went to school for horticulture, and have pretty much stuck with that ever since.

The thing I like best about landscape design is that it combines art with nature. I hand render all of my designs, so I get to get somewhat artsy with it, but since rendering other's designs is what I did for 10 years, it's not as exciting now.

And now, what I really want to do is be a full time professional artist/crafter. I work very part time with a landscape company right now. I have my office set up at home so I can work on designs at 3 am if I want to. Depending on where you live, it's also a very seasonal job, but it works out great for crafting since I have Christmas time free for craft shows, and I also have weekends off for fairs in the summer. Actually, I totally make my own schedule.

I could go on for hours and hours about my job, schooling, the plants I like to use, projects I've done, etc...but I won't do that here! If you want to know more though, I'd love to help you (or anyone else) out. I take a lot of pride in being able to drive past places I have designed and see them thriving (or not thriving!) years later, and seeing how they change, it's very fulfilling.

What's NOT good about my job is that I hate it when someone wants to rip up something that's fine as it is just to keep up with the neighbors. Sometimes the customer wants to do things to their property that make me ashamed! My ideal customer is one who wants to add color to attract wildlife, or in some way enhance what they have. Luckily, I get a lot of that. I also have major issues with sprawl, and my environmental ethics have started getting in the way of my job enough to the point that I just won't do that type of thing anymore.

See, look how I continue to go on. Smiley

In  closing, I just want to say that if something like this appeals to you, also look into landscape architecture. That's more of a city planning/commercial type of thing, and requires much more schooling than I had. Different companies specialize in different things, so if you wanted to be more of an environmental artist you could do that.
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Panik
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2006 04:00:35 AM »

batgirl, I just wanted to say your first post was very inspiring and informative. it's made me really excited for some reason, thanks!
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2006 06:32:52 AM »

Aww, thanks! I just figured it took me so long to get my act together that I might be able to spare someone else some of the "exploring"!  Cheesy As a sidenote, I recently moved to a new city and I'm trying to figure out how to meet people (I work in a tiny department and have "outgrown" the bar scene, don't go to church...) so I just took a part time job as a museum security guard! Apparently a lot of local artists, musicians, writers, etc work there so I am looking forward to new friends and connections. The extra money won't hurt either!  Wink
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