Alternate Careers for Artists

Wondering if you shouldn’t pursue a career in the arts because you’d rather not be a struggling artist? Don’t let this common belief derail you from your creative aspirations. Any artistic field can be competitive, but consider these new careers that will allow you to capitalize on your artistic abilities

You might have noticed, but more and more jobs are revolving around computer technology. And, as you’d expect, jobs for artists are no exception. But just because so many of your art school classmates decided to go into web design doesn’t mean that you have to as well.

In fact, there are plenty of other careers that require a creative and artistic eye. To help you think outside the web design box, here are four alternate jobs for artists.

Industrial Design

Commercial and industrial designers work with material scientists, engineers, and marketing executives and apply their expertise in art, business, and engineering to create manufactured goods.

An industrial designer is responsible for the safety, functionality, style, and durability of myriad manufactured products. By working closely with clients, industrial designers strive to improve a product’s utility and functionality while meeting requirements for materials, size, shape, weight, and various other characteristics.

Most industrial designers have a bachelor’s degree in things like industrial design or architecture. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design also accredits around 300 postsecondary colleges and universities with related art and design schools.

Graphic or Web Design

Careers in graphic or web design are particularly unique due to their interdisciplinary nature. Not only should you have a traditional art background, but you’ll also need technical skills to help bring your creations to life. 

Packaging Design

Artists that want to apply their creative talent to commercial use might enjoy a job in structural packaging design.

Package designers sometimes work alongside marketing teams to design the packaging for consumer products. As anyone who has looked at all the packaging in a supermarket knows, many colors, materials, and shapes are employed to sell various products and goods. A packaging designer works to make sure that a client’s package is both aesthetically attractive and functional for handling and shipping. A packaging designer may partner with designers and art directors as well as clients to take a concept into a real-world product. This job involves creating multiple prototypes and working until an affordable and attractive package design has been achieved.

Print Design

Print designers use their artistic eye and graphic design abilities to create designs for printed media, such as books, journals, and magazines.

As a print designer, you’ll be responsible for the ultimate layout and format of different printed media from magazines to newspapers. Print designers can also work in brand logos and help to create graphic standards. Many print designers also design print collateral including newsletter templates and advertorial layouts, as well as datasheets.

Set Design

Set designers help to create and shape the mood and feel of an entire world of a movie, play, or television show.

A set designer is responsible for conceptualizing, researching, and constructing sets for TV shows, plays, musicals, commercials, and movies. The job is highly creative but also highly collaborative, as the set designer often needs to work alongside everyone from sound and lighting technicians to directors and costume designers.

Art Therapy

As an art therapist, you’ll appreciate the emotional well-being and mental health benefits art has to offer. Help a variety of patients cope with stress or traumatic experiences by allowing them to express their feelings through painting, sculpting, and photography. Through this creative process, patients sometimes gain new insight about themselves that might be difficult to describe with words.

As an art therapist, you’ll also need to get certified so you can work with patients and the community around you. If you enjoy hands-on art and helping others make breakthroughs in their life, you’ll find a career in this industry especially rewarding.

Culinary Arts

Who says art degrees have to be restricted to a paintbrush or pen? Fine dining and cuisine can allow you to bring your creative visions to life as a cake decorator or pastry chef. This unique medium is relative to sculpting, but it also requires you to learn basic culinary techniques and how edible ingredients react to each other when mixed together.

Careers as a pastry chef or cake decorator might allow you more artistic freedom than other positions, but other cooking careers can also challenge you to present entrees in new and artful ways as well.

Salary and Industry Outlook

Pursing an art degree with a minor in areas like business or computer science can help give your skills a competitive edge. An artist’s (painters, sculptors, and illustrators) average salary is $21,500, compared to a multimedia artist who earns $79,000. The average earnings for a chef are anywhere from $22,000 to $37,000, and the starting salary for marketing and advertising majors is $43,325.

While all industries mentioned are projected to see growth, the increasing popularity of the Internet will cause a greater demand for multimedia artists and online marketing majors. Combining your art skills with another minor or major will make your skills more marketable to employers.

Schools and Education

Finding an art school with relevant and up-to-date majors can be difficult to find, especially with a job market in constant flux. Look for schools with strong media arts and business courses to give yourself a head start.

You’ll find art, advertising, and graphic design classes are backed by other courses to help you understand how these occupations fit into “the business”.