What is the overall point of a 9-5? I mean, of course the obvious….to pay the bills. But, what about the fact that you have to actually “prepare a legitimate “meal” because you’re going to be away for THAT long?”(words of truth from my boyfriend) Or the fact that you spend a majority of your time around strangers rather than your own family? 40 hours a week, to be exact. Some even more. Given, that doesn’t even include the considerable amount of time it takes to get up at 6:00 in the morning, get dressed, prepare your lunch and breakfast, drive to work, sit in a cubicle for 8 hours with only two 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch, drive back home in traffic, get a little time to relax (maybe), cook dinner, go to sleep, and start all over. Where is the life in that? By society’s standards, that is life. Life by society’s standards means to have a time frame on everything that you do. To work and pay for the things that you barely get to enjoy, miss out on time and family milestones and events, all while most of the time filling someone else’s pockets at a job that you don’t even have a passion for.
What’s even more frustrating is that you’ve worked so hard to get that “dream job”. Whether it be a writer or artist (like myself). Tell me, where’s the fair in that? What’s even more frustrating is that you’ve been told that college is pretty much liable to get you that job that you went to school for. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that it’d be pretty sweet to get compensation for the money and effort you put into a college education if you’re not guaranteed a job. Not just any job, but a good paying job. Your dream job. In the perfect life, sure it’d be nice to predict the state of the economy before diving into the sleepless chaos we know as college.
Now, I’m sure it’s tough for many out there who thought going to college for your passion would be the right way to go, but especially for the art majors. According to Harry Bradford’s “10 Artistic Careers With The Brightest Futures: NEA And BLS” on Huffington Post, finding a career in the arts that will essentially pay the bills is still a continuous struggle. Bradford mentions, “people with educations in the humanities are among the lowest earners, and the expected job growth may be in part due to the fact that artists will often work for less — the median annual wages of archivists in May 2008 was $45,020, for example.” All of this is not to say that artists, or any other humanity majors should lose all hope. The art careers below are expected to increase significantly in 2018:
- Graphic designers –Employment change 2008 – 2018: 13 percent Employment 2008: 286,100 Employment 2018: 323,100 Median annual wages in 2008: $42,400
- Actors –Employment change 2008 – 2018: 13 percent Employment 2008: 56,500 Employment 2018: 63,700 Median hourly wages in 2008: $16.59
- Multimedia Artists And Animators –Employment change 2008 – 2018: 14 percent Employment 2008: 79,000 Employment 2018: 90,200 Median annual wages in 2008: $56,330
- Writers And Authors –Employment change 2008 – 2018: 15 percent Employment 2008: 151,700 Employment 2018: 174,100 Median annual wages in 2008: $53,070 (salaried)
- Architects (Excludes Naval And Landscape –Employment change 2008 – 2018: 16 percent Employment 2008: 141,200 Employment 2018: 164,200 Median annual wages in 2008: $70,320
- Interior Designers –Employment change 2008 – 2018: 19 percent Employment 2008: 71,700 Employment 2018: 85,600 Median annual wages in 2008: $44,950
- Landscape Architects –Employment change 2008 – 2018: 20 percent Employment 2008: 26,700 Employment 2018: 32,000 Median annual wages in 2008: $58,960
- Interpretors And Translators –Employment change 2008 – 2018: 22 percent Employment 2008: 50,900 Employment 2018: 62,200 Median annual wages in 2008: $38,850
- Curators –Employment change 2008 – 2018: 23 percent Employment 2008: 11,700 Employment 2018: 14,400 Median annual wages in 2008: $47,220
- Museum Technicians And Conservators– Employment change 2008 – 2018: 26 percent Employment 2008: 11,100 Employment 2018: 13,900 Median annual wages in 2008: $36,660
Notice, this list doesn’t include fine and visual artists. Most of the above careers involve digital media or jobs that demand so much experience and specific education requirements. With the evolution of digitization, the art industry is in more demand of careers such as graphic designing rather than traditional arts. Don’t let this discourage you though. With that, I have only one piece of advice… start your own business. Let people know that you exist. Put your art out there, so that it gives your viewers a reason to stop and pay attention. Just because statistics or media says it’s a struggle, doesn’t mean there isn’t a demand for the traditional at all. The last thing you want, is to be forced into something you don’t have a passion for. There are still people out there who still appreciate the traditional arts and prefer it to digital arts.
There are some other ways of pursuing that art degree, without feeling like all of your hard work and time have gone to waste. All it takes is some research, time, patience, and learning. Some other careers that involve the traditional arts are becoming a gallery owner, freelancing, marketing, and art consultation. Given, all or most of these career paths require learning a bit more outside of your field but it will be worth it. Besides, being well rounded and having broadened knowledge is never a bad idea. Take out some time to watch some youtube videos or courses on Lynda about marketing, advertising, and using social media at your disposal to help promote your products and craft. Also try participating in nonprofit gallery shows and festivals for exposure. It is possible.
Sure, if you’re willing to go down this route it may require a 9-5 job, but know that this is temporary until you make it on your own. Begin saving. This could be towards your advertising, studio space, supplies, or whatever else you may feel is necessary for what you want to do. Consistency is also key. Without that, it is easy for you to fall in between the cracks, and makes it harder to get your work recognized. It’s hard, and sometimes you may wake up punching your pillow (like I’ve done myself), but all is not lost. You have to keep reminding yourself that this is just temporary, you are a brilliant artist, and one day you will be sitting on your keister collecting the checks. It may be slow, or maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones where you will just take off like a rocket but regardless, there are many options and methods. All of them may not work for everyone because we all are different and have different styles of work. We also learn through trial and error.
If all I had to do in the morning was wake up and paint, I’d be just fine with that. One day, that will happen. So hang in there artists, there is a place for you. It takes time, consistency, patience, passion, strength, research, and faith. There are still those who know what good is.