Career Options for Artists

Career Options for Artists

Many people think that art is a skill that has a very specific career trajectory. It could be working for oneself or, with a bit of ambition, opening up an online art gallery, but there are many career options for budding artists. Let's show you exactly what anybody who has a passion for the pencil can truly do.
Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

The Education Sector

While, in one respect, this is very obvious with education roles like being an art teacher, the fact is that there's a variety of other aspects of education that can benefit from a skill like fine art. There can be very specialized areas of education, such as art therapy, which can be taught in hospital or care home settings. 

It's also possible to use your illustrations as part of educational resources. For example, you could sell clip art that can be a part of diagrams in educational books for younger children. Many artists tend to become art teachers or instructors, but it's vital to remember that education is such a vast playing field that it can provide many opportunities that you didn't even know were there.

Media and Marketing

Art graduates can apply their creative skills in a variety of media and marketing roles. Advertising, branding, and digital marketing are in dire need of excellent artists. While there are a lot of people who are using AI to fashion some sort of image for their marketing materials, the reality is that this is in no way going to replace an excellent working relationship with a creative type who needs to get under the skin of a business. 

For example, when it comes to logo designs, iconography and semiotics (the study of signs), this can play into an extremely interesting discussion about buyer psychology. An excellent artist who knows how to create a logo that is not just visually appealing, but incorporates elements of the organization itself in relation to its core values can result in an inspiring image for the organization. 

Of course, there's the animation side of things in the media, and this type of role can be an excellent career progression. So many artists don't think about the linear progression because ultimately, lots of roles can be other freelance in nature. Creatives can progress up the ladder in advertising to the role of art director who is responsible for the creation and the development of advertising ideas, over the focus on the visual appearance, and can be an excellent diverse role because they exist in various formats, not just online or in prints, but film as well. 

Additionally, graphic design is an excellent career option. In this role, people develop the overall layout and production design for various media like branding, brochures and advertisements, communicating ideas through computer software and by hand.

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) Design

Skilled artists have the ability to design in so many different ways like color theory, typography, and sketching, which are all crucial for effective UX and UI design. UX and UI refer to the user journey and experience when interacting with a product or a service typically online. The goal for both is to ensure a positive and fulfilling interaction with a product or service through visual interactive elements and designing intuitive interfaces that result in those meaningful experiences. Both disciplines are complementary in terms of product development, and those with skills in art can have a wealth of transferable abilities to create aesthetically appealing designs. 

Additionally, the skills learned as an artist, either in terms of a formal education or as a budding artist, have learned how to critically analyze and assess their own work, which can be an invaluable skill for UX designers. This critical thinking can be applied to evaluating designs, identifying usability issues, and making improvements. It's always worth noting how skilled artists have the ability to transfer certain skills, especially when they can result in long-term career options. 

It used to be advertising that was considered the ideal career pathway for those who didn't want to work as a freelance artist, but now because of our reliance on products and services online, there's a whole wealth of freelance and career opportunities to the right artist.

A Portfolio Career

Understandably, some artists don't want to venture into something strict and rigid. In this case, a "portfolio career" might be the most ideal solution. One of the biggest issues with art as a career is that the creators themselves don't know what options are available. The fact is that there are so many career opportunities for those who create art, and they're not just in the more obvious ways, but they can span a wide range of industries and disciplines. This is where a portfolio career can be an excellent solution. 

A portfolio career is basically doing multiple roles. The goal is to not overwork yourself, but do the things that actually interest you and earn a full-time wage doing it. This means that artists who are making a meager living selling paintings and their own creations have the opportunity to diversify. Portfolio careers are an excellent solution for those people who don't want to get stuck in one thing, as it allows them to follow their passions and develop their skills appropriately. This means that any of the above could work in combination. 

It's also a savvy career choice because the modern world doesn't seem to have the same abilities to nurture someone for a long period of time, and therefore you could work as an artist in the educational sector doing a variety of different roles—meaning that you are hedging your bets if one of those falls down, keeping a variety of income streams to keep you afloat. Ultimately, it means that life is a lot more interesting, and if you are constantly creating and looking for something new and fulfilling, a portfolio career may be the best career option.

As you can see, there's a wealth of opportunities out there, and this is just scratching the surface. It's vital to remember that you don't have to be the stereotypical "starving artist"—there are many different colors, shapes, and textures that may suit you and allow you to make a living as a full-time artist.


Andrea Smith 7th & Palm was created to support giving away more time and resources to help others. Giving back 1% of our time, 1% of our profits, and 1% of our products at a bare minimum to the local and global community, 7th & Palm remains committed to a 1/1/1 giving pledge. YOU can be a part of that by shopping small and voting with your dollar! All artwork, stationery and greeting cards, prints, and home goods are created by artist Andrea Smith.
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