Artistic careers are valid, should get support


One night over summer break, I was having a conversation with a family member about school. They had asked what my plans were after I graduate high school. Sadly, after I mentioned my desire to major in art, the mood of the conversation completely dropped. They looked startled, and even questioned my sanity. For many young artists this, unfortunately, can be a common occurrence.

It seems that no matter who I talk to about my desire of becoming an art major, it always ends the same way. Shocked faces, questioning my assurance, and then the famous quotes “Well, besides that, what do you really want to do?” and “Sure, that would be great as a hobby, but what about a career?”

I feel that the doubt I and others like me receive as an aspiring artist could be devastating. It can turn students like myself away from going after our goals and actually finding a career we are passionate about. Nobody wants to turn their calling into a hobby, though sadly there are many that do because of the negative response it can provoke.

People can be skeptical about the idea of pursuing such a “risky” career, but the reality is, it is not as risky as it seems. It is very much possible to find a stable job in the art industry.

When people think of an art degree, I am sure they imagine an independent artist, creating and selling art from their studio in the Bay Area. This is because “art” is usually associated with fine or commercial arts.

Studying art after high school is more than just learning how to paint and sketch. Most art students go for the “in between” where they can pursue specific job opportunities in history, education, or administration of arts.

 History students learn about the development of art over time, and can become art historians and gather information about famous works of art. Arts education students learn about the different artistic styles and techniques. They can move on to careers like becoming an illustrator or teacher. Finally, art administration students take courses in business and art to focus on careers that organize commercial projects for businesses and art influenced incorporations. As for myself, I am still left undecided about which path I would like to go with, hopefully I will find it soon.

With technology changing the way we perceive and create art, it also creates way more job opportunities, and better chances of success with larger audiences through the internet. Students are able to take up careers in graphic design, entertainment, and advertising.

Like any career choice, art still has risks. Yes, you’ll never be out of work, because you create your own work, but the truth is finding a stable job in any field can be risky, even the “sure fire” careers like computer science or medical assistance.

The future is never easy, and trying to change your personal goals to make it easier won’t help. No matter what career you pursue after school there is going to be stress and anxiety. Finding a perfect job is unlikely for most, and finding happiness in work is a challenge.  If you’re willing to fight for your passion, then you should pursue it.