The one “downfall” of being an artist as that you are never really “not working”. Every time you open your eyes, there’s a chance that your creative senses will tingle at any moment, and a brilliant idea for a masterpiece will form inside your head. As with professional writers, you must drop everything and jot down a few notes, or sketch a little example of what you envision your next work of art to be like.
When an artist travels abroad, they usually take their supplies with strong intensions of capturing some of the beautiful scenery, architecture, and historical landmarks. As rewarding as this can be, it makes a trip all the more exhausting as we rarely experience any down time to chill out, relax, and enjoy a glass of wine accompanied by cheese without picturing how it would look in pink and purple colors of abstract art. Yes, the artists’ mind never sleeps. Relax at the beach? Forget it! After laying in the sun with a towel over my face for eight minutes, I hear too much noise happening around me to miss an opportunity to capture something beautiful. Even if all around is peaceful and the air is silent, the silence itself can speak wonders about the visual beauty living around me.
Most tourists like to go sightseeing so they can take a picture to later show their friends back home, eat the signature local cuisine, and of course purchase a tacky souvenir to prove to house guests that they are world travelers. But not me, Henry Walters, and not many artists I know do any of those things. Instead of spending the day in Rome fitting in as many sights as possible and visiting every hot spot featured on prime time TV, artists will likely scope a new place for about an hour, and then park themselves outside one particular building or landscape and spend the whole day trying to recreate the sight with their own interpretations onto canvas. When I went to Florence in Italy, I spent 40 minutes with a guided tour group before separating and choosing to spend the rest of my day capturing the masterpiece of architecture known as “Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore”. Of course, our guide wasn’t very pleased when they came back and found me sitting on the steps with my sketch pad two hours later, but hey, I’m an artist; don’t hate.
Another detail about the artist when travelling abroad is that 98% of the time we travel alone. I have a beautiful girlfriend of three years, Cynthia, but there is no chance I would ever take her on holiday to a place like Europe or Asia, or anywhere my creative juices would be ready to burst with inspiration. When Cynthia and I go on vacation, we stick to all-inclusive resorts which all look alike with countless buffets, white sand beaches, and a pack of flamingos roaming the lobby. These trips give Cynthia and I the break from creativity we so desperately seek. She is a travel writer; therefore she often travels alone for her work too. Meeting on a beach after a tiring “work” vacation is often just the thing we need to recuperate. The artist is a unique creature. Though we enjoy our moments of solitude where our inspiration can flourish, we do enjoy the company of others just the same as people in careers of other professions.
“Art” is such an ambiguous word, as the Oxford Dictionary defines it as “ the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.” This means art can be in many forms such as visual arts, dramatic arts, musical art, graphic arts, fashion, photography, sculptures and pottery, animation, and even sometimes culinary canal be seen as a form of art. The art I speak of generally pertains to visual artwork such as paintings and pictures, but I also expand my artistic abilities to photography and metal sculptures.
I have gotten lucky (or maybe I’m just talented) and been able to land my dream job as almost a full time professional artist now. But for many, art will always be a hobby or a passion on the side. Artists who choose to pursuit art as more of a hobby tend to settle in careers in the medical, financial, educational fields…anything really. Those who eat, live, and breathe art will try to find a job that incorporates at least some of their creative skills.
Here is a list of several art-related career paths you might want to check out if you are an aspiring artist looking for a day job:
• Graphic designer
• Fashion buyer
• Set designer
• Interior decorator
• Painter (painting houses not pictures)
• Pastry chef
• …and of course you can always teach high school art 101….
There is no limit to the possibilities of what you can do with your creative skill set and imagination. It just depends on what you’re willing to receive as compensation for what you believe is your masterpiece. As a professional artist, the price of a particular work of art can range from $5.00 to millions, and everything in between. Successful artists who make a realistic wage can average around $2000.00 a month. However, an artist’s salary is based on commission by what they sell, and some months will be more successful than others. Designer jobs with an annual salary are much more reliable as they do not usually deal in commission, unless you are running your own business of course.
In the world of fashion, pattern markers and tailors typically make an hourly range between $12-18, whereas fashion buyers are paid salary and can make a comfortable average of $66,000 a year. Of course, if you’re really skilled and become a fashion designer, you can earn almost $75,000 a year, granted you are highly successful.
Graphic designers are more realistic in their career paths, as graphic design is the foundation of the marketing and advertising industries, which in turn becomes the foundation of almost every type of corporation since all seek to utilize advertising and branding strategies to increase their business. If you’ve got a knack for the Adobe Creative Suite, you are on the right path to a career in graphic design. They make a healthy average range of around $40,000, give or take, depending on whether they are salaried or freelance and how much work they get. Working in interactive and computer media pays more handsomely than a career in print. Animators and multimedia artists with a salary can earn an average of $56, 000, and those who make it to be art directors average $75,000 with the potential to make over 100.
Architecture and physical design is where the money’s at. If you want see a paycheck with six figures then be prepared to invest several years of your life and many of your hard-earned dollars in an education necessary to be a successful architect. However, all the hard work does pay off, and you get to breathe life into your creations which become not only artistic masterpieces, but also the important places in the everyday lives of ordinary people. That and being able to take the family on vacation twice a year is not a bad deal for an artist. Of course there is a rule here: the more mathematically complex of a job you have as an architect or physical designer, the more you can expect to fill your wallet. Art is never easy, but architecture, well that’s just difficult!
So don’t be bumped out if you aren’t like me and don’t end up with your face on the cover of NY Arts Magazine. There are plenty of career paths to choose from where you do get to utilize your creative skills and training while simultaneously being compensated for what you do. And maybe if another industry is more suited to you, you can organize the post-its and pens on your desk by color and design yourself a super work space!