When you’ve attended art school or even decided to pursue a career in the arts, it’s easy to get locked into just one type of job. But earning a living as a painter, sculptor or installation artist through the traditional gallery system is not the right choice for everyone.
Fortunately, as a creative individual there are many careers where your artistic skills can translate into a fulfilling career. While it may seem like the options are limited, close examination reveals many different types of jobs where artistic skills are a plus.
Of course, some careers will require additional education or training, but with an open mind and a creative heart, you will find that there are many different paths that art can lead.
Let’s look at five innovative artistic careers that will allow you to express your creativity while earning a living.
More than ever, makeup is recognized for its artistic talent, with makeup artists gaining many followers on social media for their wild creations. Whether you’re working on high fashion shoots, movie sets, or helping the bride get ready for her big day, there are a wide variety of places to show off your skills and work style. For example, makeup artist Andrea Reed uses her lips as a canvas for her artwork, while Mimi Choi is known for her precise illusions created with makeup.
Salary range (United States): $ 20,693 – $ 101,228
If you don’t like needles, tattooing is a perfect way to bring your art to life in an innovative way. From watercolor tattoos to hyperrealistic portraits, there is a tattoo style for every artist. In fact, there are many tattoo artists like Scott Campbell who work in both the fine art world and the tattoo world so you can stand up in both fields. To get started, you’ll need to review local licensing requirements, which vary by country and state. The Alliance of Professional Tattooists is a good start in the US – they recommend at least a three-year apprenticeship in order to learn the equipment and start working safely as a tattoo artist. UK-based artists may want to search for information through the British Tattoo Artists Federation.
Salary Range (United States): $ 18,500 – $ 267,737
If lettering and design catches your interest, you may want to consider specializing in font design. When you think of the ubiquity of typography, from lettering on packaging to computer fonts, there is no limit to the creativity you can get with letters. Considered a subset of graphic design, many typography experts have degrees in the field. Some end up working for large companies, others freelance, creating policies on commission or trying their hand in the retail market by offering policies for sale. If something more manual intrigues you, there is also a big trend in hand lettering, both with large companies and small commercial spaces looking to liven up their design.
Salary range (United States): $ 44,430 – $ 96,500
Have you ever wondered who designs the amazing designs you see on the fabric? A textile designer, of course. If the color, pattern, and graphics intrigue you, this may be the right industry. Designers typically work with fashion or home textiles, creating repeating graphics that cover a myriad of fabrics. Some are freelancers, while others work as part of a larger design team to create the perfect effect desired. Artists who are able to follow clients’ directions, translate their ideas, and turn them into creative textiles, will thrive in this environment. To be successful, designers must also be familiar with a wide variety of textiles and be proficient in CAD. Isn’t textiles your thing? You may also consider taking an interest in wallpaper design.
Salary range (United States): $ 35,664 – $ 81,825
Interested in cinema, video games or architecture? A key part of the team in these areas is the Concept Artist, who works with the Art Team to create illustrations of what will become the final project. This may involve realistic renderings of architectural projects or with a pre-production team analyzing a film script and bringing the written descriptions to visual life. The work of conceptual artists can have a big effect on the final product. For example, the concepts of Disney illustrator Tyrus Wong were integral to the final look of the beloved film. Bambi.
Salary range (United States): $ 31,860 – $ 81,250
15 best job boards for discovering new creative career opportunities
5 creative activity ideas you can start today
How to write an artist statement and effectively present your work to the world
5 mistakes to avoid when starting an independent business