Studio artists, also known as fine artists, create visual artwork – things like photography, drawings, illustrations, sculptures, and paintings. Students enjoy creating art for many reasons, whether it’s to express themselves or bring an idea to life. Students usually share the same goal when it comes to majoring in studio art: to further their craft and hopefully land their ultimate dream job! However, many people have a hard time understanding what is and isn’t appropriate to say to an artist…
1. “I bet your classes must be so easy!”
People outside art-related majors tend to assume just because you’re an art major, your classes are easy. While I agree that some art classes may seem more enjoyable than a math class, it still gets exhausting. Producing portfolio-quality artworks, being assigned different projects, and having about 25 sketches per class due every week can be a lot! Especially knowing that the type of career you want is very hard to come across, you need to work hard to stand out amongst all of your classmates!
It gets tiring hearing, “your major is so easy,” and, “I bet all you do is sit in a circle and finger paint” (a real quote). Not only do art students get assigned various art projects throughout the year, we also have to learn the history of art all the way from the prehistoric era to the most recent of paintings! Art students essentially learn about the artist behind each piece, how the piece was made, the history and meaning behind it, and more!
Long story short, if all art college consisted of was “finger painting and easy classes,” I wouldn’t be paying all this money for an education.
2. “Can you draw me for free?”
No, I can’t.
Constantly asking artists if you could draw them and saying how it’ll be “easy” or “quick” and refusing to pay is a pet peeve to any artist. Asking for a free drawing won’t help them or give them “exposure.” An artist’s work takes time and effort, and they put a lot of money into their supplies and education, so instead, pay them when you want to request a piece of art.
3. “Why do you charge for art? I can do that myself.”
I charge for art because this is my profession.
This is the artist’s career and they are providing you with a service. They have bills to pay, just like anyone else. Artists will charge for the cost of materials (which can be pretty pricey, by the way). They charge for their skill, which they’ve taken years of expensive schooling to master. An artist will also charge for the hours that they’ve put into a piece. Not to mention, many artists, including myself, tend to feel like a part of them is in each piece of art they create, so a buyer would need to pay good money if they want the artist to part with their creation.
4. “What job will you get with an art degree?”
There are plenty of possibilities when it comes to jobs for studio art majors.
Artists may have many different choices when it comes to jobs, but unfortunately, these jobs may be hard to come across. If you know someone already working in the field you want, that’s a plus, and you may have an easier time getting in. I recommend marketing yourself as best as you can by participating in art shows or building a following on social media, for instance. Also, landing internships would help a lot, as you can add them to your resume and it’ll provide you with the experience needed for many companies. Some ideas that studio art majors can consider are: art teacher, photographer, illustrator, printmaker, art curator, fashion design, artist or animator for games or movies, art therapist, art historian, tattoo artist, body painter, and so on. Just because finding a career in art might be hard sometimes, doesn’t mean it’s impossible!
5. “There are no art jobs, why don’t you study something that’ll get you a job?”
Chances are, art students are aware that it’s hard to land an art job, and you are definitely not the first person to tell them that.
Not only is it extremely rude, but it will not help nor change the artist’s mind. Many studio art majors study art because it’s their passion. Artists don’t care for “regular jobs.” Most of us would rather hustle to find an actual job that we would enjoy that challenges our creative skills instead of waking up every morning to some job we hate. This just means that some artists will have to work harder to land that career that they’ve been working towards, but that doesn’t mean it’s “impossible” or there are “no jobs.”
All in all, majoring in studio art can be very rewarding. There will always be people who don’t understand it, but that doesn’t make it pointless. Art is one of the only major that gives you full freedom of expression, and what’s more fulfilling than being able to express yourself?