Artist FAQs

So you want to be an artist.. or maybe someone dear to you wants to be an artist.
You may be concerned with thoughts like starving artist and simply not knowing about the field. 
You may be aware of the field, and worry because it's not an easy path. 
This page isn't to sway you one way or another, but to lay out the facts.

RUMORS               COLLEGE

Starving artist

You can become a starving artist by sacrificing essential life necessities in order to focus on art. It is completely avoidable  so long as you're smart about your finances and balancing life priorities with art. 

"artist" isn't a real job

Everything you interact with was designed and decorated by someone. It is a real job. 

what does it actually take?

There's no real formula to being a successful artist. However, the most common traits found in successful artists are: self-motivation, humility, a want to improve, persistence, hard work, helping others, and putting yourself out there. 

make art. get rich. right?

You can certainly make a living in the arts, but you shouldn't assume creating art will bring you immense success and fortune.

are supplies expensive?

Good supplies can be expensive. 

impostor syndrome

It's normal. Many artists, including professionals, will express feeling like they're fooling people into believing they can make great art and that they'll be found out someday. So feel confident in your abilities. 

freelance vs. industry salary

In short, freelancers tend to have higher salaries because they're not given the same benefits as a full-time industry artist, and have to look for new jobs after the project they're hired for is completed. Industry salaries are lower because you're given benefits, materials, and a consistent job. 

freelance is my back-up plan

Unless you have a consistent following already and have been developing your freelance skills and business, it's not a smart back-up plan. It is much smarter and easier to get a retail job and build your craft when you're not at work.

i don't have time

If we assumed you have/get a full time job (typically 8hrs), and wanted to get 8hrs of sleep, out of a 24hr day you still have 8hrs to work. [24 - 8 - 8 = 8] You might argue you have to use some of those 8hrs to commute to work, or take care of daily living chores like making food. You've still got lots of time to get work done if you plan your day well.

generalist vs specialist

This subject is often debated among people, and truly is dependent on the company hiring and your future goals. The advantages of being a generalist is you're able to provide a lot of services; which is especially helpful for developing companies. The advantages of being a specialist is you're able to focus on mastering one subject, which is helpful for companies that want high quality work. 

do I need to go to college?

You should get an education and learn your foundations. College and the alternative can offer great opportunities, but its entirely up to you to control your education. 

does having a diploma boost my chances of getting a job?

No. Companies rarely care about whether you received and completed college education. They care about your skills, and what you can offer them. 

is your gpa important?

It's highly unlikely your grades and GPA will be brought up in a hiring situation. However, they are direct reflections from your instructors, people you're paying to learn from. So if they feel you can improve, swallow your pride and figure out how you can get better. 

getting a job right out of college

Everyone dreams of that opportunity, but its rare and often takes a few months to years depending on your skills. If you get that opportunity, appreciate it and keep learning. 

does my major define my future?

All a major does is categorizes a subject you studied and practiced in extensively. There's no law or "adult rule" that you have to pursue what you majored for life, nor that it's the only thing you can pursue. There are many examples of people who have surpassed their majors. 

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If you still have questions left unanswered or have suggestions for this page, please feel free to reach out. This site is ran solely by me, Mina Roy, so I may respond within one business week.