Can You Turn Artistic Talent into a Career?

Do you think of yourself as an artist? It can be difficult to find the line between a hobby and a potential career. If you’ve been told you have a great talent for the visual arts, you may have considered art school. Whether you’ve always sketched on your notebooks at school, or if you’ve enjoyed working with your hands at carving or pottery, it can be hard to determine whether you have a real calling or just really great amateur aptitude.

Because art school is more accessible than ever thanks to online degree programs, and also because a broader range of art programs exists. Perhaps you’re most interested in graphic design, or animation, or game design. Those are degree programs you can find and apply for more easily now than ever. Maybe you’re interested in filmmaking or cgi—those are career paths you can choose to embark on while still in school. Some programs are two year associate’s degrees, while others are four year bachelor’s programs. Many colleges and universities also offer master’s in fine arts courses either online or with non-traditional hours to help those looking to transition to new career paths.

But how do you know if you have what it takes to really make it in the professional art world? Many artists recommend plugging into your local artistic community. Enter your work in contests, take free community art classes, seek out input from educators and other artists alike. Find mentors who can talk to you honestly about your artistic potential and whether you may be ready to take your art career to the next step. If you don’t have those opportunities in your local community, look for communities of artists online who can fill the same role for you.

If job security is a concern for you as you evaluate the possibility of an art career, turning to other artists for input can help answer your questions. Plugging into communities of other artists will also help you get a feel for the lives professional artists live. Maybe art education is a career path that would interest you, maybe a more corporate path in graphic design would work well. Talking to other people already working in those fields can help take some of the guesswork out of finding a career path for yourself in the creative arts.

One of the most important things to keep in mind if you are considering an art career is that it takes a lot of creative energy to produce consistent artistic output to keep up with an art degree program. If you like to make art, but it’s only something you enjoy doing on occasion, that is something to keep in mind as you think about an artistic career path or a degree in visual art. Maybe you enjoy the work more when it is a hobby and it would lose some of its luster if it became a full time job. There’s nothing wrong with keeping your artistic endeavors on a smaller, more personal scale. You’re the artist, you decide!