art careers

185 Art-related Alternatives to a Full-time Art Career

Finding satisfying options for art-related careers.

To begin, I would never discourage someone who has the passion and wants to become a full-time artist to choose otherwise. It is a unique, noble and worthy way to make a living. That said, as with all entrepreneurial endeavors, going full-time is challenging.

Success as a full-time artist is complicated.

Becoming a successful full-time artist requires more than artistic talent. It requires a business mind, a marketing mind and a willingness to endure during dark patches where your income does not meet your expectations.

In other words, it often requires sacrifices for those who are not the beneficiaries of a spouse or other family members or friends who will support them in the early going. Life’s not fair. The only fair measure of success is what you really want to achieve and how well you do in getting there.

This blog is for all artists, regardless of status.

Readers of this blog know I work hard at providing practical art business and art marketing advice designed to help artists become more successful. The How to Make Success Selling Art to Interior Designers post is a perfect example. Response to it indicates substantial interest in the subject. So, stay tuned, or subscribe for future posts with more details on selling art to interior designers.

Now, whether or not you are destined to make full-time artist status, you will find the ideas, information and inspiration published here helpful in reaching your art career goals and potential. Know one thing. You do not have to work full-time as an artist to have a rewarding career as an artist.

Priceless advice.

I shamelessly tell you my ideas are worth following. Here is my best advice in a nutshell.

Choose your goals wisely, evaluate your resources fairly, execute your plan daily, and measure your progress regularly. Never be afraid to regroup and move to a higher calling when the spirit moves you, or the situation forces you.

Gratitude and respect are their own rewards.

Be grateful for the many opportunities before you. Never measure your success against others. Your path is yours alone, uniquely. When you understand and acknowledge that you and you only can define your success, your life becomes simplified in the right way. Moreover, through such self-awareness, you become oblivious to negative opinions of those who ultimately do not matter to your art career or art-related career.

Xanadu Gallery artists are all full-timers.

My art marketing broadcast partner, Jason Horejs, who owns Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, once told his Red Dot Blog readers in a post on artistic production that he does not have any artists represented who are not full-time. His reasoning makes sense. He is looking for artists who are committed, both to their full-time art careers and to meeting his minimum production expectations for representation in the gallery. He has found the production part is highly problematic for artists with outside obligations.

Balancing your day job and your art career.

Previously, I have written about how When Greatness in Your Art Career Competes with Your Full-time Job. In that post, I used myself as an example. That is, at the time I wrote it a few years ago, I worked full-time in a tech sales and support position for a large domain, hosting, and email provider. I found the work both informative and helpful in feeding my inner geek. More importantly, it provided a needed steady income, health insurance, and retirement benefits. Without the job, adequate health coverage was almost unaffordable.

Art-related Alternatives to a Full-time Art Career

If you are not yet ready to move into a full-time art career, I hope you find considering some of these art-related careers as possible leads towards an ideal situation for yourself. To learn more about any of these alternative art careers, use the Oracle, aka Google it:

Airbrush Artist / Spray PainterFiber Artist
Architectural IllustratorApparel Accessory Designer (Shoes / Bags / Hats)
Graphic IllustratorDressmaker
Technical / Textbook IllustratorEmbroiderer
Story Board IllustratorFashion Consultant
CartoonistFashion Designer / Sports Apparel Designer
Commercial ArtistFashion Merchandising
Fine Artist (Painter)Pattern Maker
Printmaker / Screen PrinterCostume Designer
Courtroom ArtistQuilt / Rug / Linen Designer
Art ConservationistFabric Textile Designer
Special Effects MakeupT-shirt Designer
Mural ArtistFashion Merchandising
Tattoo ArtistFashion Design
Caricature ArtRug and Carpet Designer
Courtroom Sketch ArtistWallpaper Designer
SculptingMakeup Artist
Graffiti ArtJewelry Design
MuralistShoe Design
AirbrushingTextile Design
Comic Book ArtPattern Making
Costume Design
Advertising DirectorInterior Designer
Logo / Branding DesignerArchitect
Advertisement DesignerNaval Architecture
Sign DesignerLandscape Architecture
Magazine Layout DesignerGolf Course Design
Book / eBook DesignerUrban Design
Packaging DesignerSwimming Pool Design
Calendar /  Stationery / Wallpaper DesignerPlayground / Theme Park Designer
TypographerInterior Designer! Decorator
IllustratorSet / Stage Design
Technical IllustratorIndustrial Designer
Home Staging
EDUCATIONFurniture Design
Art EducatorProduct Design
Art School DirectorAutomotive Design
Primary / Elementary TeacherIndustrial Design
Middle / High School Art TeacherTransport Design
University Lecturer / ProfessorToy Design
Private Art InstructorKite Designer / Utensil Designer
Art ProfessorMiniature Model Maker
Art HistoryMockup Artist
Art HistorianIndustrial Designer / Bridge Designer
Display and Exhibition Design
Gallery Owner! AssistantPotter / Ceramic Designer
Picture FramerFloral Design
Online CuratorMosaic Art
Museum CuratorGlassblowing
Art / Design / Color ConsultantWoodworking
Art Restorer ConservationistBlacksmith
Corporate Art BuyerMetal Fabrication
Art Handler / ShipperIce Sculpture
Museum TechnicianScreen Printing
Giclee PrinterPrint Design
Art Marketing ConsultantTaxidermy
Art Agent / Business ManagerStained Glass Window Designer
Art DealerWood Turner / Carver
Art TherapistMosaic Designer
Art Supplies RetailerJewelry Designer
Art Curriculum WriterWeaver
Art CriticGlass Artist
Arts AdministratorProp Designer
Arts and Cultural PlannerCake Decorator
Art AuctioneerFood Product Designer
Museum Exhibit Design
Graphic DesignAdvertising Photographer
Web DesignFashion Photographer
Logo DesignFood Photographer
Multimedia DesignPortrait Photographer
UI/UX DesignFine Art Photographer
Layout DesignUnderwater Photographer
Book IllustrationWedding Photographer
Medical IllustrationStock Photo Seller
Storyboard ArtistDirector of Photography
Book Cover IllustrationMacro Photography
Film & ProductionCelebrity Photography
Film EditingWildlife Photography
Set DesignAerial Photography
Nature Photography
Video Game DesignAnimator
Video Game DirectorConcept Artist
Game Level DesignDigital Illustrator
Web DevelopmentDigital 3D Modeller
Motion Graphics DesignWeb Designer
Animation & EffectsiPhone / Android App Designer
Motion GraphicsTelevision / Film Producer
Visual EffectsDocumentary Filmmaker
3D AnimationCamera Operator
Computer AnimationFilm Editor
3D ModelingSpecial Effects Designer
YouTube Video CreatorVideo Game Design

Skills in your day job improve your art career.

The above list touches on art-related career paths you could choose. It is not all-inclusive. Please use the comments section at page bottom to add your suggestions and thoughts. Most of the positions listed require specialized knowledge or further education, either at the university level or through apprenticeship. Nearly all need the perspective of an artist.

These jobs will allow you to increase your knowledge and skill sets and help you make your art career, whether full-time or part-time, more fulfilling and successful. Because of the requirements of an artist career, many artists have the experience to some degree in any number of these art-related career fields.

For instance, if you make art, you will need to understand the basics of how to frame it, how to ship it, how to market and sell it. You probably have photographic and digital art software training and skills, and a lot of other jack-of-all-trades capabilities. No matter what art-related career you decide to pursue, you will acquire and hone valuable skills that can lead to new opportunities.

Your day job can become your ideal job.

You may find an occupation that is more lucrative and rewarding than you might have been able to accomplish as a full-time artist. You may also discover your knowledge is a perfect stepping-stone to help you leap to the career of your dreams as a self-supporting full-time artist.

The good news is there are no bad choices here. At worst, you start in one direction and go to another when your first choice is not right, or a better opportunity presents itself.

Here’s an additional resource from Pixpa you will find helpful: Art Jobs Perfect for Fine Arts Majors. Check it out!


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