Millie’s Guide to Arts Careers
Article written by Scarlet Kim based on Millie’s Guide to Art Careers.
Are you looking for an opportunity to burst out your inner artsy self? Read on to find out the way.
Millie spoke to Zena Khan in Millie’s Guide to Art Careers webinar to hear more about her art career.
Zena is currently a Collection Curator at The AFK Collection. She pursued her Bachelor of Arts in Jewelry Design at Central Saint Martins and her Master of Arts in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art.
What are careers in the arts like?
Zena explains the art world to be divided into two main sectors - you can either make things or present things. This article will mirror the structure of the webinar, and guide you through the two branches of the careers in arts.
#1. Making things
The three main roles of people that make art are to create artwork, comment on society through their work, and solve problems visually. They need to make constant observations of the world and reflect them onto their piece.
#2. Presenting things
People that present art research, document, write, produce exhibitions, and look after art collections. Some also sell and promote art to expand the art market. They play an indispensable role in the artists’ achievement of their full potential. To support the artists’ work, people who present art also need to have as much insight into art and society.
“People that make or present art need to have insight into society.”
What do art schools look like?
The most common path to get into the arts is going to an art school. Here is how an art school may be structured:
- 1 year of foundation: Covers a wide range of topics, narrow down your interests
- 3 years of BA: Mix of studio/workshop classes and seminars
- 2 years of MA
- 3+ years of PhD
Art courses typically have seminars, practical and theoretical lessons,, self-led projects, and extra classes such as language, life drawing, computer design, etc., which are closely related to the student’s future career in the arts.
“Art courses have extra classes to help students with their future career in the arts.”
In addition to these regular lessons, students also get a chance to take part in live industry projects, which is when the art schools use their industry links to companies to let students complete projects set by major design firms and cultural institutions and get mentored by their designers. For instance, Zena met Francesca Amfitheatrof, a designer at Garrard, and Rena Pachachi, a Creative Director at De Beers, during her BA at Central Saint Martins. She also had an exhibiting opportunity offered by Gasworks and Delfina Foundation during her MA.
The final component of a course at art school is the graduate show. This is an extremely important chance for art students to make an impact through their work.
How do I begin a career in the arts?
#1. Get internships
Internships are a precious opportunity where art students can build their professional skills and build networks with senior artists. Students can apply for internships that are already offered, but cold emailing artists you admire can be another way to get work placements. Internships are also a safe chance for art students to experiment with different career pathways.
“Internships are a safe chance for art students to experiment with different career pathways.”
#2. Build a portfolio
Art students’ portfolio reflects their identity. Your portfolio should highlight your strengths and show what you can bring to the job that no one else can. Documenting everything you do is valuable, especially when it comes to the art world. Make wise use of visuals and social media to connect with others and showcase yourself. Check out Zena’s Instagram as an example.
Whether making art or presenting art, being informed of artists, art history, movements, the market, and other art-related sectors is as important as your artistic skills. As many successful artists in the past have done, familiarize yourself with reading, as this will expand your insight.
“As many successful artists in the past have done, familiarize yourself with reading.”
That’s all from us!
If you’d like to hear more from someone with a successful art career, check out the full webinar.
To begin your journey towards an art school, book a free consultation with our experienced team of guidance counselors.