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"Taking Paying Work...
I was surprised that theatre work can be so very stressful. Working with actors can be incredibly erratic, because they tend to be ego-driven. A costume designer has to deal with their biggest insecurities, because we are creating how they look on stage. Alternately, when the actor has some humility, they often say that my work really helps them create the character." (Costume Designer, Make Up Artist; 2013)
"Move To The Big City, Young One...
The emotional fulfillment is useful, but the experience of other artists' work is continually inspiring. That you really have to be an artist to discover some of the most wonderful art and artists out there in the world today is the surprising thing." (Artist; 2013)
"Making Commissions Work For You...
A lot of people think artists who work for themselves have a lot of freedom. Surprisingly, I have almost no freedom to create the art that I choose. I always have to create commissioned works based on the patron's vision and I do not have the time to freely choose what I create." (Fine Artist; 2013)
I am surprised that there is not more need for art, unfortunately art has really dropped to the back of people's minds and budgets. Also in schools art is being pushed aside to focus on sports and other endeavors." (Artist; 2013)
What surprised me most about my profession is how much of being an artist is selling yourself along with your work. The artists' ego and "myth" is almost more important in selling your work than actually having good and interesting work, you yourself have to be completely intriguing." (Artist; 2013)
"Loading Your Brush...
In retrospect, the one thing that absolutely surprised me was how I was emotionally moved by the interaction of the colors on my canvases; to this day they still mesmerize. For me, the creative process is one that demands attention, but at the same time it provides great satisfaction. There is no right or wrong to creating a work of art, it is the interpretation which moves one to feel, to think, to experience an emotion; all of which may be the correct answer. There are those that don't value art as a "real career", but when a person is passionate enough to keep doing what they love, no one can tell you that you can't do succeed. Another surprise is how time seems to disappear when I am working. An artist with passion may not be able to walk on water, but he can certainly paint it!" (Master Artist; 2013)
"Internships Are A Must...
It is impossible to get a job in the real field I want due to lack of experience. EVERY ONE wants 3-5 years experience and does not want a new graduate. It's even worse being a girl, I can get an interview but it's a highly male dominated field." (Game Design; 2013)
"Important Of Networking...
The thing that surprised me the most about going out into the field of graphic design is how important it is to not just be able to show your portfolio, but also talk about it in detail. People underestimate how important speaking and writing skills are in the field of art and design. Those new to the field need to not only be able to show their skill visually; also explain their intent, their concepts, and convince those around them of the strength of their designs." (Graphic Designer; 2013)
"Get A Bachelors' Degree...
A two year degree will only get you a low paying job. If you don't mind working in a plant nursery in all weather for minimum wage, that's ok, but I expected more. I worked in landscape design, and that was kind of fun, but that was not regular work and only a little higher pay." (Landscape Designer; 2013)
"Gaining Useful Work Experience In Art As An Undergraduate...
I am most surprised by the number of teaching jobs there are in art. This is true even if you do not have your degree in art education." (Free Lance Artist; 2013)
Most people would be surprised that there are not many opportunities for textile artists. Most people do not quite understand that a textile artist works with various fibers to create art." (Textile Artist; 2013)
"Do What You Love!...
I am surprised most about how location has an effect on how sales of art are made. I have sold more of my art out of the area I live in than with in the area . This area is sort of stuck in one genre . I do very well when I go to crafty artsy locations where the people are more open minded than traditional." (Craft Artist; 2013)
"Continue To Update Skills...
fact that I could have got same degree @ way cheaper school also a lot of my work is hands on learning" (Graphic Designer; 2013)
"Building A Portfolio Early...
I was surprised that there is more to it than just the animation. I didn't realize how much people skills were required because you need to be able to deal with clients well." (Animator; 2013)
It is surprising how many responsibilities you can have as a graphic designer. I work doing pre-press for a manufacturing company, but because it is a small company, I do a lot more than separate files. There is marketing campaigns, website design, and customer graphic design. With such a board range of activities, it is hard to get bored. I have quickly developed a wide range of skills." (Graphic Designer; 2013)
"Art Career Preparedness...
The different art I'm asked to create. Some unique pieces some are generic but all are art." (Artist; 2013)
Finding freelance work is a easier than you may think and can be done while you're in school. There's a fair amount of remote work out there and studios don't care or ask if you're in school; all that matters is that you can do quality work." (Animator; 2013)
"I was surprised at how useful my writing skills were when communicating with clients. Being friendly, literate, and helpful goes a long way when it comes to pleasing the customer." (Freelance Artist; 2012)
Freelance Artist: "The best thing about this position is that I can stay home with my two kids and two animals and earn some income at the same time. It was very challenging trying to find a job that would work around my husband's unpredictable schedule (and frustrating as well). So it was nice to be able to stay home and do something I love and earn some much needed income. One of the worst things is the clients that don't respond to messages or stiff you on payment. It's very rough sometimes. You need to be careful about how you conduct business. Ask for half down before starting a project so you know they're serious." (2011)
Costume Designer, Make Up Artist: "To have a productive career as a costume designer, I would recommend getting as much paid work as possible, as early in your career as possible, and just really focus on doing any paid work you can find. During your summer breaks in college, really find some theatre to work on." (2013)
Artist: "If you want to be a successful artist, you must surround yourself with other artists, and make connections as much as you are able to." (2013)
Craft Artist: "If you want to be happy with your life in art do what you love. do not let others mold your work to fit their desires. Yes I know sometimes you will have to alter things you create to make a sale but when you work for yourself it is less about the desires of others and more about the expression of the self." (2013)
Artist: "Starving artists starve because they don't live near a larger metropolitan area. If you're going to be a happy artist, you need to sell art and be part of a larger artist community, therefore you should live within easy traveling distance of a large metropolitan area. If you don't already live near one of the biggest cities in the world, move there - New York, LA, the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, Paris, London, etc, or at least to one of the larger cities with a known artist population like Seattle." (2013)
Artist: "Make as many contacts as possible, always have business cards and samples of your work handy at all times, you never know who you will meet. Go to as many art shows and openings as you can, make your presence known." (2013)
Game Design: "You should try to get an internship in your field as soon as possible. Work on your portfolio, nothing else matters in getting an artistic job." (2013)
Animator: "If you want to be an animator, you should start off being willing to work for any client you can find, even if the pay is not great. This way you can get a larger portfolio to show others a better sample of your work for higher paying clients." (2013)
Graphic Designer: "If you want to get a job as a graphic designer, ask everyone you know! All businesses, large and small, need graphic work done. Be open to learning as many different parts of graphic design so that you become invaluable to even the smallest company," (2013)
Animator: "Always work on improving your craft. If you're good at what you do, there will be work for you." (2013)
Graphic Designer: "If you want to be successful in graphic design, you need to network as much as possible. Talk to other designers, make acquaintances at your jobs. This will help you not only at your current workplace, but also in finding more jobs down the line." (2013)
Fine Artist: "If you want to work solely on a commissioned basis, take photographs of your work so that you can create and sell prints and continue to make money off of them even after you have sold the original." (2013)
Graphic Designer: "take time research career hand on maybe intern or try field first" (2013)
Landscape Designer: "Forget about the two year degree. Stay in school and get a Bachelor's degree. That will be worth the time and money. Bachelor's degrees are more universal than Associate's. An associate's is only good for that field and it gets outdated. A bachelor's will get you jobs in other fields. Many employers don't care what your major was, only that you finished." (2013)
Master Artist: "Whether your beginner or accomplished painter, don't compare yourself to other artists, you have your own talents and passions, paint with passion and you'll create with confidence. Try to keep the proverbial brush loaded. Sketch, draw, doodle, and do it all of the time; its your practice, your rehearsal, your prepping and it will help you make the smooth transition into the real work that awaits you. Don't listen to the critiques especially from other artists, you are not painting for them, you are painting for yourself or for your patrons. It will help keep your mind clear and your brush moving." (2013)
Free Lance Artist: "If you are definitely interested in being an artist, take as many art education courses as you can so that you can gain steady work while you create your art. You need not graduate with a degree in education, but some background is helpful." (2013)
Textile Artist: "If you plan to be a textile artist plan on putting more into it, than you are going to get out of it."" (2013)
Artist: "Make sure you have an excellent art portfolio and are willing to work hard and long hours." (2013)
Freelance Artist: "Well first of all, study marketing and how to self promote. Do lots of research on different freelancing sites and places to display your work. Odds are clients will come from all places, so the more work you have out, the wider your reach and possibilities of landing a job/commission. Make sure you protect yourself by having an invoicing program or billing program. It is mandatory to conduct your business like a large business, even though it's just yourself. Never undersell yourself. There are so many positives to being a Freelancer, but it is tough and a constant struggle to land jobs. But it's worth the effort." (2011)