Studio Art and Fine Art

Although it's considered an unstable profession, if you're passionate about fine art and studio art, you can obtain the tools for success by participating in educational programs, collaborating with other artists and creating a strong portfolio of work. Read on to learn more about this field.

Is Studio Art and Fine Art for Me?

Career Overview

If you decide to study studio art and fine art, you might practice a broad array of artistic skills including sketching, printmaking, weaving and jewelry making. You may use a variety of techniques, materials and media to create unique visual art. If you decide to become a fine artist, you may sell your work to studios, museums or private collectors.

The work environment for fine artists varies from studios housed in warehouses and lofts to private home workspaces. You may be exposed to harsh chemicals and fumes from paints, cleaning fluids and other liquids. Physical fatigue from working on artistic projects is also possible. It can take years to become successful in a specific area of studio arts, but taking advantage of a fine arts degree program can increase your employment potential. In addition, having an eye for detail, skill in the craft and strength in a particular focus, such as still life painting, can enhance your career in fine arts.

Career Options

Only a small percentage of fine artists are able to support themselves solely on studio art; therefore, you may need a second job. You could find a position as a fine arts gallery director, art critic or art instructor. You may also be able to find work overseeing private art collections for personal clients or corporations.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2012, approximately half of professional artists are self-employed (www.bls.gov). If you find a salaried job in a company, gallery or firm, you can expect to work a standard workweek, but if you are a freelance artist, you'll probably set your own schedule. According to the BLS, fine artists earned a mean hourly wage of $24.47 and a mean annual salary of $50,900 as of May 2013.

How Can I Work in Studio Art and Fine Art?

Training

A studio or fine arts degree is not required to create in these artistic media. Still, a bachelor's degree in studio art can enhance your artistic abilities and increase your chances of finding employment. Furthermore, a master's degree in the fine arts will enable you to teach art at postsecondary institutions. An added benefit of obtaining a degree in this field is the assistance available to create and perfect your portfolio, which is your main self-marketing tool.

Undergraduate Education

You can begin your education in a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Studio Art degree program. You may enroll in filmmaking, photography, ceramics, drawing and digital technology courses. You'll practice perfecting fine arts techniques in studio courses and discuss critical issues pertaining to the art world in lecture classes. You can also expect to study general education courses in mathematics and the sciences before receiving your degree. At this level, you'll begin to specialize in an area of fine art.

Graduate Education

To attain an advanced education, you could enter a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Studio Art degree program. The curriculum includes coursework in art history, theory and criticism. You'll concentrate on refining your skills in your concentration within fine arts. You could also study topics like new media, architecture, performance and visual communication. These rigorous and intensive programs typically last for two years and require a final thesis studio exhibition. The final project allows you to display your understanding of and ability to work in the art form in which you have specialized.

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