The Myth of the Starving Artist


The Canvas


Up until recently, the prospects to be found in art careers were thought to be pretty dim. One could expect to work at least one minimum wage job after college (if they are really fortunate), and finding a successful job was a shot in the dark, a faint hope at best. The picture that comes to mind: a poor and struggling individual who can barely make ends meet, painting in a gloomy, old apartment.

However things have begun to change; the art world is evolving as more and more opportunities are being created, jobs that never existed before are creeping into the forefront of the art world. It is estimated that incoming freshman of the upcoming college school year will hold jobs that are not yet available to students who just got out. It appears things for aspiring artists are beginning to look up as more and more career choices being offered to BFA and MFA graduates.

What has caused this sudden upturn in the art world? In reality there are a lot of contributing factors that have helped the opportunities for artists to flourish. Part of it has to do with the developed world taking a deeper interest in the creative aspect of things such as advertisement, industrial design, and the like. Even the geeks are getting in on the fun, creating art using their knowledge about physics and biology to create works of art that are respected and thought-provoking, earning a place in the art world for a most unexpected guest…science. As businesses need more interesting and more inventive ways to model, craft, and distribute their product, their eyes are falling on artists who can give them a new and fresh take on something they’ve looked at a million times before. Another reason why BFA and MFA graduates are finding it progressively easier to obtain a job out of college is due to the guidance and internships (not to mention other opportunities) while they are in school. Nowadays art schools have addressed the issue of the so-called “starving artist,” and have geared their guidance and curriculum towards putting students in a successful career. This has made it easier for students to find a place where they are not only financially stable, but also passionate about their work and happy with their life.

All of these advances and newfound interests bodes very well for students looking to pursue a life in art; it gives hope to a thousand dreams that are not quite so far away anymore. New and previously undiscovered doors are starting to be broken down for students interested in everything from graphic design and illustration, to jewelry and sculpture. Even graffiti is starting to become a profitable business; take the Brazilian twin-brother duo Os Gemeos are being payed big money to put controversial and thought-provoking images on everything from corporate buildings, to the subway cars.

The reality is the art is one of the fastest growing industries right now, which makes it the perfect time to be an art student.