The Dying Artist

People whose career lies in the creative arts are often looked down upon because the opportunity to earn money is very narrow. In many cultures, the Arts degree is seen as the back-up degree, only desirable if one is unable to get into business or science field. My family has often looked down on my decision in pursuing an English degree, for example, fearing that I wouldn’t be able to have a sustainable career if I go down that path.

But for those who are thinking about an Arts degree and hesitate because you think you won’t be able to make money, here’s a list of potential careers for you to consider!

1. Writing/English

The Dying Artist

What people might say: “So you want to be an English teacher? I mean, that’s the only way for you to earn money.”

Reality: No, having an English degree doesn’t automatically equal being a teacher. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it shouldn’t be the knee-jerk reaction whenever someone says that they have an English degree.

Possible career choices for an English major:

  • Journalism: those who enjoy interacting with people from different cultural and social backgrounds may find journalism a fascinating option.
  • Novelist: have a story or a character that’s just yearning to be heard? Writing a novel might be a way to do that.
  • Freelance Editor: if you don’t want to be an editor from a big publishing house, a freelance editor is someone who is self-employed and often has multiple clients. It gives you more freedom and control over your own schedule.

2. Making Art

The Dying Artist

What people might say: “You can’t expect that to be featured in an art gallery. You’re not Picasso.”

Reality: You might not be the next Picasso but your strength lies in your creativity. Maybe your art isn’t ready for an art gallery just yet but somewhere out there, someone is intrigued by your artistic eye. Your art might not be featured in the conventional way, but it doesn’t mean that you have failed as an artist.

Some career possibilities:

  • You can set up an account and sell your art on sites like Etsy (jewelry or origami, for example)
  • Comic book artist or tattoo artist (drawing)
  • Art therapist (any kind of medium): if you have a passion for helping people, art therapy is a great way to help those with self-expression through artistic means.

3. Playing Music

The Dying Artist

What people might say: “So, like, are you going to perform on the streets for spare change? I don’t see you performing in front of a huge crowd at a concert.”

Possible career choices: Being a concert performer is great, there’s no denying that, but just because you may not have the opportunity to play at a concert, doesn’t mean that you should give up on your dream of having music in your career.

  • Music therapist: similar to art therapy, music therapy can help people emotionally and psychologically through aural means (listening) or by teaching them how to play some instruments
  • Music teacher
  • Composer/producer if you’re passionate about writing music

This is a very small sample of career choices you can have. The thing about having an art degree is that the possibilities aren’t as obvious as having a business or a science degree. It doesn’t mean they aren’t there though.

So keep searching and don’t give up. There will always be a space in the world for an artist to inhabit.