When you are trying to grow your career as an artist it can be complicated to know what to do. From your teenage years all the way through adulthood, it is never too late to go to art school and become an artist with a successful career. But how can you go about fast-tracking your path to success?
Pulling from your own experiences can help you influence which path your career will travel, but that’s not all you can rely upon. Professional artists have a boatload of tips and tricks up their sleeves. And they’re so easy, that anyone can pull them off!
Moving your career forward doesn’t need to be rocket science. (Unless, of course, you’re actually a rocket scientist.) Remember that your drive and willingness to try is just as important as anything else, but if you’re in need of some specific tips to get ahead then here are 5 awesome tips you can apply in your life.
1. Focus On What Artistic Future You Will Care About
If you’re looking to get ahead faster than anyone else, then you need to start now! And that means thinking ahead to what will best impact your future self and making changes in your life to make that happen. Imagine yourself ten years from now and what will be the most important thing to you. Go ahead and make a ten-year plan.
Everyone’s goals are going to be slightly different; just as no one artist’s work is exactly the same as anyone else, neither will their hopes and dreams. But if you can start fulfilling your future dreams now then why wait? Many people get ahead of their peers simply by putting in some effort and asking to be put to work.
Even teenagers can make progress towards their eventual goals by asking for jobs and an “in” to their chosen field. Being willing to do grunt work when you’re young gives you the opportunity to see what working in a certain career is all about. Take notes about what the others are doing and learn from them. Is there a certain software everyone seems to be proficient at?
Taking every opportunity to learn from what’s around you all the while knowing you’re working towards your future goals can put you ahead of the pack in the future. Volunteer yourself to take on more and more challenges. While you’re learning and making a positive impression you will also make yourself more valuable.
It’s important, however, that you don’t set a 10-year plan and hyperfocus on it. You don’t want to get to the future, having achieved everything you’ve set out to conquer and have to decide what comes next. For every year that passes, add another year to your plan. Let the future and your goals always be a moving target. Be willing to dream big and work hard to achieve it.
If you are hoping to leave a legacy with your art or even just your life, then starting now is not too early. Make the world a better place and get ahead of your peers by working hard and having a willingness to put yourself out there while learning and growing.
2. Do More Than You’re Asked
It can be all too easy to get comfortable with doing the bare minimum. After all, you’re doing everything in your job description and getting paid exactly what you’re owed. There’s nothing wrong with thinking like this, but it is a dangerous mindset to be in if you’re trying to fast track your way to the top.
In the art world if you’re commissioned to do a project for a fee of $200, it can be tempting to give them $200 worth of work and stop. You are, in fact, well within your right to do that. But what does that get you? You may get a lot of work done, but are they pieces you’re proud of?
Imagine, if you will, if you gave each project and work of art the absolute best effort possible. When you give back more to each project it can start to truly benefit you in many ways. Not only will that client sing your praises which could potentially get you more work in the long run, but you can proudly add what you’ve created to your portfolio.
There’s nothing wrong with having a portfolio full of $200 projects. But those projects won’t show the scope of your talents because you put minimal effort into the work. You are going to want your portfolio to showcase you excellence, so put things in that make you look brilliant. Working a little (or a lot) harder on a $200 project to give is some pizazz can give you a great boost.
Let your portfolio speak to what your clients can expect for thousands of dollars. When you believe you are capable of greatness, your art will reflect that. Changing your mindset to give every project you work on the best effort possible will benefit you in ways you can’t even fathom right now. Doing just a little more than you’re asked can move you ahead in your career for sure.
3. Make Time In Your Schedule For Learning Art
As cliche as it sounds, try not to roll your eyes at this suggestion! It may sound trite to you right now, but make sure you have allotted time to learn and grow is essential to improve your skills and talent. And when you’ve got more skills than the competition, you’re going to get ahead faster.
If you’re currently in school or learning art online, it may sound silly to picture a time where you will need to carve out the chance to learn. Yet, when life really gets going, between work and leisure time it can be difficult to give yourself the time you deserve to learn. But when you simply make it a part of your weekly routine, you can expand your mind and skills at the same time and continuously learn throughout your career and lifetime.
There’s nothing wrong with learning from life or while you’re working in your career. Of course, you should be doing that and turning everything into a chance to learn more. But dedicating time to read and take art classes, whether in your field or not, can be very powerful to keep you at the top of your game and in a growth mindset.
Locking in a specific learning time into your schedule can prove to be a habit that benefits you forever. Not only will your time in a class or simply reading expand your knowledge and give you more opportunities to grow, but you will set yourself apart from others in your field.
You’ll probably grow to love your few hours to yourself every week to learn, and that time will become sacred to having a healthy balance between work and life. Plus: you’ll be learning new things every week that can help you do a better job moving forward! It never hurts to be the most skilled employee, even in the arts.
4. Go Out And Meet Others in the Art World
You’ll never be able to fast track your career if you don’t network! There is a certain stereotype about visual artists that lack a certain degree of social skills. Primarily because they spend so much time by themselves drawing and working on their artistic ventures which are typically a solo activity. Don’t play into this gross underestimation of artists.
Some of the dream jobs in the visual arts, such as working on a movie, require tons of communication and collaborations. Don’t let yourself be passed over for these awesome career-boosting jobs because you lack the ability to communicate. It’s time to meet people and get ahead!
Attending conventions and meeting people can lead to big opportunities and the chance to grow your network. Maybe nothing will come from meeting someone, but you never know what can happen or what leads will come from it if you don’t go out and meet new people in the first place.
If new people make you nervous, have a few topics ready to discuss. Or try to meet people in a workshop environment where you’re all learning together, which can give you an easy way to start up a conversation. You need to show enthusiasm and a genuine interest though if you want to make a good impression and have a lasting impact.
Or, look for your fellow wallflowers. You’ll probably both be relieved to have someone to connect with and that can lead to lasting friendships and business connections. Ask questions of people you meet. Most people like to talk about themselves and you can learn a lot which can really benefit you. Growing your network can help you get more work in the long run!
5. Have An Independent Art Project That Can Help Your Company
This may seem a little out there, and that’s because not a whole lot of people subscribe to this idea of having a side project that can benefit the company you work for. But, this is a great way to get ahead and stay ahead of others. Obviously, you shouldn’t put your independent project ahead of what you’re being paid to work on. It’s important you do your job well.
However, if you can anticipate the future needs of your field and work on projects that will help your company advance, you just may save the day when you least expect it. At worst, you will have more experience and material for your portfolio. You just never know when your late-night work will pay off big time.
You’ve only got a limited time on this earth, so you need to stay focused on your goals and what you are hoping to accomplish with your career. By networking, taking classes, either online or in person, and working hard to stay ahead, you can fast track yourself to a noteworthy career.
These are just five ideas to help you boost your job prospects. Remember the more effort you put into your work, the further it will take you. Anyone can find personal success when they follow these tips and keep learning and trying. Yes, even you!