Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated October 2010
Fine art is about much more than simply creating beautiful objects and displaying them for all the world to see. At its best, the creative process allows people to understand the spirit of the times in which it was created and to perhaps understand the nature of their own lives in a deeper and more profound way than they ever have before.
Of course, whether it’s painting, sculpture, ceramics, collage or any of the other many ways in which the artistic impulse can be expressed, the fact remains that there are innumerable avenues of study students can pursue in a fine arts curriculum.
Fine art curriculums on the graduate level are not simply extensions of undergraduate work. Despite the fact that you may have spent your undergraduate years studying several aspects of the fine arts, dipping into the graduate realm will provide a chance to experience dive deeper into specific areas of your practice.
Students in fine art courses will study theory and practice, as well as art history. They will study the works of famous artists, as well as learn from experts and leaders in the field. Those enrolled in fine arts curricula will likely choose a specific area or two on which to focus their studies. Some of the many fine art concentrations include:
Fine art courses highlight the ways in which art is a major defining aspect of culture, as well as on how art reflects the lands and times in which we live. Fine art is a form of expression and communication that has existed for thousands of years, and we learn much about past civilizations through the art they left behind.
Students will spend a great deal of time engaged in studio work in order to perfect techniques and to discover new methods. They will work with materials such as wood, metal, clay, plastic, glass, paint, fabric, film and wax. Fine art courses may include 2D and 3D studies, media studies, etching, lithography and electric arts. Critical theory is another major topic in the fine art curriculum, and students will participate in student and faculty critiques.
As students enhance their artistic, creative and perceptive skills, and create original works of art, they will work toward building a portfolio of their work. Some fine art curricula include courses in business in order to provide students with the knowledge needed to successfully market their work.
Careers in fine art
Working in the fine arts is notoriously difficult. But that does not mean that students should give up hope of ever finding work. There are plenty of people who make a living with careers in or related to fine art. Some students become artists who live by selling their work. Others find related careers working for museums, art galleries, art dealers, and corporate or private collections.
While many artists are self-employed and work on a freelance basis, they often must work other jobs to supplement their income. However, one can find a fine art career as a craft artist and make an average annual salary of $25,000. A fine artist can expect to make around $30,000 a year, but one can obviously make much more if his or her work is in demand.
A fine art career as an art teacher can bring in about $43,000, while multimedia artists and animators can earn an average of $48,000. Art directors can earn an average annual salary of $65,000, while careers in fine art as a professor can command a salary of about $68,000.
No matter which type of fine art career students choose, they must maintain their perseverance. The road may not always be easy, but those who are able to keep their passion for what they do can find real success in a fine art career.
Photo by micaeltattoo