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Nichole Naoum, Spring 2012 Students

The artisan lifestyle: Turning passion into paychecks

By Nichole Naoum

Up until recently, art was considered a pastime, not a prospective career choice. Ideally, the odds of someone becoming a successful artist were often against them. One reason being that the creative industry is a competitive one. While many of them may be talented, only a few earn enough to support themselves.


About 63-percent of the artists in the US are self-employed, according to “The median annual earnings of salaried fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, equated to $38,060 in 2010, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $14,740.”

Self-employed sculptor, John Marin, says that fierce competition is expected for both salaried jobs and freelance work in any art-related field.  “The number of eligible workers exceeds the number of available openings because the arts attract many talented people. However, the field is rapidly transforming, which is most likely a good thing” he says.

Outdoor art exhibit in the Spanish Village in Balboa Park

The Spanish Village in Balboa Park often hosts events featuring local artists. Here, painters and sculptors are given the chance to showcase their pieces and interact with customers.

New media, new careers

Marin agrees that the recent wave of new media has given birth to new art forms. Not only has the definition of art widened, but the career opportunities for those who consider themselves artists have as well. Here are a few modern day job options that require some creative professional experience:

-Graphic Designer: They are responsible for developing concepts to meet the client’s needs, in addition to keeping up to date with emerging design programs such as Adobe, FreeHand, and Dreamweaver.
-Animator: Producing animation involves a wide range of tasks that stretch from creating storyboards to mastering the use technical software packages like Flash and Lightwave.
-Photographer: Work activities vary according to their employer. However, common tasks for most include conducting research before carrying out a shoot and keeping up to date with industry trends.

Muna Andraws has been a freelance graphic designer for over 15 years and specializes in creating advertisements and logos for local businesses.

“I see graphic design as the lovechild of art and technology. It lets me communicate my ideas more clearly than if I was to do it on paper. After all, art is much easier to producer on a computer screen,” she says.
Even with the multimedia revolution sweeping across the art world, there still are those who prefer conventional methods.

Original works by Patricia Lyerson

These pieces were created by Art Glass Guild member, Patricia Lyerson. She has dedicated more than 20 years of her life to the craft of glass-blowing.

The art of using your hands

Art Glass Guild member, Patricia Lyerson, says that, “I feel like real art is messy and should be done with your hands. Computers and gadgets take all of the fun out of creating.”

While Lyerson favors experimenting with physical materials to produce her artwork, she acknowledges the advantage digital artists have over traditional artists. Ultimately, job opportunities will be the best over the next ten years for art and design students who have completed some type of commercial art or product development program, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This slideshow highlights the work of local glass-blowing artist and instructor, Patricia Lyerson. She is a long-time member of the San Diego Art Glass Guild and volunteers in the glass-blowing studio in Balboa Park once a month.

The changing definition of art

Essentially, contemporary art has become more about the concept than the finished product itself. It is now about the merging of the old and the new. Even if the meaning of art has changed for better or worse, it is changing and changing fast. Whether it’s made through brush strokes or still photos, it is still meant to tell a story and tell it well.

Raquel Azhocar is an SDSU student and self-proclaimed collage artist. She uses the outdoors as inspiration for her artwork.


About Nichole N.

Where to begin...I am a junior at SDSU studying journalism. I hope to one day write for a prestigious publication such as the New York Times, Time Magazine, National Geographic, etc. In my spare time, I love to read, write, paint, kayak, run, swim, listen to music, and of course, spend time with my friends and family. I am a member of the Society of Professional Jounalists, I volunteer for a non-profit called SCHAP and I will hopefully be a contrbuting columnist for the Daily Aztec soon!


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