Career Thoughts: “Famous Artist”

I was told from a young age, that I could be an artist. Specifically a “famous artist“, because to the general public there is no other kind. As a kid, of course, art was really painting, drawing, and crafts. All of which I really enjoyed and had a natural affinity to. My mom was always very supportive of the idea that art could be in my future. As I got older art was always one option of ” what I want to be when I grow up”. Once I hit middle school, even though I could recognize my talent, I kind of put aside the idea of being an artist. While I really liked art, I didn’t see a future as being a “famous artist” like everyone would tell me. I don’t want to be famous. None of that really drew me or was attractive to me. I also had a generally high affinity to math and science, I was really good at those things too, so I started thinking of those subjects being my future and would start to laugh off the famous artist title. I have older siblings and what I saw as career options was a little limited to the generally popular and what they did. My sister a nurse, and my brothers were interested in math and engineering.

I wasn’t until I hit high school that more options were made known to me. I’ve talked about this before, but I was introduced to graphic design by chance. Going into high school we got to pick options for our non- core classes. We had top 2-3 top picks we wanted, then 2 back up classes. I forget what I chose for backups, but I remember picking a couple fine arts classes for my first picks. At that point, the total range of art subjects was confined to just fine art. Needless to say, I did not get put in any fine arts classes. I was quite upset. What a blessing in disguise.

I was placed in a Digital Design intro class. I did not even know what that meant going in, but, I fell in love with it. We started using Photoshop and Illustrator. This more technical and more thinking-based art form really intrigued me. I was introduced to the career path of an artist who is not a painter. And I really liked how it looked.

For the rest of high school I had a clear vision of where I wanted to go. I took all the rest of the digital design classes, then took the 3D design classes. Then on to Advanced Art, and AP Art. I finished high school looking into graphic design majors for college. But I was still a little limited in my scope of what graphic design really is and what do careers in it look like.

I remember going to Marywood with my mom for some sort of walk through introduction, and there being these cards out with the art majors available. I saw graphic design, illustration, and all the rest. I was perplexed. What is illustration compared to graphic design? They both look to be digital art. In high school there was no distinction between fields of art. I had done a lot of drawing and painting digitally, but still called that graphic design in my head. So when facing the decision of which I would actually want to do, I was confused. Ultimately, it wasn’t a hard decision. While I have a talent in drawing and painting, I have more of a passion for design, layout, organization, and typography. So at that point I got a little more focused.

It was really only until these last couple of months that I got very focused in where I could see myself in my career path. I did a short internship April and May, during Covid. I applied for the graphic design position. It was good experience, but it showed me that I really did not enjoy marketing and advertising so much. Before, when people would ask me what job I would get with graphic design I would automatically say marketing or advertising. Only really because those were the only two jobs I knew for designers. This internship moved me to think and explore different options. At the same time school was still going on, and I was taking one of the graphic design major classes with Sue Jenkins, Computer Graphics II, which is now called Motion Graphics. We were trying out a lot of new software. Motion animation, videos, and web design. The last project, the web design really caught my interest. I’m not sure why, I only thought the code was interesting, and organization was fun.

Those two factors pushed me to start researching real jobs. I started to look up graphic designers on YouTube, I got accounts on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Handshake. I actually started thinking about my debt, and future salary goals. A lot has changed in my perspective recently. There are other options for me besides marketing or advertising. My horizons are broader and I am starting to focus in on where I actually want to go.

I have said a lot so far, I’ll continue this career journey process again soon.

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