Kiss the Starving Artist Stereotype Goodbye
Updated: Jul 17, 2021
When you walk down the street in your neighborhood, your senses can feel overpowered by external input. Take a deep breath and focus; what do you see? To the left, there's a billboard for a new Hollywood movie. You can hear the radio playing a chart-topper. A brand new car is whizzing by. What do all of these things have in common? Creative jobs in the arts. Yes, even that car had a talented team of designers working on it alongside engineers.
The Stereotype: Starving Artist
It's a stereotype that's been around since 1850, and we believe that it has no place in the 21st century. Statistics have shown that since the 1980s, the average artist earns no less money than their non-artist counterparts. Nonetheless, any person going off to pursue a creative career will often be met by family members and strangers ardent to push them towards a STEM subject. That's excellent if your gifts lie in science and mathematics.
It's time to get behind the next generation of artists. Especially women and girls who need to seize the moment and take up space in the creative world.
Top Three High-Paying Creative Jobs
Let's remember, all value can't be measured in dollar bills, so next time Auntie Karen wants to hear how you'll support yourself with a career in the arts, pull out some of these in-demand examples.
User Experience Director is one of those titles you would have been hard-pressed to find pre-2000. What do they do? Create positive experiences for customers by developing user-friendly design and cohesive branding.
Midpoint salary? An easy $130,000.
Let's marry science and art together. A Front-End Web Developer brings web and UX design to life. These people are magicians of the entire Adobe suite and also code quicker than any TV hacker.
Midpoint salary? You won't be starving at $88,000.
Remember that car we talked about at the start? Industrial designers develop manufactured products. There's a designer involved in every car, toaster, and toy.
Midpoint salary? I'd be quite happy making $67,000.
Creative Talents are Worthy
When Winston Churchill was told he'd need to cut money from the arts to support the war effort, he famously said, "Then what are we fighting for?" Appreciate every doctor and scientist, but their value does not sit above the things that make life worth living. Every Netflix show we seek out on a bad day, every trip to the gallery for inspiration, every print on our living room walls. The arts are all around.
Let's consider the worst-case scenario for Auntie Karen for a second. You've started to pursue a creative career, and it isn't working out. You're in luck that employers in every field ask for creativity as part of their job descriptions. Your creativity arms you with critical thinking, problem-solving, and that crucial out-of-the-box thinking.
Creativity is power, and sharing your unique artistic talents with the world brings value to the world (and into your pockets, too). Pursue that creative life. No starving artists here.