If you studied the creative arts in school, you might be wondering how to earn money but still feed your artistic side.
Don’t fret! Even if you’re not getting paid to, say, paint portraits for a wealthy patron, you can still feel artistically fulfilled in your work … and not just sit in front of a computer all day. Here are five offbeat jobs and careers for former art majors.
1. Artists’ Model
Make some extra cash or build a career as a regular artists’ model, and work with artists honing their drawing or painting skills. At Nerdwallet, Crystal Durant relates how she got into the modeling business late in life, and found that she loved it.
“In the two years since she started, Durant has worked as a model at least five days a week — much of it clothed — and derives about 90% of her income from the work. She still DJs and does social media on the side, but the model’s life suits her,” Judy McGuire writes.
PayScale’s data shows a median salary of $20/hour for models, but artists’ models salaries can vary. Durant has a tip: “You want to work for private clients — they pay more and it’s cash,” Durant says.
Don't call it a day job. These unusual careers use your creativity while helping you pay the rent.
2. Garden/Landscape Designer
OK, this job isn’t really all that weird, but it is unusual in that it combines office work with spending time outdoors. (Something most professionals don’t get to experience.) You can specialize in residential clients, corporate groups, or even designing outdoor spaces in urban environments or interior spaces. Garden design is about planning for climate, maintenance and how the plants will grow to fit the space. Landscape designers earn a median salary of $45,998, according to our salary data.
3. Food Photographer
Share your ability to style some good food and drink through food photography. By working for marketing groups, restaurants, magazines and other places, you can start to develop a following on Instagram and other social media and build a client base and portfolio.
More than just taking snaps of desserts, or latte art, good food photography is challenging (and full of “tricks of the trade” that you can learn). According to PayScale’s salary data, the median salary for a photographer is $42,833 and a food stylist is $68,250 per year.
4. Dog Show Stylist
Love dogs and making things beautiful? Become a specialized dog groomer at competitions. While a dog groomer makes a median salary of $11.42 per hour, according to our PayScale data, at a dog show, where the stakes are higher for pedigreed pups, you could make big money.
Kristina Lotz at I Heart Dogs writes about dog groomer salaries, “if you live in an upscale area, own your own business and/or groom for the show dog circuit, you can expect to make more.” Grooming for dog show competitions or even dog grooming competitions are their own animal (pun intended).
According to Michell Evans at trade magazine Groomer to Groomer, “trimming of a dog may be different in the show ring than it is in a grooming contest because in a dog show the dog is largely judged while moving, and in a grooming contest the dog is judged standing still. …The best competitors can achieve both a perfect standing–still groom and a groom that will work and flow in movement as well.”
5. Foley Artist
Born out of the golden age of radio in the 1920s, a Foley artist is someone who creates sound effects that transport an audience through realistic auditory experiences. Of course, in the days of live radio shows, there was one person (or a small team) who were tasked with figuring out how to create realistic sounds of thunder and rain one second, and footsteps in gravel the next, while now you can work with recorded television or movies and even bring digital techniques into the mix as well.
Foley is alive and well, even where you don’t expect it, like in your favorite Lucasfilm classics. What Foley is all about, even now, is making sounds that enhance audio quality, making it richer and more believable.
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