Careers in Culture – Careers in Visual Arts and Crafts

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Worth a Thousand Words

Visualize the visual arts – the spectrum covers painting to printmaking, sculpture to photography, video art to multimedia. Although artists use these different media, they all share a passion for expressing themselves. Is this something you love to do? Then build your skills while developing your personal style. To learn all you can about art concepts and techniques, take high school art classes, attend courses at art school, or hone your skills in a college, Cégep or university fine arts program. And keep    trying out your own artistic ideas. As any artist will tell you, one of the best ways of learning is doing. Plunge in and experiment!

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Craft a Career

Wood, clay, metals, paper, precious stones, fabric – these are just some of the media that craftspeople use in their work. Do you enjoy natural materials? Are you skilled with your hands? Craftspeople create a wide variety of objects – from decorative pieces to items for daily use such as vases, jewellery, mugs, rugs and tables. Made from original designs, your products will have greater eye-appeal than those mass-produced in factories. You'll sell your work directly from your workshop or your website, or through crafts fairs, co-op, stores, retail outlets or galleries.

Designing Women and Men

Graphic design is all about communication – getting messages across through the imaginative use of colours, photos, illustrations, typefaces, text and interactivity. Look around you and you'll see graphic design everywhere – in magazines, books, the Internet, television and packaging. Demand is strong for designers with flair and know-how. If that describes you, consider a career designing print materials or      websites, illustrating books or magazines, animating films or television programs. This means getting savvy about the media and dreaming up fresh ways of delivering a knockout message.

Copyright: Do You Own Your Art?

Protecting your copyright – your ownership of the art and images you create – has become increasingly important and complicated in the digital age. A digital photograph of your work can be used in myriad ways and all over the world. Whether your reproduced work is used on a CD or DVD, in a magazine, in an advertising campaign or as part of a website, it is important that you protect your rights by signing and dating all of your work, and by negotiating contracts for the use of your work. If you are not sure of future uses of a work, only include specified rights in any contract you sign, leaving the option to negotiate other media rights later. What may be true today may have changed tomorrow, so keep abreast of copyright issues. CARFAC Ontario has published “Artists Contracts: Agreements for Visual and Media Artists” that includes do’s and don’ts and many model contract templates for your works. Associated Designers of Canada offers templates for professional designers of sets, costumes, lighting and sound (see their “Standards and Working Procedures”).

For more help learning how to protect your copyright, check out these websites:

High Demand for High Tech

Art never stands still. New electronic technologies both challenge and inspire visual and graphic artists. The Internet has created a highly accessible global marketplace, where visual artists are in much demand. To take full advantage of these new opportunities, many artists and graphic designers master an array of computer software tools that likely include bookkeeping, contacts management, desktop publishing and website design. The Internet is also a great place to reach buyers, communicate with other artists, and see some of what is being created around the world.

International Marketing Savvy

Many artists and craftspeople have been able to build their audience by selling their works outside of Canada. For great tips on how to market your visual arts or crafts products in other countries, check out these tools: