What exactly does a creative career look like?
Being creative can mean many things these days. While being a fine-artist is a more traditional path and often associated with creative work, did you know that the creative class consists of many amazing and overlapping professions that contribute to our global economy?
Some of those professions include graphic design, UI design, motion design, photography, film, interior design, architecture, landscape design, fashion, fine-arts and illustration, product designers, and many more. These professions require depth and breadth in creative knowledge and execution. While a young creative might not need to know exactly where they’d like to go, they can at least get started exploring these careers.
You can earn a living as both an employee in an established company, or as an individual being self-employed. Self-employment (freelancing or contracting) has continued to gain popularity over the past decade, and many companies rely on creative talent to meet business demands. Read more on the state of freelancing from UpWork.
If self-employment or owning a business seems intimidating, rest assured that you can earn a great living being an employee at agencies, product-based companies, startups, and many other companies. Almost all companies and products require creative input, from design to advertising.
Past, present, and future
Art and craftsmanship has been a uniquely human trade, with specific times throughout history experiencing surges in creativity and output. The Italian Renaissance was one of these times. While we might associate famous artists like Leonardo or Michelangelo, the truth is that there were many skilled people practicing trades. Often they would train in guilds that would have expertise in a specific area, from blacksmithing to painting, and even practicing law. Guilds were a mix of training and practice, where students not only gained expertise, but also worked as a member of the guild.
Many of the products that we use today, and in the past (from our parents and grandparents) were intentionally designed by creative professionals, similar to those who practiced and worked at guilds. That family cutlery set you still hang on to, furniture styles, clothing and household brands, all touched a creative person at one point during the inception. Our world is awash in creativity, but many times we don’t think about who made it and why it was actually created. The past has a lot to tell us, but what about the future?
We live in a time where many things are being automated, and often hear about A.I. and the implications on our future workforce. With so much disruption, you have to wonder, what about creativity, and will creative professionals still have a way to make income in the future? Mark Cuban, a well known entrepreneur, has gone on record predicting that creativity and critical thinking skills will actually be the most sought-after skills in the future. And guess what? LinkedIn has backed that up with actual data.
The myth of the starving artist is only that, a myth. If you have a creative kid, the last thing you should be worried about is whether they can support themselves or a family in the future
Your child’s career
There are many ways to earn a living as a creative person, and many methods to make an income. Some may be more traditional, while others may require more risk. The myth of the starving artist is only that, a myth. If you have a creative kid, the last thing you should be worried about is whether they can support themselves or a family in the future. Not only does this myth come from a lack of understanding, it’s also small-minded and can negatively impact your child’s willingness to engage with their creativity.
The best thing you can do is to continue encouraging your child with their creativity, and if you don’t know where to go with it, ask a friend or someone in your network who is a creative professional to help shed some light on what your next steps should be. Here is a great resource to help you start exploring your child’s creative career options.