Anyone who has studied and arts based subjects, is probably not expecting to become fabulously wealthy, although it’s nice to dream. However just like anyone, art students need to live, pay the bills just like everyone else.
It’s nice to see some German universities taking a very practical approach to dealing with these issues. Unless you’re one of the very lucky few, most art students don’t manage to make a living out of art. So what do they do, well the majority of artists I know have a sort of duel existence doing some sort of part time work or business whilst trying to get their art career off the ground in the rest of their time. What the German universities are doing is try to expand the options available for art students.
Many run a duel education programme, mixing an arts degree with a traditional apprenticeship. Thus the student has the chance to learn a more technical or some might say practical skill such as welding, stone masonry, metal casting something like that. The skill is certainly useful as a medium for art but it’s also a practical employable skill which can be used on a more mundane level. I think it’s a brilliant idea and wish I’d have access to something like this.
Just think you out of college with your arts degree and suddenly realise that there’s no where near enough art related jobs to go around. The majority have to try and make it on their own in a self employed business which obviously is easier said than done. With the best luck in the world it’s going to take time to take this route so probably like me, you’ll end up initially finding some other sort of employment – I worked in a bar for 5 years. Wouldn’t it be better to have come out with two options – an artist or a welder, or any other combination of the two.
The other advantage of taking this route is that an apprenticeship will normally offer work experience. Something that most newly graduated students usually lack. For others having this practical skill and experience can lead into art related roles that would never have been available. When you think about it’s just another skill which can earn you money or improve your art.
There’s some great information on becoming an artist and ideas like this on the BBC website. If you look on the iPlayer site as well there’s some regular art shows that are well worth watching, for those outside Britain you’ll need to use some sort of workaround to watch UK TV abroad – I use this one.