If you have a particular interest in the art field and are able to write in an impactful way, you may have wondered if there’s money to be made as an art writer. The answer is a resounding “Yes”. Stick with me for a bit and I’ll show you how you can get paid to write about art.
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Why you need to write about art
Really, the question that should be asked is not if you can get paid to write about art, but rather why you should write about art.
Each year, the subject of art makes the headlines, though not in the way we would hope for. How often have we heard about yet another school budget cutting back on art programs? Too often, if you ask me.
And it’s hurting students. Studies have shown that art programs help to keep students more focused in school, improves their motor and language skills, and makes them feel part of the community.
A study in 2013 from the College Board showed that students who’ve taken four years of art in school score 95% better on their SAT scores. Even better still, troubled students who take art are more likely to stay in school and go earn college degrees. Otherwise, many of them actually drop out of school.
We need to keep the importance of art at the forefront and that’s where an art writer can come in. It’s only one of the ways that an art writer can reach out to others to help keep art alive.
Without art writers, who would convey the message of the importance of art?
What exactly does an art writer do?
Art writers pen articles and books that discuss art. They might critique an artist’s work, they may compare various artists, they may write about art history, or about contemporary art.
They may also do grant work writing about important causes, such as when art programs are cut. A grant art writer might an important part of securing funding to keep art in schools or to help maintain the costs of an art museum.
Tips for becoming an art writer
You don’t necessarily have to have a degree to be an art writer, though there are definitely some courses that can help to further you along in the avenue of art writing.
- Learn everything you can about art: It goes without saying that you’d want to know all you can about art. While a formal education degree is not always required, you still might consider taking college courses in art or art history. If you major in something besides art, you can always minor in art or art history. You can also find online courses or materials to study online. You just want to become a sponge that soaks everything in you can about art. You can have a point of focus and narrow it down to particular styles of art, such as the Renaissance or Contemporary Art. If you become an expert in a particular niche, you will be more in demand. You may also want to visit art museums. Just whatever can do to enhance your knowledge about art can only help.
- You may also consider taking classes in writing if you haven’t already done so: Any courses that teach creative writing, composition, literary analysis, linguistics, cultural studies, English, journalism, or others will help you to improve your craft. Media writing classes would also be beneficial. The advantage of a media writing class is that you would learn the formatting requirements that various types of media require as well as the styles used. Udemy offers many types of writing courses that cost very little. Depending on what you ultimately end up doing, you often won’t have to have a degree, but the more you have going for you, the easier it will be to break into the field of art writing.
- Develop your portfolio: Naturally, any writer wants to get experience in their craft, while building their portfolio. Freelance jobs which allow you to submit an article to a newspaper or magazine or blog and web articles are both great places to start. This will show future employers or writing opportunities what you’re made of.
- Become familiar with the skills you need: Above all else, you’ll need to be motivated to make it. You’ll have deadlines to meet and it could take a little work to get started on your path to success. You’ll also need to be familiar with artistic styles, art history, and writing techniques. You’ll have to be able to research information to be sure you have accurate information as well as know how to format articles. You’ll want to become such an expert that when talking to people in the industry, your expertise will show and you won’t feel intimidated. One important note is that you will want your knowledge to be current. Especially with technology today and with many current artists following the trend of doing much of their work in technical programs, you just want to stay apprised of what’s relevant today. You’ll want to know who the newest popular artists are and what styles they use as well as the media form they utilize.
Where can I work as an art writer?
Most art writers are freelance writers. What this means is that you basically have to sell your own services. You will find that books, magazines, newspapers, and online media, such as blogs are the best places to start.
If you have a degree in communications, English, or journalism, it will be easier to find work at magazines or newspapers. But, traditional print media is becoming a thing of the past, so online opportunities seem to be the best ones at the moment.
The great thing about freelance writing is the ability to set your own hours. But, as mentioned before, you have to be self-motivated to get your stuff out there.
Let’s focus more on some of the freelance writing opportunities out there:
Online Blogs and Magazines
Online blogs and magazines might be the easiest way to get started as an art writer. You’ll want to ensure that you fit the formatting guidelines for their publication as well as adhere to any other stipulations they have. Here are three art magazines that accept submissions:
1. Artlink is a magazine that publishes quarterly. They cater to the Asia-Pacific region and focus on contemporary art. Writer’s submissions are paid 35 cents a word in Australian dollars. Writers can submit proposals for essays, articles, and reviews and information on associated projects that mirror their upcoming publications.
2. The Artist’s Magazine was created for artists and art enthusiasts. The magazine highlights top art work of the best art today in all media. They publish lessons, interviews, and discussions related to art, artists, and artistic processes. They desire expert articles that discuss art. Pay is $400 to $600 for feature articles. They ask that you order a sample of the magazine to become familiar with the type of writing they seek. You can call 855/842-5267 to order or sample or visit their online store.
3. HOW magazine is more for graphic designers and focuses more on business and industry. 75% of the magazine is written by freelance writers, so if you can focus on industry figures, trends, issues, and similar topics, you have a good shot of getting your article accepted. The pay is $250 to $800, depending on the scope of the article and your experience.
A quick search on the Internet will yield more results for you, but the point is there are many avenues to explore this way.
Become an art critic
As I mentioned before, you could also write in the field of art by becoming an art critic. It’s imperative that you become an expert in the niche that you most want to focus on. You’ll want to narrow your scope and learn everything there is about the history, evolution, trends, famous artists, etc. of the type of art you decide to critique.
Your goal as an art critic is to help others gain a perspective they haven’t before. You’ll gain some followers who love what you have had to say and others who will completely disagree. But, if you’re really good, you’ll get both sides to think more on the subject.
Something that sets an art writer or art critic apart from other writers is their ability to write a persuasive piece that delves into the imagination.
You’ll want to put it all into practice by reviewing art every chance you get. The more you write, the better you’ll get.
You can pitch your idea for a column to magazines or newspapers, or you can branch out on your own and start your own blog. You can also write travel guides, books, brochures, and catalog essays and have your work published by art institutions and galleries.
Whichever route you go, be prepared to commit to some time in promoting your work. It may not come overnight, but with hard work, success will eventually happen.
Start your own blog
If becoming an art writer is of strong interest to you, you might want to consider starting your own blog. With your own blog, you could focus entirely on the area you want to create a niche in and gain a reputation.
You could cover any number of areas, from critiquing as we’ve discussed, or reviews of current artists and much more topics in between.
Creating your own blog is not as hard as you might think and it’s probably one of the best routes you can go for establishing a name for yourself.
Whatever route you choose, it’s clear to see that you can get paid to write about art. Writing about something you’re passionate about and are interested in is something that bears strong consideration.
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