Artistic expression

 With Indian art and artists gaining momentum, the field of fine arts has lots to offer has a career option. REENA JHAVERI soaks in the experience.

Sector overview

Artistic expression

When we think of fine arts, our mind instantly conjures up a picture of an artist, either in a studio or in a natural setting creating a breathtaking drawing or painting.

Rarely do we realise that fine arts encompasses the five forms of painting, sculpture, architecture, music and poetry. Today, the fine arts commonly include visual and performing arts, like painting, sculpture, installations, calligraphy, etc.

In the present scenario, apart from the fascination for beauty being expressed in the field of art, there is potential for much more. Opening up of more and more art galleries, exhibitions and appreciation of art as a decorative tool has led to the growth of opportunities in this field. In fact, the success of art festivals like the Kala Ghoda fest provide inspiration for those who aspire to make a mark in this field.

Until not very long ago, the development of fine arts has always been associated with appreciation of the art for recreation purposes. Over the last two decades, the practical applications of fine arts in the commercial world have come to the fore with different mediums, including films.

The formation of several societies to promote the cause of fine arts in recent times brings into consideration that citizens are now aware of what art entails and are willing to shell out the money for on original design, be it a painting, a mural, or even a movable museum! It is due to the growth of this consumerism, the pursuit of the traditional and modern art forms is increasing, and has brought about a commercial viability in the sector which was never associated with it.

Thus, employment opportunities in fine arts are on the rise.  Many young talented people are entering into this field in search of high remuneration, prestige and popularity.

 To get there

A feature that many other scientific careers also ask for is looked for in this field too. That is a certain inherent aptitude, not only to create art, but also to visualise and appreciate it. This internal aptitude then can be honed via professional experience gathered through the various courses available at the specialised institutes. Formal training can chisel your interests and ability is chosen wisely. You can choose from the degree, diploma and certificate courses are offered by various universities and private institutes.

A feature that many other scientific careers also ask for is looked for in this field too. That is a certain inherent aptitude, not only to create art, but also to visualise and appreciate it. This internal aptitude then can be honed via professional experience gathered through the various courses available at the specialised institutes. Formal training can chisel your interests and ability is chosen wisely. You can choose from the degree, diploma and certificate courses are offered by various universities and private institutes.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts or BFA is a four-year course. The BFA (applied arts) course imparts training in print media, advertising and electronic media. To be eligible, you need to have cleared the HSC exam (or 10+ 2). It is usually a four-year course. Further specialisations can be chosen according to interest and aptitude.

At the postgraduation level, the course offered is Master of Fine Arts. The duration of this course is two years. The eligibility for this course is completion of the BFA. Other than these degree courses there are many diploma and PG diploma courses available.

Other than these degree programmes, various diploma and certificate courses in many streams are available, which make pursuing the arts much easier for any excited candidate. Online courses are also offered by some of the foreign universities. To pursue a career in fine arts, besides academic qualification, one should have a creative bent of mind and an eye for detail.


There are many institutes and colleges offering courses, depending on the student’s requirement. A short list of institutes in Mumbai includes:

  • Sir J J Institute of Applied Art, Near CST
  • Rachana Sansad’s College of Applied Art, Prabhadevi
  • Kala Vidya Sankul Polytechnic, Charni Road
  • WLC College India LTD, Mahalakshmi
  • L S Raheja School of Art, Bandra
  • Academy of Applied Art, Dadar
  • Abhinayaa Institute of Research & Fine Arts, Vasai
  • Institute of Applied Arts, Fort
  • Nirmala Niketan, Marine Lines

Among the popular institutes in the country include:

  • MS University Of Baroda – Faculty of Fine Arts, Vadodara
  • Faculty of Visual Arts – Benaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  • Faculty of Fine Arts – Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
  • College of Art – University of Delhi, New Delhi
  • Delhi College of Art, New Delhi
  • Faculty of Fine Arts – Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata

The market

Once you acquire a qualification, there are unlimited career options to choose from. There is a wide range to choose from, depending on your interests and capabilities. You can work with art designers or graphic designers as well. You can work with a company or an art gallery or free lance. You need to keep your eye open for the art fests that happen across the country and try and make your presence felt there. You could also get in touch with various galleries to hold exhibits.

Those adept with electronic media can find employment with advertising agencies, textile industry and media houses, to name a few options. Art studios and fashion houses are always looking for talented persons.

Besides, there are openings in production houses, theatre and drama houses. Contractual jobs are also available, you should know how to network for the right job. In the current scenario, teaching can also be one of the options. Art critics are sought after, but that can happen only after a few years of experience to lend some credibility. Meanwhile you could always run your own art blog.

This could be in any form of art, including painting, performing, music and design. Design is an essential form of art today.


There is no way of generalising how much a person can earn, since the remuneration can vary from job to job and requirement to requirement. An assistant art director may start with from `15,000 to `25,000 pm. Working with media and publishing houses, advertising agencies and textile industries can get the candidates pay packages of `15,000 to `30,000 per month. Those who get employment in theatre, drama and production houses can get salary of `10,000 to `25,000 per month. Teachers can also earn well. Remuneration of fine arts professionals may vary depending on the nature of the jobs. In short, income depends upon skill and ability of innovation.

The services now offered by organisations working in the field include: logos, brochures, posters, stationery, hoardings, flyers, newsletters, invitations, set design, themed walls for home and office interiors, murals, and so on. With the demand for such services on the rise, aspirants can look forward to options that suits their likes, their aptitudes as well as their capabilities. In addition, flitting from one form to the other, or one medium to another is not too difficult.

A student says

Stuti Thakkar, Pursuing her BFA course

 Even though I am a fine arts student, I feel that art education benefits all human beings and every adult student should take up at least a short-term arts course if possible. It opens up the mind to various possibilities. Those who have studied learning processes throughout the ages, have emphasised the importance of the arts in the education process.

It is the arts that we look at over the years show us the importance of having something to think about besides the technicalities of human life. It is some form of art that makes us go “Wow!” or “Beautiful!” when we see something that pleases the eye immensely.

I have presented the above keeping in mind the layman, but the artist needs to have a heightened sense of beauty and appreciation towards beauty. I have also learnt through my exposure in the field that artists also need to have some tolerance towards beauty.

Education in the fine arts is an essential part of training for a career in this field. There are several examples of those who enter the field with pure talent, but learning about the history of arts and interpreting the well-known artists is a high in itself. Also, when a class full of young enthusiast discusses a popular piece of art, so many perspectives are thrown around that the mind is abuzz with activity. That’s why, I would suggest to every art aspirant to take up training programme.

In the field

Aakanksha Shah, Commercial artist

Today, wherever we go, we find ourselves bombarded with images – some of them are right in our faces in the form of advertisements and billboards, and yet others are transient images formed by the moving objects or the interplay of light and shadows when we move. When many artists in the west used to mention that despite these images, the public is by and large visually illiterate. Not anymore.

The interpretation of the public may differ from one to the other, and yet, it is able to understand the clever interplay of elements in any piece of art. Even though artists feel that the public is accepting the work in a flat manner, they cannot be complacent. They need to provide depth in their work in a way that even the lowest common denominator understands the work.

In this sense, there are many interpretations that an artist can provide, but he or she cannot expect the viewer to understand all of them. As a commercial artist, I need to emphasise that the work is really varied, one week I am working on a brochure, the other moment I am working on a large banner, and both these for two very different products. I feel that the aspirant who wants to enter this field should be sensitised about.

An aspirant asks

Preeti Mehta, Class 10 student

I have been fascinated by the field of arts from a young age. I am confused about one thing. Even with the talent that an artist has, is it imperative that she should have the knowledge of all the art software programmes?

Professional Aakanksha Shah answers: I can understand your confusion. Primarily, it is understood that all an artist needs is talent and the ability to translate that talent with the chosen medium. In that sense, there was no reason why an artist could not do well within her chosen medium, say painting.

In modern times, however, I do feel that you definitely need computer skills to be a self-employed artist. You need the ability to take and resize good photos. In addition, you need these skills to maintain your website or blog and to create an online portfolio.

If you try a software option like Photoshop, I am sure you will be able to use it creatively in your work. You need not be afraid of computer software programmes, they will assist you immensely in creating good work. Being able to adjust colours in a slight range will help you get to colours that your palette may or may not be able to create. Also, this will enable you to broaden the base of your work.

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