In the old days, people seldom become successful being an artist. The only option for you to become an artist at the dawn of the 20th century is to either be an excellent musician, an opera singer, a painter or a sculptor. If you want to be a visual artist you only had two options then. Today you can be a successful artist without anybody knowing your name, and you can be rich and earn a lot for income without getting any of your works printed. All these are made possible with the new technology utilised today. The internet and the age of computers have given birth to a new breed of artists who work in a digital space.
When people took fine arts before, and they majored in visual art, the only option for them as a career is to become art teachers, lecturers and maybe very few of them will become internationally known artists and become extremely successful. Unless you are the cream of the crop, then you can expect a pretty ordinary and challenging life and career like everyone else.
The marketability and the career options for artists changed when the internet was introduced. All of a sudden, the demand for visual art increased, but this time it required artists to have the ability to work in a digital environment. Instead of painting on canvas, artists use software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, to create digital artworks which will be used to market products, drive awareness or disseminate information online. Instead of sculpting on clay and stone, sculptors must learn to create digital 3D images and designs in a virtual environment, which will be used as animation and digital graphics for campaigns and advertisements online. This change has brought artists to go on digital and be at the forefront of digital innovation.
If you browse through, ODesk or Fiverr which are some of the largest freelance platforms on the internet, the demand for graphic designers is extremely high. Small and medium sized businesses need the skills of graphic artists to create logos, to design store banners, to create catchy ads all directed at building their brand and catching the elusive attention of the modern day consumer.
The digital age had given artists a new option to pursue their careers. Digital artists are among the highest paid professionals in the corporate setting alongside customer service professionals, sales professionals, and website designers. There has been no time in history when artists have become as important as engineers and leaders running businesses. This is the time and age when visual art becomes a commodity that everyone needs but not everyone can effectively provide.
If Pablo Picasso were alive in our time and age, he would be a digital artist. He could also be a website engineer making the same mark in our history. Instead of having his work on canvas and displayed in museums, we would see more of him on your social media page, in your email or your smartphone.