Knowledge base & skillset required for Creative Artists today

The practical knowledge base and skillset required of Creative Artists entering a professional industry today is very broad. A budding Creative Artist needs to develop a very broad practical knowledge base and skillset across their chosen discipline or industry, including a number of creative processes, a working knowledge of a range of technical equipment (hardware and software), and what we refer to as the soft skills, life skills for effective interaction and engagement; in order to operate successfully within and around an industry-based environment. In my experience, the combination of these 3 elements are minimal requirements for developing a successful professional career as a Creative Artist.
Michael Carini - Acrylic on Canvas
Expressive Processes: There is an expectation for the Creative Artist to be proficient in a range of expressive and creative processes used within an industry-based environment. These processes are usually quantifiable in terms of outcomes achieved, and more than likely creative or expressive activities. For example in audio or music, this could include the creative processes of songwriting, composing, arranging, production (recording, for example) or post-production (mixing, for example).
Rode Competition prize
Equipment: There is also an expectation to understand and to be able to proficiently operate a range of technical equipment that would typically be found in an industry-based environment. This is likely to include both hardware and software, utilising a range of varied operating systems used by the significant manufacturers within the specific area of the industry. Whilst this range of equipment may take years to master, a proficient level is required for a Creative Artist to succeed in a professional position.
However, in addition to the required technical knowledge and skills noted above, there are a range of other knowledge and skills deemed necessary for a Creative Artist to succeed in a professional position.
Soft Skills
Life skills: Often referred to as the soft skills  [see pinterest.com/dpgold], the Creative Artist must also become adept in life skills, the skills for effective interaction and engagement: communication, engaging, discussion, expression, reflecting, developing their self image and voice, changing & developing their views and perceptions, goal setting, time management, negotiation, and conflict resolution, to name a few.  Whilst it is extremely important to have the industry knowledge and skills (possibly developing oneself to be considered an industry-based subject matter expert [SME]), many now consider the soft skills to be the higher priority of the required skills for success within an industry.  Leading global Creative Media Institute “SAE Institute” integrates the development of the Creative Artist’s soft skills in the many Creative Media projects students are required to undertake throughout their courses.  SAE’s stated Learning Outcomes across all course units include: “developing a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, good communication skills, time management skills, problem-solving skills, becoming an effective team player, developing self-confidence, accepting and learning from criticism, flexibility and adaptability and working well under pressure” (SAE 2014, p13). The ethos being: for any Creative Artist to work professionally, they are going to need to work with others – artists, artist aanagement or clients – on projects, to a project brief, within some form of project completion date or deadline. At some point within the project, there will more than likely be a need for discussion between the project members or the project leader and the client, and this could include negotiation of the project direction or possible content for inclusion or exclusion, or the project completion date. In this circumstance, the Creative Artist’s ability to interact effectively and efficiently during this process will more than likely govern the on-going status of the project, the satisfaction the clients has with the project progression and/or outcome, and perhaps most importantly, the potential for future ongoing projects between the various parties, or positive referrals.
Of course, whilst the level of creativity and effectiveness of the required creative process or technique may also be of significant importance, without the Creative Artist possessing the ability to interact with the client and work effectively and efficiently within the project’s parameters, then the project may not proceed; irrespective of how exemplary the Art is. In fact, I have observed on numerous occasions, a less than exemplary Artist being provided ongoing projects over another exemplary Artist, purely due to the superior ability of the former Artist to more effectively and efficiently interact and engage. In a professional industry today, the ideology of ‘my art is enough’ no longer holds true.
Therefore, in order to operate successfully within and around an industry-based environment, a budding Creative Artist needs to develop a very broad practical knowledge base and skillset across their chosen discipline or industry, including a number of creative processes, a working knowledge of a range of technical equipment (hardware and software), and perhaps most importantly, what we refer to as the ‘soft’ skills, life skills for effective interaction and engagement. In my experience, the 3rd element of soft skills in particular is essential in order for a Creative Artist to develop a successful professional career.
References
Painting image courtesy of: Michael Carini – Acrylic on Canvas (78” x 120”)” Alexander Salazar Fine Art   Accessed 24th November, 2014 
Film Equipment image courtesy of: Filmbrute  Accessed 24th November, 2014 
SAE Institute Bachelor of Audio Unit Guide (2014), ‘AUD111 Introduction to Audio Engineering Unit Guide_140922’  Accessed 23rd November, 2014 
Soft skills image courtesy of: Baker Anderson  Accessed 24th November, 2014 
– ©David L Page 25/11/2014
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.
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