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News / February 1, 2012

Getting Ahead by Thinking Laterally

A view of the sculpture and fabrication studios at OCAD University / photo Claudia Hung A view of the sculpture and fabrication studios at OCAD University / photo Claudia Hung

Getting ahead and building a career in the field of art and design isn’t just about getting your assignments handed in on time—though that is important! Here’s some lateral-thinking principles to keep in mind too.

Make friends
Your class- and studio-mates can be a valuable resource, both as school friends and as your future colleagues. Take the time to have studio visits with other students and faculty members and try to take classes with visiting artists who might introduce you to a new way of working or an interesting job opportunity.

Work across disciplines
Some of the most successful graduates of sculpture and design programs made a point of not only putting time into their studio work, but also spending time in disciplines outside of the visual arts—by taking courses in dance, film studies, engineering and even biology. Explorations in these other fields can introduce you to new audiences for your art and to cutting-edge technologies that can transform the way you make work.

Get involved in your field
Instructors say that students who come to school with a positive attitude and a passion for learning about their field are more likely to be successful after they graduate. Read magazines that will expose you to contemporary-art practices and the latest developments in your medium, and take advantage of the public lectures, exhibitions and sculpture biennials that are taking place in your area.

Be open to new possibilities
For many sculpture and design grads, there is no set career path when you complete your studies. Chart your own work trajectory by being open to new experiences and possibilities, including working in areas and media you are unfamiliar with.


Originally published in Canadian Art magazine, Winter 2012 edition