In many ways, art is one of the most inclusive industries out there. Anyone can be brilliant and talented, but it is also not terribly hard to hide behind your work. This is where shy actors, reclusive painters and quiet singers all come from. You don’t have to fit a certain stereotype or be of a certain age to be successful. In some rare cases, you might be lucky enough to graduate with an arts degree and start working in your field at the ripe old age of somewhere in your early 20s.
Jamie Kyle is an associate professor at the University of Utah. She is also pursuing her Master’s of Studio Art degree with an emphasis in photography. Best of all, she is a working artist.
Kyle started out as a marketing major when she was an undergradate, and she took a photography class for fun, but she soon fell in love with the art form and she changed majors.
“Learning about the driving forces that made photography what it is today fascinates me,” Kyle said.
She adores her field, and even though it has had its challenges, she still loves what she does. When Kyle graduated, her first job was in retail. She admits that it wasn’t always fun, but sometimes people just have to push through the rough times.
“If you’re willing to work, you’ll never be ‘starving,’” she says.
Kyle’s first art job began when she became involved with a small group doing photo editing and digital restoration in downtown Salt Lake City. She still works with them today and she loves it. She has also managed to achieve both her goals of teaching and going to graduate school. She has been wanting to do these things ever since she was a child.
Kyle is lucky in the sense that she has always had supportive friends and family. However, this is not true of every artist, and often artists are met with resistance. To this, Kyle says pursue what you love.
“Remember that getting involved in the subject you want to pursue will put you in contact with like-minded individuals,” Kyle said.
Mostly, Kyle believes strongly in following your passion and for her, it has worked out.
“Jobs in the art field don’t work like other jobs,” Kyle said.“If you want a job in the arts, you have to go find it. Really, really find it. Sometimes you just have to create your own. The art scene changes day to day.
“My degree was in something I loved. It led me to pursue a job I love. It led me to be surrounded by people with similar interests. It led me to make valuable connections. It led me to mentors who taught me valuable skills. It helped me build the life I have today.”