Fine arts have for long been a hobby to be pursued in free time. Those who pursue it as a subject have been stereotyped as "lost causes" that have no future.
But not any more. Art is now commercial and being an artist gives you as much respect as any other professional gets, sometimes even more. And those who think art is only about painting and sculpting, the Delhi College of Art has a few surprises in store.
"A career in art is not limited to being a painter of canvases which get framed and sold in a gallery. It's an amalgamation of creativity," said M Vijay Mohan, principal at Delhi University's College of Art.
All that is required is a penchant for drawing, an eye for design and a good aesthetic sense. The careers that open up for you after a course in fine arts can be in applied art, printmaking, visual communication, advertising, graphics, graphic interior design, mural design, metal craft and pottery design.
The profession also brings in fame, though the process is gradual. "It takes a lot of determination, hard work, hard-selling, and persistence to make a career as a fine artist," said Ravi Shanker Dey, associate professor, College of Art.
"Many of our students are working with publications, advertising agencies, production houses and electronic media as visualisers, illustrators, art directors and creative directors," added Dey, who dabbled in advertising and print media for a while before taking up teaching as a profession.
The advent of new technology has also added new dimensions. "Internet gives students much more exposure now. It wasn't the same 10-15 years ago. The scope of creativity has expanded and the change is visible in contemporary art work," said MG Kidwai, professor, Fine Arts, Jamia Milia Islamia.
Students get hands-on training in college. Art exhibitions are organised to showcase their work to the industry. Many of them land up with jobs even before graduating and those who opt to work as a freelancer also earn good money.
"One has to be a contemporary artist in a fast-changing world. The art of expression must remain abreast with time. That's why, we have started teaching basic softwares like Quark Express and have also included animation and visual communication in our curriculum," Dey said.