There are a number of different ways to become a display artist. Some people with artistic talents simply happen upon a few jobs designing displays, then turn this experience into a profession. Artists who have already decided to focus on display art often find that a degree in this type of art is helpful. Usually, a combination of experience and talent is enough to get a foot in the door designing displays, so building a strong portfolio can be the best way to become a display artist for larger companies.
The best way to become a display artist is to start designing displays. An artist may need to start small, but there are a lot of different ways a person can get practice designing displays. One way is to volunteer at small museums and other places that might appreciate a free window display from a talented young artist. Usually, this will involve pitching a display to the store or museum in question, and one may have to pay for any supplies used. Any free displays created can be used in a portfolio to help obtain paying work.
Another great way to become a display artist is to get a degree in this type of art. Often, these degree programs are called visual merchandising arts programs. These degree programs can provide ample practice, teach skills, and, most importantly, provide networking opportunities. While a degree program is not a replacement for artistic talent, it can help make potential employers take one's application seriously.
In terms of artistic skills needed to become a display artist, there is no set style considered appropriate for this type of art. It is important to be able to work in three dimensions and incorporate products in creative ways, but styles vary depending on the artist. Generally, this is a type of art that must meet corporate expectations, and one must be prepared to make artistic compromises in order to please clients. Sometimes, people who are extremely versatile are at an advantage over people who are very good at one specific kind of art, because versatility allows the artist to meet the expectations of a wide variety of clients.
It is important to note that there is an element of luck when trying to become a display artist, because this profession is highly competitive. Even so, people who are persistent and work hard are often able to rise above those who give up easily. Starting with small local stores and designing an excellent portfolio is a great way to catch the eye of larger stores. Maintaining an art career on the side can be fulfilling and may provide one's window displays with higher prestige.