Artist jobs run the gamut from the functional, to the aesthetic, to the technical. Traditional artists usually fall into one of two categories: craft artist or fine artist. Craft artists use materials such as textiles, glass, and pottery to create objects by hand. Their creations usually have a functional purpose. Fine artists, however, paint, sculpt, or draw their creations purely for aesthetic value.
Artists typically create their works for sale or display. Most artists build a portfolio of work over time that they use to secure jobs or exhibition space at shows, museums, auctions, and other marketplaces. Roughly half of fine and craft artists are self-employed, and the others work in the government or private sector.
Artist Job Education Requirements
Because of the high level of self-employment in the field, formal education requirements for general artist jobs are fairly rare. However, specialty areas of the field may require unique education and training. For example, 3D animator jobs often require a bachelor's degree as well as extensive computer design experience. Similarly, supervisory positions in the private sector often require business training or experience, such as art director jobs. With almost all art jobs, short- and long-term on-the-job training is common.
Artist Job Market
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most fields of the art profession will experience slower-than-average employment growth in coming years. Here are the expected growth rates for several artist positions (11 percent is the United States average):
Craft artists: 3 percent
Fine artists: 4 percent
Multimedia artists and animators: 6 percent
Art directors: 7 percent
Artist Job Salary Information
Salaries for artist careers can vary widely depending on the artist's specialty. The BLS reports that fine artists, such as sculptors and painters, earn an average of $51,120. By contrast, craft artists earn an average of $36,300. Animators make an average of $69,410. Finally, art directors make an average of $97,850.