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Using a variety of materials, artists provide design services and make objects for sale or exhibition. These individuals are responsible for conveying ideas and telling stories using various media. Some use art tools like paint or clay to produce objects that are beautiful as well as functional, while others create pieces just for appearance alone.

An art career encompasses different tasks such as designing packaging and advertising, taking photographs, working with textiles in the fashion industry, or arranging flowers. Professionals get to utilize their creative side on a daily basis and learn technical skills related to a chosen profession.

What Is an Art Career?

While an art job is a rewarding way to earn a living, candidates may face challenges when first starting. Although there is a wide array of choices in the field, some opportunities are by contract or commissioned, making them temporary roles. Finding regular employment often comes easier to those living in larger, urban areas.

The type of art equipment used varies from one discipline to another. Painters use oils, watercolors, or acrylics. Fiber workers depend on supplies like yarn and fabric, while a jeweler would use different types of beads, wires and clasps in their craft.

The types of tools one is interested in using determine the kind of art education required. Most art trade schools offer programs that are specific to a particular technique. It is important to research art degrees to determine the length of the program offered and the types of experiences included.

People generally choose to specialize in either fine or craft art. Fine art exists solely for aesthetic reasons and includes painting, sculpting and illustration. Crafts, like knitting or ceramics, have an intended purpose. Art classes help hopefuls explore each discipline to decide which type interests them most. More specific options include:

  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Furniture making
  • Glassblowing
  • Jewelry making
  • Ceramics
  • Painting
  • Drawing

What Are Artist’s Job Duties?

Art duties vary from one place to the next, depending on whether a person is self-employed or at an organization. Often, people commission an artist to complete a particular project for them. When this is the case or if the individual is part of a company, the patron or a project manager determines the expectations.

An independent worker is usually responsible for generating their own ideas and will brainstorm for a portion of the day. When selecting an idea, a creator must consider the audience and the purpose of the piece. Next comes choosing supplies that are appropriate for the desired look and within the established budget. Items often used are those like:

  • Fabrics
  • Oil or acrylic paint
  • Pencils and Pens
  • Watercolors and Pastels
  • Yarn
  • Paper or canvas
  • Clay

What Types of Skills Should Artists Possess?

Creativity and flexibility are valuable traits for an artist to have. They sometimes must make decisions or changes in the middle of a project. Being able to visualize a concept and what a finished item will look like is also helpful.

Art skills improve through practice and repetition, so hopefuls should exercise patience and foster a desire to achieve mastery of their chosen craft. They need to take risks and try new things. Since much about art is subjective, the ability to accept feedback and criticism on completed items is vital.

Artists earn a living by selling their creations to others. Therefore, it is important that professionals strive to deliver great customer service. Good interpersonal communication helps build a positive reputation and can result in repeat sales to collectors. Business savvy and budgeting knowledge are necessary in order to be profitable and sustainable.

Career seekers must possess some art skill and training in visual techniques such as perspective, space, color, and composition. Knowing how to use various materials allows these tradespeople more opportunities for jobs and more options when constructing a piece. A good art trade school guides students in developing an art resume and a portfolio prior to graduation.

How Do Artists Maintain Their Workspace?

Most individuals are self-employed, which gives them the flexibility to design their own space. For this reason, it is helpful for those with art training to be good at picking up after themselves. No matter what the medium is, there are items that require regular maintenance or cleaning such as:

  • Brushes
  • Easels
  • Pottery wheels
  • Kilns
  • Screens
  • Squeegees
  • Cameras
  • Chisels

Although they get a reputation for being messy, people in this profession must be highly organized. To keep the proper supplies at the ready, routinely picking up around the studio is a must. Creatives can make sure all the needed materials are available so nothing runs out in the middle of a project.

Why Do Artists Need Business Knowledge?

One of the most important art job requirements is the ability to understand concepts like profit and loss. Full- and part-timers need to have the skills to know how to balance costs with earnings. Since income from a career in the arts is often unpredictable, it is essential to be able to budget for buying supplies and having money for living expenses between projects.

How Do Artists Promote Their Work?

Self-employed artists are responsible for marketing each creation and finding customers themselves. There are a number of different avenues for artisans to promote what they produce. Many sell wares at coffee shops, at auction, or displayed in local galleries. Some choose to attend craft fairs to sell items.

Professionals today share images of pieces for sale on personal websites. Posting to social media platforms helps increases exposure and generates buzz about new projects in progress.

What Are Useful Skills and Traits for People in Art Careers?

  • Creativity and a willingness to take risks
  • A strong attention to detail
  • Artistic ability and interest
  • Problem solving experience
  • Patience with themselves and others
  • A general understanding of business
  • Being able to accept criticism
  • Verbal and written communication proficiency

Are There Special Requirements for Art Jobs?

Educational needs for these roles are as varied as the creatives themselves. Many students begin classes in high school and continue studying after graduation. Obtaining an art certificate from a trade school is helpful in learning about styles and techniques. Crafters generally practice a specialty on their own without any additional education.

Fine artists, however, may decide to pursue an advanced art degree through a bachelor’s or master’s program. Additional classes might be necessary for people looking for positions at a company or a museum. Art school provides an excellent opportunity to build a portfolio and try new disciplines.

What Is the Outlook for
Art Jobs?

Depending on what medium a prospect uses, it may be possible to find a role in an organization. Most, however, work for themselves, which allows for flexibility in scheduling or location, but makes having a steady paycheck difficult. Some have other employment they use to supplement an art career.

The average pay an associate receives from a company is around $48k per year. Incomes for independent artists vary quite a bit, ranging between $22k to $38k. Those new to the field sell pieces for lower prices in order to gain experience and exposure in the industry.

Art job benefits are dependent on whether one is an entrepreneur or works for someone else. Self-employed workers have the advantage of setting perks themselves. Job seekers who fill a role within a business may see standard offerings including:

  • Medical and dental insurance
  • Retirement plans like a 401(k)
  • Vacation Pay
  • Sick pay
  • Short- or long-term disability benefits

Expect demand for art jobs to grow about as much as other roles. The need for workers is largely dependent on the economy. If things are going well, more customers are interested in investing in art.

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What Should Workers Expect?

A career in the arts, although a dream for lots of people, requires a lot of dedication. It generally takes several years for a new artist to become established and to build an art resume. It is vital prospects practice their craft diligently in order to have a great portfolio that will help them land jobs.

Hopefuls ought to spend the time while they are learning networking with others in the local art community such as teachers, gallery owners, and community leaders. These contacts sometimes become sources for employment opportunities or potential customers as a person gains experience.

Where Can Prospects Find Work?

If entrepreneurship seems too unpredictable, try looking for a job at an organization. There are several types of companies that employ creatives like:

  • Marketing or advertising firms
  • Magazines and online publications
  • Museums
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Graphic design studios
  • Galleries
  • Boutiques
  • Production companies
  • Print shops
  • Art studios
  • What Are the Benefits of Self-Employment?

    Despite what entrepreneurs might lack in traditional benefits, prospects may feel going solo is the best way to do this job. Those who create independently have the flexibility to make things when, where, and how they want. From designing a studio to choosing materials, self-employed artists get the most control.

    It is crucial, however, for prospects to stay informed about market trends and to adequately promote their work. Additionally, some individuals find spending time by themselves lonely and rent a studio in a larger space to be able to regularly interact with others who share the same interests.

    Do Artists Have Any Other Options?

    There are a host of career options for prospects that pursue an art degree or certificate. Tattooists use their education and specialized equipment to draw pictures on the human body. Art historians are people who are interested in the development of styles of art over time. They often are employed in museums alongside restoration experts who preserve and repair pieces from old and unique collections.

    Art directors are responsible for the overall design of a project. These professionals collaborate with others to generate the visuals used in newspapers, magazines, and product packaging. Graphic designers, multimedia artists and animators use computers to create images for use in television, movies, online and in print.

    What Are Alternate Careers for Artists?

    After getting additional specialized art training, many utilize their abilities in another role. Some illustrators draw diagrams for medical journals and anatomy textbooks. Textile artists may go on to explore jobs as fashion designers. Architects draw plans for commercial buildings as well as homes.

    Florists put together arrangements with plants using concepts like balance and color theory. Interior designers take items such as furniture, lighting, and decorations and organize the perfect space. Photographers use light and cameras to record visual images which capture an event or tell a story. There is such a variety of mediums that it’s possible for anyone to use their creativity in a job they love.