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What is a Fine Artist

What Does a Fine Artist Do

Craft and fine artists use a variety of materials and techniques to create art for sale and exhibition. Craft artists create handmade objects, such as pottery, glassware, textiles, and other objects that are designed to be functional. Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, create original works of art for their aesthetic value, rather than for a functional one.

Learn more about what a Fine Artist does

How To Become a Fine Artist

Most fine artists earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in fine arts in order to improve their skills and job prospects. A formal educational credential is typically not needed for craft artists. Craft and fine artists improve their skills through practice and repetition.

Education

Most fine artists pursue postsecondary education to earn degrees that can improve their skills and job prospects. A formal educational credential is typically not needed for craft artists. However, it is difficult to gain adequate artistic skills without some formal education. High school classes such as art, shop, and home economics can teach prospective craft artists some of the basic skills they will need, such as drawing, woodworking, and sewing.

A large number of colleges and universities offer bachelor's and master’s degrees in fine arts. In addition to offering studio art and art history, postsecondary programs may include core subjects, such as English, marketing, social science, and natural science. Independent schools of art and design also offer postsecondary education programs, which can lead to a certificate in an art-related specialty or to an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in fine arts.

In 2014, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accredited approximately 320 postsecondary institutions with programs in art and design. Most of these schools award a degree in art.

Medical illustrators must have a demonstrated artistic ability and a detailed knowledge of human and animal anatomy, living organisms, and surgical and medical procedures. They usually need a bachelor’s degree that combining combines art and premedical courses. Medical illustrators may choose to get a master’s degree in medical illustration. Three accredited schools offer this degree in the United States.

Education gives artists an opportunity to develop their portfolio, which is a collection of an artist’s work that demonstrates his or her styles and abilities. Portfolios are essential, because art directors, clients, and others look at them in deciding whether to hire an artist or to buy the artist’s work. In addition to compiling a physical portfolio, many artists choose to create a portfolio online so that potential buyers and clients can view their work on the Internet.

Bachelor’s or higher degrees in fine arts or arts administration are usually necessary for management or administrative positions in government, management positions in private foundations, and teaching positions in colleges and universities. Those who want to teach fine arts at public elementary or secondary schools usually must have a teaching certificate in addition to a bachelor’s degree. For more information on workers who teach art classes, see the profiles on kindergarten and elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, high school teachers, and postsecondary teachers.

Training

Craft and fine artists improve their skills through practice and repetition. They can train in several ways other than—or in addition to—formal schooling. Craft and fine artists can train with simpler projects before attempting something more ambitious.

Some artists learn on the job from more experienced artists. Others attend noncredit classes or workshops or take private lessons, which may be offered in artists’ studios or at community colleges, art centers, galleries, museums, or other art-related institutions.

Still other artists work closely with other artists or assist them on either a formal or an informal basis. Formal arrangements may include internships or apprenticeship programs. Artists hired by firms often start with relatively routine work. While doing this work, they may observe other artists and practice their own skills.

Important Qualities

Artistic ability. Craft and fine artists create artwork and other objects that are visually appealing or thought provoking. This endeavor usually requires significant skill and attention to detail in one or more art forms.

Business skills. Craft and fine artists must promote themselves and their art to build a reputation and to sell their art. They often study the market for their crafts or artwork to increase their understanding of what potential customers might want. Many craft and fine artists sell their work on the Internet, so developing an online presence is an important part of their art sales.

Creativity. Artists must have active imaginations to develop new and original ideas for their work.

Customer-service skills. Craft and fine artists, especially those who sell their work themselves, must be good at dealing with customers and potential buyers.

Dexterity. Most artists work with their hands and must be good at manipulating tools and materials to create their art.

Interpersonal skills. Artists often must interact with many people, including coworkers, gallery owners, and the public.

Advancement

Craft and fine artists advance professionally as their work circulates and as they establish a reputation for their particular style. Many of the most successful artists continually develop new ideas, and their work often evolves over time.

Many artists do freelance work while continuing to hold a full-time job until they are established as professional artists. Others freelance part time while still in school, to develop experience and to build a portfolio of published work.

Freelance artists try to develop a set of clients who regularly contract for work. Some freelance artists are widely recognized for their skill in a specialty, such as illustrating children’s books or cartooning. These artists may earn high incomes and can choose the type of project they undertake.

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Average Salary
$55,974
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
1%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
10,506
Job Openings
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Fine Artist Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Fine Artist

Fine Artists in America make an average salary of $55,974 per year or $27 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $93,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $33,000 per year.
Average Salary
$55,974
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Choose From 10+ Customizable Fine Artist Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Fine Artist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Fine Artist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Fine Artist Resume
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Fine Artist Resume
Fine Artist Resume
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Fine Artist Resume
Fine Artist Resume

Fine Artist Demographics

Fine Artist Gender Distribution

Male
Male
40%
Female
Female
60%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Fine Artists, 59.8% of them are women, while 40.2% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Fine Artists is White, which makes up 72.9% of all Fine Artists.

  • The most common foreign language among Fine Artists is Spanish at 47.1%.

Job Openings

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Fine Artist Education

Fine Artist Majors

46.2 %

Fine Artist Degrees

Bachelors

68.8 %

Associate

12.8 %

Masters

9.3 %

Top Colleges for Fine Artists

1. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

5. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

6. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

7. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

8. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

9. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

10. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216
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Online Courses For Fine Artist That You May Like

Watercolor Painting Landscapes I By Award Winning Artist
udemy
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Paint Complete Landscape Scenes I Trees & Foliage I Sunset I Water Reflection I 4 Seasons: Winter Spring Summer & Autumn...

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Learn the Essentials Master the Basics Two full workshops packed in 1 great course All the FUN without the FLUFF!...

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The Complete Guide to Your First Acrylic Painting...

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Top Skills For a Fine Artist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.9% of Fine Artists listed Personal Website on their resume, but soft skills such as Business skills and Customer-service skills are important as well.

  • Personal Website, 13.9%
  • Graphic Design, 8.7%
  • Different Mediums, 8.3%
  • Sculpture, 7.0%
  • Photoshop, 6.7%
  • Other Skills, 55.4%

Best States For a Fine Artist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Fine Artist. The best states for people in this position are California, Nevada, Delaware, and Connecticut. Fine Artists make the most in California with an average salary of $83,594. Whereas in Nevada and Delaware, they would average $79,888 and $74,182, respectively. While Fine Artists would only make an average of $71,388 in Connecticut, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Fine Artist Jobs:
356
Highest 10% Earn:
$133,000
Location Quotient:
2.44
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Nevada

Total Fine Artist Jobs:
9
Highest 10% Earn:
$126,000
Location Quotient:
0.86
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Delaware

Total Fine Artist Jobs:
4
Highest 10% Earn:
$119,000
Location Quotient:
0.64
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Fine Artists

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Top Fine Artist Employers

Most Common Employers For Fine Artist

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Fine Artist SalaryAverage Salary
1
1.Otis College of Art and Design
$139,915
2$99,875
3$91,159
4$87,138
5
5.Homes.com
$79,689
6
6.undefined
$68,243