ArtistJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
A professional artist can be many different things, each requiring specific talents and skills. In general, there are two categories of professional artists: fine art and applied art. Fine artists, such as painters, sculptures, or illustrators, create artwork meant to provoke a response in the viewer or listener or to convey important information. Applied artists design and produce consumer goods like furniture, jewelry, fashion apparel, and ceramics. Regardless of specialty, an artist needs to be creative, have keen attention to detail, highly refined artistic ability, and possess good time management. Artists can also be graphic designers, technical illustrators, multimedia artists, or sketch artists.
Some artists work in more than one area of fine or applied art but typically specialize in one. Artists need determination, and the ability to deal well with criticism and rejection. Understanding the commercial value of art is as important as the ability to produce it. Artists who market their work need good business skills, excellent communication skills, and strong project management skills. They must be flexible and willing to adapt as the project demands.
Sample job description
The artist is responsible for the design, creation, and modification of artistic projects. The artist must have good communication skills since they work closely with clients, sponsors, and other project managers. The artist must have a thorough understanding of design concepts and techniques, as well as computer applications. The majority of the work will be collaborative, but there may also be some working alone on designing art pieces or creating models for projects to come. The ideal candidate will design concepts and techniques, be familiar with computer applications, have strong communication skills, and have the ability to work independently.
Typical duties and responsibilities
Collaborate with the creative team about client needs
Propose budget and production schedules to clients
Design rough drafts for client approval
Conduct demographic and industry research
Create content using traditional or digital tools and platforms
Refine initial drafts and revise using traditional or digital tools
Format or share final files, if necessary, for creative review
Deliver final assets for client review
Education and experience
This position requires a high school diploma or GED. Employers prefer that candidates have either a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree from a college or university.
Required skills and qualifications
Expertise with traditional tools, and digital tools such as Adobe Creative Cloud
Strong communication skills
Ability to work under tight deadlines
Expertise in the principles of their chosen artistic field
Proficiency with design enhancement platforms and software
Keen knowledge of emerging trends
3+ years of experience with Adobe Photoshop
3+ years of experience with Adobe Illustrator
Knowledge of 3D Studio Max or Maya
Knowledge of AutoCAD or Revit
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for an artist is $56,750 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
Typical work environment
Artists typically work in a collaborative workspace with other team members, but there may be some projects that require working independently. Hours vary based on the project and company.
The work hours for a full-time artist are typically from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday in an office setting.
There are plenty of great certifications for artists out there. Here is one of the most popular:
Adobe Certified Professional. This certification is an industry-recognized credential that effectively validates one’s skills in Adobe Creative Cloud applications. If you plan to work in art and design, having this certification can set you apart from other applicants.
The journey to becoming a professional artist can take different directions. All of them require building a proven, exceptional skill set.
Many artists begin their careers by earning a bachelor’s degree in fine art, visual media, or a related field of study. Some candidates even go on to pursue master’s degrees to expand their expertise further. But a robust creative portfolio will offset a lack of formal education. Many professional artists will hone their craft and build experience by freelancing between full-time positions.
US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook
SOC Code: 27-1013
Projected Employment in 2030
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift
The emergence of digital and social media has grown the potential audience for full-time professional artists. The lines between the consumers and producers of art have blurred.
3D printing has also expanded the production capabilities of full-time and freelance artists. The most versatile artists will master these new platforms to engage directly with their audiences, creating value as brand ambassadors for prospective clients.
Sample interview questions
What is your biggest strength?
What is your biggest weakness?
Give me an example of a time you went above and beyond for a client.
Why do you want to work for this company in particular?
Do you have any questions about the job or company?
How would you improve our business if you were hired?
What design software are you most familiar with?
What is your experience working in a team environment?
What is your experience working independently?
How would you approach this project we are discussing?
If you could change one thing about the design industry, what would it be?
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