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

Preferred qualifications

  • 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.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$56,400$76,350
Los Angeles, California$63,650$86,150
Denver, Colorado$53,050$71,750
Washington, DC$64,600$87,450
Miami, Florida$52,800$71,450
Orlando, Florida$48,700$65,900
Tampa, Florida$49,200$66,550
Atlanta, Georgia$51,600$69,800
Chicago, Illinois$59,300$80,250
Boston, Massachusetts$64,150$86,750
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$51,100$69,150
New York City, New York$67,500$91,350
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$54,950$74,350
Dallas, Texas$53,500$72,400
Houston, Texas$53,300$72,100
Seattle, Washington$61,750$83,500
National Average$48,200$65,250

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.

Typical hours

The work hours for a full-time artist are typically from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday in an office setting.

Available certifications

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.

Career path

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

2020 Employment25,900
Projected Employment in 203030,400
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 17% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift4,500 increase

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?
  • List 5 adjectives that describe your work ethic.
  • List 3 skills you have gained from past jobs.
  • How do you handle criticism?
  • Why should we hire you over the other candidates?
  • What inspires your work?

Artist Jobs in Ashburn

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