How to Become an Artist
Job Duties of an Artist
Skills and Qualities of an Artist
Wages and Earnings of a Professional Artist
Influential or Famous Artists
Leading Organizations for Artists
Top Cities for Artist Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become an Artist

Art is a very broad terms, and there are as many types of artists as there are forms of art. To become an artist, a person can take one of many paths. One common path is to study art in a bachelor's degree program, at a college or university. In these programs, an art student usually studies other subjects as well as art: core subjects such as English and basic science courses are usually needed for a general education requirement. However, the bulk of the courses taken will relate to art.

Another path to becoming an artist is to attend an independent college of art. These art and design colleges tend to focus more on studio art work than do four-year universities, often attracting more serious and single-minded art students. Computer studies are now a big part of art programs, as more and more artists are using computer software to help them in their art.

Since there are so many different types of visual art, art students tend to specialize in one particular medium or purpose, such as painting in oils, sculpture, computer graphics, or medical illustration. Masters degrees in fine art (MFAs) are also available for those who want more study and training in a particular subfield of the visual arts.

What does an Artist do?

Visual artists use the visual arts to attempt to express feelings, thoughts, concepts, or ideas, or to create a desired atmosphere or environment. Many different media are used in the visual arts including paints (oil, acrylic, and watercolors), pen and ink, colored pencils, etching, clay, stone, charcoal, computers, and pastels. Artists may use only one medium or may combine media for a "mixed media" or "multimedia" work.

Some artists produce very realistic work while others prefer to use an impressionistic style or even abstract (non-representational) art to express themselves. Artists may use their art to further a commercial idea or product, such as in advertising, or the art itself may be the end goal of an artist, as with fine art.

The bottom line is that artists produce art of many different types, whether it is to sell, to display, to advertise, or just to express their thoughts and feelings.

What skills or qualities do I need to become an Artist?

Artists must obviously have artistic talent, probably the most important quality for aspiring artists. Besides skill and talent, artists must be self-motivated, especially those who are self-employed and freelancing. Artists who struggle with motivation will find it very difficult to produce any art. Having some sense of how to market their art and themselves as artists is also very important, as artists must find an audience that is receptive to their work. Artists who are not self-employed must be prepared to produce art on demand, as necessary.

What is the average salary of a professional Artist?

The earnings of artists are extremely variable, depending upon if an artist is employed, working as a freelancer, working in fine art or in advertising, and working full-time or part-time, among many other variables. Many artists have "day jobs" that provide them enough income to support their art, which they do on their free time.

In 2006, salaried artists working in the fine arts made a median annual amount of $41,970, with the middle fifty percent earning in between $28,500 and $58,550. Art directors earn much more, while craft artists earn considerably less than fine artists. Self-employed artists may actually earn nothing from their art for a period of time while they are building up a reputation. Once an artist has a strong reputation, he or she may earn more even than a salaried artist.
Artist Salary | More details for Artist Jobs | Salary

Who are some influential professional Artists?

There are many, many influential artists throughout history. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, usually referred to simply as Michelangelo, was an Italian artist from the Renaissance. He painted and sculpted, and is most famous for the beautiful mural on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the sculpture of the David.

Many impressionist painters were very influential in beginning a new genre of painting, including Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Auguste Renoir. These painters made it acceptable for brush strokes to show up in their paintings and for the paintings themselves to not be entirely realistic, but also not yet abstract.

Andy Warhol was very influential in pop art, taking his experience from being a commercial illustrator, and helping legitimize a new form of art, which became accepted more after his death than before it.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were both Mexican painters who attained popularity around the world for their new fresh style of art. Kahlo painted mainly self-portraits that showed her physical and emotional pain. Her husband, Diego Rivera, was a muralist who painted many historical and political murals around Mexico and abroad.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

There are many art schools around the United States which are extremely influential. These include the Art Institute of California (with branches in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Hollywood, among others), the California College of the Arts (CCA, formerly known as California College of Arts and Crafts, or CCAC), the Art Institute of New York City, and the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois.

What are the top cities for Artist jobs?

Artists can work from home or from a studio in any city and are not usually limited by location. However, certain cities may have a more appreciative audience for art, or more locations, such as galleries, to display the art. New York City is the top city in the United States for artist jobs, a fact that will come as no surprise to the many people who have traveled to New York in search of a way to express themselves. Chicago, Illinois comes in second for artist careers in the United States, and Los Angeles, California is in third place. Miami and Orlando, both in Florida, are tied for fourth place in terms of the best cities for artist jobs in the United States. Atlanta, Georgia, and Dallas, Texas tie for sixth place.

Other Careers of Interest

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