Fine artists create sculptors, paintings, graphics, watercolors and drawings. Fine art is a visual art that has been created for aesthetic reasons and judged for its beauty and meaningfulness. The word "fine" indicates the purity of the discipline. Some fine artists work with a variety of materials and others specialize in a particular material. Fine artists create original artwork.
The artwork of fine artists is usually displayed in commercial art galleries, museums, private homes and corporate collections. Some fine artwork is commissioned (created upon request of clients), however most artwork is sold via private art galleries and dealers. Usually the artist and the gallery owner decide in advance how much each of them will receive from a sale.
- Attend art exhibitions and read art publications
- Create art out of substances such as clay or wax
- Study techniques, styles, colors and materials for restoration processes
- Build a clientele
- Create sculptures and statutes
- Build and maintain an artistic portfolio
- Develop budgets for approval
Fine artists often work alone. They work in warehouses, lofts and office buildings. Some fine artists work from their homes. Some artists share studio space with others and sometimes use the space to exhibit their work. Self-employed artists usually spend a lot of time and effort trying to sell their work to potential customers or clients and for building a reputation.
The Bureau of Labor statistics forecasts a 6 percent growth rate from 2006 to 2016 for artists and related workers which is faster than average for all occupations. There is keen competition for jobs for artists and related jobs. However, galleries, studios and clients are continually looking for artists that show outstanding talent, style and creativity.
The median annual earnings for salaried fine artists in 2006 was $41,970. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $79,390. The earnings for artists that are self-employed vary widely. Some artists only charge clients a nominal fee while they acquire experience and build a reputation for their artwork. Some well established freelance fine artists earn more money than salaried artists.
Some fine artists attempt to earn a living via sales of their artwork, however many fine artists cannot make a living just from art sales. Many fine artists teach at art schools, colleges or public schools to supplement their incomes. Some work in art galleries or museums as curators or as directors.
Competition among artists to have their artwork shown in galleries is projected to remain intense. Competition for grants from private foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and State and local art councils is expected to remain intense.
Some fine artists earn income by providing private art lessons, conducting workshops or by teaching art classes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that about two-thirds of fine artists are self-employed. The rest of them typically have full-time jobs and create art during their free time.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
A large number of colleges and universities provide bachelor's and master's degrees in fine arts. The programs usually include classes such as art history and studio art, natural science, social science and English. Independent schools of art also provide studio training in fine arts and provide certificates and associate and bachelor's degrees in fine arts. When compared to academic programs at universities, the independent art school programs have a stronger emphasis on studio work.
Those seeking to teach fine arts at a public school typically are required to have a bachelor's degree and a teaching certificate. Management and administrative positions in foundations and government agencies as well as teaching positions in colleges usually require an advance degree in fine arts or arts administration.
An artist's portfolio is a major factor for clients and directors in deciding if they want to hire an artist or contract for their work. Internships are beneficial for artists for developing and improving their portfolio.
The top employers are colleges, art galleries, public schools, museums and foundations.
Schools for Fine Artists are listed in the Browse Schools Section.