How to become an Artist

Artists conceive and create visual representations to investigate, respond to or communicate an impression or idea.

Personal requirements for an Artist

  • Artistic ability
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Creative and the ability to conceptualise ideas
  • Self-discipline
  • Promotional skills

Education & Training for an Artist

You can work as an artist without formal qualifications. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications in relevant art-related disciplines, which may enhance your skills. You may like to consider a VET qualification in an art-related area, such as visual arts or design. Applicants may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of work. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become an artist by studying visual arts, creative arts, fine arts or design at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and an arts or design subject are normally required. Applicants may also be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of work. A high level of talent is required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Duties & Tasks of an Artist

An artist may be concerned with the production of two-dimensional or three-dimensional forms, employing a number of methods such as painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture and ceramics to realise their ideas. They may also use film, digital technology and performance techniques and forms.:


Tasks

  • Placing finished and decorated pieces in kilns.
  • Selecting artistic media, method and materials.
  • Sketching designs of proposed sculptures, and making wax and plaster models.
  • Arranging objects, positioning models, and selecting landscapes and other visual forms according to chosen subject matter.
  • Mixing glazing materials and applying glazes to dried pottery by dipping and painting.
  • Applying media to surfaces using appropriate techniques.
  • Moulding clay into functional and artistic articles by wheel-throwing, moulding and hand-building.
  • Carving and forming materials to desired shape using hand and power tools.
  • Conceiving and developing ideas, designs and styles for paintings, drawings, pottery pieces and sculptures.
  • Devising forms from metal using welding and metalworking equipment, and from stone using masonry tools.

Working conditions for an Artist

Artists may concentrate on a specific area of work or may use a combination of techniques. They generally work in studios and may share the space with other artists.


Employment Opportunities for an Artist

Artists often establish a studio or cooperative base and take part in group or individual exhibitions. They may be represented by galleries that promote and sell their work. Their work may be purchased by private collectors or held in public collections within cultural institutions. Other opportunities include public art commissions, residencies, research and grant opportunities, as well as work within the creative industries. Other possible employers include educational institutions, television and theatre companies, design and printing firms, hospitals and museums. Artists may be commissioned to create a specific piece of work for an individual or organisation. Job opportunities are extremely competitive and depend on the demand for artistic services, the quality of the artist's work and their reputation within the arts industry. Most artists take on other jobs for financial support.


Specializations

Printmaker

A printmaker etches designs onto metal plates or cuts designs into wood or linoleum to produce prints. They also prepare screens for screen-printing and execute lithographic prints. Printmakers prepare ink and printmaking surfaces and transfer images to print material by using a press or other printing method.

Sculptor/Installation Artist

A sculptor/installation artist conceives and develops a concept or design for a sculpture or installation project. Sculptor/installation artists may sketch designs and then decide on the material, techniques and the space where the sculpture or installation is to be exhibited. They often make models using wax or plaster and then carve, model or assemble materials to the desired form using hand or power tools. They may also fire clay objects in kilns and prepare moulds for casting sculptures in metal.

Painter (Fine/Visual Arts)

A painter (fine/visual arts) researches, sketches and develops ideas for paintings. Painters use mediums such as oil, watercolour, pencil, pastel, acrylic or ink and paint onto prepared surfaces such as canvas, paper or board. Painters mix or apply colours using appropriate techniques while taking into account the relationships of line, colour, design and form. Painters may run workshops and oversee community arts projects.

Performance/Live Art Artist

A performance/live art artist uses their body as the site and material of their art practice. Through action and spectacle performance and live art, artists may explore ideas of process, experience and production. The performance may be scripted or unscripted and can include audience participation.

Artist

Artists conceive and create visual representations to investigate, respond to or communicate an impression or idea.

Painter (Fine/Visual Arts)

A painter (fine/visual arts) researches, sketches and develops ideas for paintings. Painters use mediums such as oil, watercolour, pencil, pastel, acrylic or ink and paint onto prepared surfaces such as canvas, paper or board. Painters mix or apply colours using appropriate techniques while taking into account the relationships of line, colour, design and form. Painters may run workshops and oversee community arts projects.

Performance/Live Art Artist

A performance/live art artist uses their body as the site and material of their art practice. Through action and spectacle performance and live art, artists may explore ideas of process, experience and production. The performance may be scripted or unscripted and can include audience participation.

Printmaker

A printmaker etches designs onto metal plates or cuts designs into wood or linoleum to produce prints. They also prepare screens for screen-printing and execute lithographic prints. Printmakers prepare ink and printmaking surfaces and transfer images to print material by using a press or other printing method.

Sculptor/Installation Artist

A sculptor/installation artist conceives and develops a concept or design for a sculpture or installation project. Sculptor/installation artists may sketch designs and then decide on the material, techniques and the space where the sculpture or installation is to be exhibited. They often make models using wax or plaster and then carve, model or assemble materials to the desired form using hand or power tools. They may also fire clay objects in kilns and prepare moulds for casting sculptures in metal.

  • Average age
    Average age
    50 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Moderate
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    57% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    47 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    Unavailable
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Average unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    49% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    10,000 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.7%
    NSW: 29.8%
    NT: 2.2%
    QLD: 17.7%
    SA: 7.6%
    TAS: 3.8%
    VIC: 28.4%
    WA: 8.7%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.8%
    20-24: 3.2%
    25-34: 14%
    35-44: 19.1%
    45-54: 24.5%
    55-59: 13%
    60-64: 11.5%
    65 and Over: 14%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 17.2%
    Bachelor degree: 29.4%
    Certificate III/IV: 12.3%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 12.2%
    Year 10 and below: 10%
    Year 11: 3.2%
    Year 12: 15.8%
Is the information on this page correct? Request update

Become a member

Already a member? Login Forgot password?

Join the conversation