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The Office of Career Services
Library Building, Room 429 & 430
222-05 56th Avenue
Bayside, NY 11364
Phone: (718) 631-6297

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Occupation Info


Fine Artist

Overview: Fine artists create works of art to communicate ideas, thoughts or feelings. They may use a variety of methods such as painting or sculpting to express their ideas. Their work is often displayed in museums, galleries and private homes.
Duties: Fine artists, including painters and sculptors, create original artwork using a variety of media and techniques to communicate ideas, thoughts, or feelings. They are creative and practical thinkers. The work of a fine artist may be realistic, stylized, or abstract and may depict objects, people, nature, or events. Usually, fine artists specialize in one or two art forms, such as painting, sketching, sculpting, printmaking, and restoring. To complete and sell a work of art, an artist must estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, and materials needed and judge the value of objects, services, or people.

Fine artists use an assortment of materials, including oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, pencils, pen and ink, plaster, clay, and computers. Painters create portraits, landscapes, and still life pictures. Sculptors design three-dimensional works of art. Printmakers create printed images from designs cut or etched into wood, stone, or metal.

An artist may be commissioned to create pieces of art by clients. An artist meets with the client to discuss objectives, ideas, and themes to be portrayed. Most artwork, however, is created as an original idea by artists and bought by people who like the item. The works of fine artists are typically displayed in museums, galleries, and private homes. Because there is no guarantee that artwork will sell, many fine artists hold other jobs. Only the most successful fine artists are able to support themselves solely through the sale of their works. Some teach art in high schools and colleges. Others work as administrators of arts programs. Fine artists may also work as art critics and consultants to foundations that invest in art. Most fine artists, however, work in unrelated fields to support their art careers.

Artists work in art studios in buildings, or in private studios in their homes. Some fine artists share studio space, where they may also exhibit their work. Studio surroundings are usually well lighted and ventilated. Fine artists may be exposed to fumes from glue, paint, ink, and other materials and artists who sit at drafting tables or use computers for extended periods may experience back pain, eyestrain, or fatigue. Self-employed artists can set their own hours, but may spend much time and effort selling their artwork to potential customers or clients and building a reputation.

Degree(s): A.S. Visual and Performing Arts: Art & Photography Concentration 
A.A.S. Digital Art and Design 
A.A.S. Internet Technology 
A.S. Visual and Performing Arts: Dance Concentration 
A.S. Visual and Performing Arts: Music Concentration 
A.S. Visual and Performing Arts: Theatre Arts Concentration 
A.S. Visual and Performing Arts: Interdisciplinary Concentration  
Job Outlook: Employment for fine artists is expected to grow as fast as average through 2018. Studios, galleries, and individual clients are always on the lookout for outstanding and creative artists. Competition for gallery space is expected to be intense as well as commissioned pieces of art.
Starting Salary: More than half fine artists are self-employed. Earnings for self-employed artists vary widely. Some charge nominal fees while they build a reputation. Only a small percentage of the most successful fine artists receive major commissions for their work and can earn higher thatn average salaries.
Salary Range (National Average): $18,000 to $21,000
Education Level: Typically, a Bachelor’s Degree from a 4-year college (some are 5 years) is required to be considered for this occupation.
Additional Training/Education: While formal higher education is not required, most artists develop their skills through a bachelor's degree program or other postsecondary training in art or design. Artists who want to teach fine arts in public education must have a teaching certificate in addition to a bachelor's degree. An advanced degree in fine arts or arts administration is necessary for management or administrative positions in foundations, government or colleges.
Recommended Skills:
  • Identifying the most appropriate equipment and tools needed to get a job done.
  • Painting, drawing, crafting, sculpting and creative designing.
  • Paying attention to what other people are saying, and taking time to understand the points being made.
  • Using your hands to operated fine instruments and precision tools.
  • Being aware of the reactions of others, and understanding why they react the way they do.
  • Talking, giving speeches, or speaking in a group to convey information, explain ideas, or give instructions.
Recommended Values:
  • Being able to express creative ideas through the arts.
  • Doing something where you can physically see the results of your work.
 

* National data collected by the Department of Labor between 2008-2012.
* For New York salary data information please click here
* For New York green job information please click here.

Understanding acquiring positions in this field may be enhanced through continuing academic study (i.e. earning a baccalaureate or a master's degree) and/or work experience in the field, Queensborough Community College has established transfer agreements with other institutions for students who wish to further pursue their educational goals. Students are highly encouraged to meet with one of our Career Services to fully understand the opportunities available through study in their degree program.