Fine Artists


Fine artists create art which satisfies their own needs for expression. They show their work in places such as museums, businesses and homes. Most of their work is sold through private galleries or art dealers. The gallery and artist share in the sale of the art. Some fine artists must work at a second job to help support themselves. Some teach art classes or work in art galleries. Many work in a job that is unrelated to their art.

Working Conditions

Fine artists usually work alone. They usually specialize in one or two art forms such as painting, sculpting or illustrating.


Earnings for self-employed fine artists vary widely. Some charge only a nominal fee while they gain experience and build a reputation for their work. Well-established fine artists can earn much more than salaried artists.

Helpful Skills and Subjects to Study

Coursework leading to a degree in fine arts includes core subjects such as English, social science, and natural science, in addition to art history and studio art.

Related Jobs

Other workers who apply visual art skills include architects, landscape architects, photographers, and designers.

Education & Training

Training requirements for visual and fine artists vary, depending upon the speciality. Although formal training is not strictly necessary for fine artists, it is very difficult to become skilled enough to make a living without some training. Many colleges and universities offer degree programs leading to the bachelor in fine arts (BFA) and master in fine arts (MFA) degrees.

Job Outlook

Fine artists mostly work on a freelance, or commission, basis and may find it difficult to earn a living solely by selling their artwork. Competition among artists for the privilege of being shown in galleries is expected to remain acute.

Sources for Additional Information

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design
11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21
Reston, VA 20190