The idea of a struggling artist is a prevailing stereotype that never seems to go away. However, despite what people may have told you, you can build an incredibly successful career with an Arts degree. So, if you’re interested in studying art, here are the types of jobs for artists and art students to aspire to.
Artists and art students have an extensive list of jobs that they can pursue careers in, including art consultants, critics, curators, graphic designers, and. Artistic vision and design skills are also highly sought after in industries like fashion, media, and architecture.
In a world that has somewhat lost its appreciation for art and where elites dominate the fine arts, most people are reluctant to study art because career prospects are seemingly slim.
However, this is simply not the case. Studying art will help you acquire some incredibly valuable creative skills that are indispensable in many workplaces today. So, let’s look at some of the types of jobs for artists and art students that you can aspire towards.
Jobs for Artists & Art Students
While your art degree will teach you about painting, sculpting, drawing, and art theory, as an art graduate, you may find yourself in a job that you couldn’t have anticipated. But creativity and a disposition for bringing visual elements together can go a long way in many careers. Here are 36 jobs that you can target after graduation:
While architects have expertise in technical drawing and working knowledge about engineering and construction, there is still plenty of room for artists to take the design of a building or outdoor space to the next level and turn it into a landmark with timeless aesthetics.
And, if you want to take on the technical aspects, nothing’s stopping you from furthering your education and acquiring the necessary skills for a future in architecture after you’ve graduated with your art degree.
Art archivists play a critical role in preserving art and keeping it relevant. They maintain records and historically valuable documents while attributing appraisals to historical works.
Archivists are incredibly important for the processing and cataloging of both old and new artworks. Without them, we may be lost as artists. Sometimes art archivists will work as part of public service due to their passion for historically significant art.
3. Art Consultant
Art consultants commission artists to produce artworks, primarily contemporary art. They can work in both the private and public sectors.
They offer services such as acquiring works for art collectors, promoting individual artists and their works, marketing design, and researching demographics, for example, to help artists identify which groups are more likely to purchase artworks.
For example, art gallery demographics will be determined by gallery directors who tend to target a niche. Consultants will identify new trends, such as a rising enthusiasm about art among millennials, which consultants will identify and unpack to help the artist appeal to larger audiences.
4. Art Editor
Art editors write about art and will supervise a team of writers to produce content, discussing local exhibitions, for example. They may work for a newspaper or a website for a museum or gallery, but they require in-depth knowledge about art and the ability to communicate with writing skills.
5. Art Gallery Director
Art galleries play a crucial role in connecting artists with buyers and giving them a chance to make money. However, running a gallery is a little bit more complicated than simply putting up a few exhibitions. Day-to-day operations not only include setting up exhibitions but establishing policies to ensure those exhibitions are run smoothly.
Other tasks include interacting with attendees, marketing the gallery to get more visitors, and curating an image that reflects the gallery’s niched interests.
The career choice that any art student considers is to become an artist. But what do artists do?
An artist will generate and develop artistic ideas for either company advertising, organizational promotion efforts, or simply create artworks for an exhibition. Sketching out ideas or developing models, an artist will create artworks according to a brief for commission.
They will either work in a studio or off-site and develop relationships with suppliers to strike deals that reduce the marginal cost of creating artwork. An artist would typically report to a manager/supervisor, but it is primarily a fairly individualistic occupation, and artists have to meet deadlines rather than follow a specific schedule.
Cartoonists are artists who draw amusing pictures intended to either educate or entertain people. Their cartoons are also used to sell products, newspapers to create awareness surrounding political issues, comic books, graphic novels, video games, and more.
As an artist, cartoons are pretty great because you don’t even really need to be that good at drawing to make them. But you need good communication skills to get the message across, so it is a lot like all art – you’re conveying a message in still pictures.
Cinematographers, also knowns as directors of photography, take charge of the camera and lighting crews and are responsible for all of the lighting, color, and general look of each frame in a film. At times, they may even be behind a camera.
An art degree will help you critically assess the composition of a set in the context of the story being told.
9. Courtroom Sketch Artist
Courtroom sketch artist is not likely a career you’ve considered unless you have a passion for the law.
Many trials may allow cameras to record courtroom proceedings, and judges may bar them from the courtroom in trials involving minors, for example, which require discretion. Therefore, courtroom sketch artists will document and report on trials through a visual medium in the form of sketches.
Courtroom sketch artists can sell their visual art creations to newspapers and other media outlets who will use them to supplement their reports on a trial.
Because you’ve acquired a degree in visual arts, you can provide an educated opinion and offer a technical analysis of an artist’s creations. This is precisely what an art critic will do.
They will express their opinions in newspapers, magazines, journals, and through digital publications and, if they garner a specific reputation, art critics can become highly respected. In fact, their opinions are so important sometimes that they could ultimately shape an artist’s career.
Art curators are heavily involved in the process of putting artworks in front of art viewers’ eyes. They acquire, collect, catalog, and maintain artworks while researching, writing for publications, and even instructing art students.
It is one of the most rounded careers in art, covering all fundamental aspects of creating and selling art. They serve as overseers, content managers for the art collections and play a leading role in assembling art and producing exhibitions.
Engravers work with much harder mediums to produce art, etching specific designs, words, or images onto materials such as glass, metal, stone, or wood. Lapidists are another form of engravers and are highly skilled workers that cut and engrave precious stones.
However, a career as an engraver won’t necessarily require an art degree, and there are no minimum requirements. If it is a suitable career option for you, seek out an apprenticeship with an experienced engraver.
13. Exhibit Designer
Exhibit designers are the brains behind the final form of an art gallery, how the separate works are composed, framed, and lit. Exhibit designers will typically create fixtures and displays that complement an artwork to mount in an exhibition and shows in offices and other business environments, museums, libraries, and other galleries.
An exhibit designer can work on a freelance basis or be exclusively employed by a museum, business, or gallery.
14. Fashion Designer
The fashion industry is enormous. And it’s the perfect place for any artist to pursue a career. It’s one place where fashion designers can genuinely leverage artistic skills and possess an eye for creating something unique and beautiful to appeal to a mass market.
A fashion designer will help design and assist with producing clothes, shoes, accessories, etc.
They oversee and take part in selecting fabrics, selecting design elements, and curating features and composition to create uniformity in a collection through one visual element or another – most commonly through color.
15. Furniture Designer
Perhaps your passions do not lie in the conventional art, and you’re more interested in creating something that will be a long-term fixture in somebody’s home – a well-designed, sturdy piece of furniture.
Furniture designers work with manufacturers to create couches, chairs, tables, shelves, and decorative accessories like pillow covers. It requires intimate knowledge of contemporary trends in interior design, the materials used, and the manufacturing process.
Their scope of work can also extend to outdoor furniture, which has its specific design requirements – most pertinently, durability.
16. UX Designer
UX (user experience) designers are responsible for optimizing applications, focusing on creating the best user experience by improving ease of use and exploring avenues to solve users’ problems. They ensure that your use of an application is practically seamless and that utilizing the functions of an application is intuitive.
They often work in permanent roles for a specific company, running native, web-based applications, but also operate on a freelance basis.
It is one of the best career paths to follow as an art student but requires an excellent working knowledge of back-end software and critical thinking skills.
17. Graphic Designer
One of the most common careers for an art graduate to pursue is graphic design, which involves creating visual concepts through text and imagery, either by hand or through design programs. They are tasked with conveying a message to captivate users and customers in advertising campaigns, brochures, print publications, and corporate communications.
Graphic designers follow briefs established during meetings with clients, discuss their needs, and provide feedback on earlier design iterations.
Art historians will advise art collectors about whether an artwork is worth buying or selling by researching the history of artwork and exhibition designers on how to compose an exhibit in a museum or gallery.
Art students studying art history are equipped with the skills for researching and analyzing an artwork within the context of the era in which it was created. They also create catalogs, making it easier for people to access historical pieces and use them to inform how they create contemporary artworks.
Illustrators work closely with marketing teams and clients to create original print and digital images to turn ideas into illustrations that capture users’ attention.
The creative skills harnessed and refined in an art degree make art students perfect candidates, mainly due to their ability to turn a client’s vision into a reality through visual elements.
20. Interior Decorator
Interior decorators take charge of creating the look or feel of a home by determining how a client intends to use their space, their tastes, and their budgets. Through the use of decorative elements like paint, textiles, and furniture.
They meet directly with clients, develop decorative plans, collaborate with contractors, and aid in the installation and arrangement of decorative elements. Art students with a passion for homemaking can combine their love for art with their tastes for creating comfortable, beautiful homes that meet their clients’ needs.
21. Jewelry Designer
Jewelry designers are in charge of producing designs for the mass market or small, niche boutique stores. Alternatively, they can design unique pieces for clients upon request.
Using various materials, like gold, platinum, silver, and precious and semi-precious stones, jewelry designers create jewelry after consulting with clients or large-scale manufacturers to appeal to a larger market.
This is a popular career choice for art students because it can often be an opportunity to become self-employed, should you take the entrepreneurial route.
From mounting to model making to stamping and presswork, jewelry designers need to acquire a skill set that enables them to carry out stone setting, plating, enameling, welding, and engraving tasks.
Art journalists are also known as art reporters or art reviewers. They use their knowledge of the technical aspects, historical context and contemporary trends to write articles covering a broad range of art-related subjects.
One of the job’s perks is meeting and interviewing famous artists and personalities in various fields, which should excite anybody with a great passion for art.
23. Landscape Designer
Landscape designers create, present, and oversee the development of landscapes, whether for private residences or public and commercial developments. Also known as landscape architects, they take on projects such as parks, schools, roads, gardens for buildings of all types, and outdoor areas on industrial sites.
If you’re an artist with an affinity for landscape paintings and the greatest artist of all, Mother Nature, landscape design may be perfect for you. It’s a great way to replicate the natural beauty found in nature and bring it to urban/suburban areas.
24. Medical Illustrator
Medical publications make use of medical illustrators to help explain various concepts regarding human biology. A medical illustrator will create illustrations and cross-sections for these publications as learning material for doctors and students to research and consult when making a diagnosis.
An artist with a passion for or some kind of background in medicine, science, and communications would be best suited to this job.
25. Multimedia Consultant
Producing visual content for digital platforms has become a prevalent career choice for artists in the digital age. A multimedia consultant plays a crucial role in producing content in multiple mediums, ranging from photos to videos to text to sounds to graphics, digital animation, and even virtual reality platforms.
Multimedia consultants will need to take care of various core functions for their clients, including developing leads, finding solutions to meet specific targets or goals, compiling presentations, and managing campaigns.
26. Museum Director
Museum directors take care of all of the day-to-day operations, including collections and finances, authentication processes, and programs designed for education.
Fundraising efforts are critical and require genuine people skills and sometimes even a Master’s degree for administrative skills.
27. Non-profit Administrator
Not all art is created for profit, and sometimes artists, galleries, and museums will forgo the proceeds of their work to support specific causes. A non-profit administrator will work closely with a non-profit organization’s board, keeping them in the loop about new developments. They assist with fundraising efforts as well.
Furthermore, their passion for art will be reflected in their work as they help oversee exhibitions and facilitate sales of any art, making sure that the money finds its way to the causes for which the artist made the artwork.
If you’re an artist with an excellent instinct for aesthetics, familiarity with painting tools, and exceptional color vision, you may want to consider a career as a painter.
Painting stretches beyond the manual labor that it is so often associated with. It also allows you to be self-employed if you have a penchant for communicating, consulting with clients, and administrating a business.
Beyond this, you’d be good at paying close attention to detail. Understanding the basic mechanism required to complete a painting job, such as preparing walls and surfaces, mixing paints, varnishes, and sealants, and using fillers to maintain structural integrity, a career as a painter may suit you to pursue a career as a painter.
Performers, be they actors, dancers, or even comedians, entertain other people through acting, singing, dance routines, and recitals. The artist can perform in front of the camera or live audiences.
Performing may not seem the same as what you may be used to creating in a visual or fine art class, but the same concepts of color, composition, movement, and so forth apply to performative works.
And, if your creative expression is more suited to using your body rather than a pencil or paintbrush, you might find that performing could be a better option for you when you graduate.
Photography is one of the most popular careers for artists to pursue. Photographers are predominantly artistic in nature and have to apply all of the same principles that you learn about while studying art to their pictures.
You could find a photographer setting up lighting, equipment, and backdrops for photoshoots on any given day. They also direct models to create the perfect composition and capture the right image. This also involves sorting through hundreds, if not thousands of images to pick the best of the bunch.
31. Product Designer
Product designers use their artistic and creative skills to design and develop products for consumer markets. They optimize the user’s experience, taking the business’s objectives to meet a specific set of management goals.
They play a role in every step of the product’s development, including improving on existing products. They also research competitors to ensure that their products are designed to be priced competitively and match competing products in terms of quality.
Sculpting is one of the purest forms of fine art due to the three-dimensional form of the medium. Sculptors will develop ideas for sculptures made from a variety of materials.
Sculptors are primarily commissioned by curators, collectors, and consultants to fulfill a specific vision for whatever sculpture they need.
This requires an exceptional degree of creative imagination and artistic flair and the skill needed to operate with tools precisely. Networking and communication skills are also critical because sculptors have to do a lot of self-promotion. Not to mention, it is a physically demanding job due to the nature of constructing a sculpture, especially if it is large.
33. Set Designer
In stage, television, and film sets, the scenery is designed by a set designer (also known as a scenic designer). Set designers have to leverage their creativity and practical skills to conceptualize a set and bring it to life.
Elements in set design constitute everything from furniture to props to scenery and everything else you see on a set.
34. Special Effects Technician
Special effects (SFX) technicians work in commercials, theatre, television, and film productions to create visual effects that create impressions or illusions in the form of pyrotechnics, computer-generated images (CGI), and optical illusions.
Art students are well suited for careers in special effects due to their creative abilities and skills, which enable them to find solutions to the directors’ briefs.
35. Tattoo Artist
Another popular career choice for artists is to create and design tattoos. A tattoo artist uses the skills acquired in an art degree to advise clients on what they need to consider before deciding on a tattoo, such as sizes, color, placement, and design.
However, some elements of a tattoo artist’s scope of work lie beyond artistic and creative skills, such as time management for bookings and consultations, as well as knowledge of safety protocols, especially regarding the cleaning and sterilization of needles.
They need to tattoo their clients safely and hygienically while creating unique artworks that will live with them forever. It’s a high-pressure occupation with no room for error.
They say “those who can’t do teach,” but it would be a radical underestimation of the vital role that teachers play in preserving our collective passion for art and its impact on our culture. Not to mention, we wouldn’t be able to pursue any of the careers listed above if not for the valuable knowledge imparted to us by our art teachers and lecturers.
An art teacher requires communicative and people skills. They need to have management skills and very well-adapted executive functions to maintain control of their classrooms.
They design syllabuses, assign reading material and instruct on key concepts that underlie art creation while teaching their students other important technical aspects, allowing them to emerge as educated, driven, and highly skilled artists like you!
YorkU Career Centre: Visual Arts
Target Careers: Careers in art and design
QS Top Universities: What Can You Do With An Art Degree?
Student Art Guide: 150+ Art Careers – The Ultimate List