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Careers in Fine Arts
© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.
Fine artists create beautiful or thought-provoking objects for exhibition at museums or for sales to private collectors and businesses. They use different media such as oil paints, canvas, glass, stone or clay, and techniques such as painting, glassblowing, or sculpting. Most earn their pay through self-employment, though some have jobs with private companies and the government.
Fine artists are typically known by the type of art in which they specialize. Cartoonists draw cartoons to poke fun at politics, advertise a product or service, or entertain in comic books. Fine art painters paint such subjects as landscapes and portraits using styles ranging from realistic to abstract. Sculptors create three-dimensional art using clay, glass, plastic, metal or wood. Illustrators draw pictures for books and magazines. And printmakers use a silk screen, woodblock, metal etching plate and other matrixes to create images. Though both fine artists and craft artists create beautiful thing, the former concentrates on aesthetics, while the latter’s works have utilitarian functions.
A formal education is not a necessary prerequisite for fine artists, and many may express their artistic sensibilities beginning from childhood. However, classes and degrees are available for fine art, which improves skills and employability. Courses can focus on skills such as art history and studio art, or on core subjects such as English, natural science and social science. Getting a degree allows the student to develop a portfolio, which is a collection of the artist’s best work. Employers generally look at these portfolios when deciding to hire their owners.
Fine artists averaged $53,400 per year, or $25.67 per hour, as of May 2011, states the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest paid 10 percent earned $90,050 per year, or $43.29, while the lowest paid earned less than $19,150, or $9.20 per hour. About 4,290 of the total 11,830 were independent artists, with averages at $49,930, or $24.00. Next for employment were the 1,970 in the motion picture and video industries. They earned a mean $65,980, or $31.72. The highest paying employers were architectural, engineering and related service, with annual means at $75,430, or $36.27.
Jobs for fine artists will grow by 8 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS. This is far faster than the 1 percent predicted for all artists and related workers. But it is still under the 14 percent rate expected for all jobs in all industries. Jobs can depend on the state of the economy. When times are good, more people are buying. When they are bad, they buy less. Competition will be fierce because more qualified candidates exist than there are jobs to hire them. (REFERENCE 4)
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics.