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Employment for Artists and Craftsmen

Updated on May 7, 2019
Tricia Deed profile image

Tricia Deed is a freelance writer of arts and crafts. She enjoys bringing an array of different projects to your attention.

Art and Craft Together

The artist's concept of an angel carved out of wood with the skills of a craftsman.
The artist's concept of an angel carved out of wood with the skills of a craftsman. | Source

Artistists vs Craftsmen

Every creative or imagined idea which has been designed into a product has been revealed by an artist or a craftsman. We are all artists and craftsmen. It is a matter of whose definition is followed. For instance, as an artist your brain uses the power of creativity to form an idea. That idea is expressed into a physical form for visibility for onlookers to tap into their emotions. The artist within you has produced the idea. The talent and skills to make the product appear is through the skills of the craftsman. The artist and the craftsman are within the same individual.

Others fine tune the definition for clarification by saying that fine art is for the enjoyment of beauty. The craftsman produces art objects which have practical and functional purpose. An oil painting produced by an artist is enjoyed for its aesthetic beauty and is declared as art. The ceramic pitcher which holds water has a practical function and is considered a craft. In reality the artist and the craftsman are interchangeable.

Both the artist and the craftsman have the ability to produce creative or imagined ideas, support their decision with their skills and talents, and market their product. The main difference lies in the end product; one is for aesthetic appeal and the other for practical function.

Fine artists earn college degrees in order to perfect their skills or to learn of other art interests for better career prospects and refinement of their skills. Craftsmen may not need a formal education as they are able to learn on the job, are self educated, or have an original creation which they refine for practicality. Both the artist and the craftsman have an interest in selling their product.

Financially a craftsman may have more opportunities for income because their product is essential and practical. The income of the fine artist may be slower because their product is considered nonessential and usually sells best during a strong economy. The poor economy will dictate that a coffee cup is a better investment than a painting to be mounted on a wall.

Art and Craft

Wicker beach furniture for sitting comfortably yet attractive for the environment.
Wicker beach furniture for sitting comfortably yet attractive for the environment. | Source

Artist Versus Craftsmen

There seemingly appears to be an ongoing argument as to who deserves the greater credit for their genius...the artist or the craftsman.

The definition of which is more important rests heavily on the thinking and attitudes of the general public or a culture. Some cultures give no recognition; it just is.

In many ways both arts and skills are important and often times coexist within the final product.

For many centuries a fine artist was truly considered "the artist" to be recognized and highly respected for his art work which hangs on a wall. Collectors of art work have placed values of millions of dollars on these paintings.

The craftsman who made your cup to drink a beverage or a chair to sit on was given very little credit for his creations. Larger financial rewards are spent by antique collectors for past craft creations. Today's craftsmen earn hourly salaries for utilitarian production.

There are the traditional thinkers which separate the two disciplines and then there are people like me that see the coexistence of the artist and the craftsmen and they both deserve recognition.

The monetary value of a creation often sets a high standard. Dollars have a strong command for dictating greatness. Often times it is the subjective value of the customer which determines the price of an item regardless of who created or made it.

Visit art and craft shows and take note of the asking price for original works.

Creativity and Imagination

A Mayan wood eagle sign expressing creativity and imagination.
A Mayan wood eagle sign expressing creativity and imagination. | Source

Art and Craft Education

Regardless of the art or the craft there are certain skills and tools which are learned for or from these two disciplines. Arts and crafts teach thinking. The creative idea which emerges from an individual needs to be fine tuned into existence. The original idea opens doors to other disciplines which are needed to complete the outcome of the product.

Both the artists and the craftsman produce an idea which is supported with sketches or drawings, templates, or models. During the production process they will use a wide array of materials, technology, mechanical assembly applications, tools, skills, visual techniques, and whatever else is necessary to complete the product.

After the product is produced, they complete an inventory list, photos and description write-ups, advertising and marketing techniques which may be done by self or a professional marketing team.

Art Exhibition

Artist Exhibition on display in showroom.
Artist Exhibition on display in showroom. | Source

Product Marketing

After creating a product, both the artists and the craftsman will be spending much of their time selling their wares and building their reputations.

Fine artists and craft people may work full time or part-time or have variable work schedules. It is common for many of these people to work a regular full time job. Those who choose to be self-employed will work their own hours.

According to both the artist and the craftsman make approximately $45,000 a year while working for an employer. The other fifty percent are are self-employed earning a part-time or full time income.

Based on my experience this salary appears to remain true. For those who choose to be self-employed as I was, be prepared to work a regular job until the art or craft interest which you have can make a stable full time income.

Working for another may be from one to five years before becoming self-employed as an entrepreneur. To be financially successful know how to apply basic business principles, how to sell, and customer service.

Where to sell


  • Art galleries and auctions
  • Private exhibits in homes and commercial locations
  • Local retail businesses
  • Museums
  • Art and craft shows
  • Art dealers
  • Online market places


  • Art and craft shows
  • Online market pl places
  • Flea markets and swap meets
  • Home parties
  • Consignment shops
  • Trade shows

Performing Artist

A young soloist playing a violin in a performance.
A young soloist playing a violin in a performance. | Source

Arts and Crafts Employment

This list shows some of the arts and crafts which may be used for gainful employment as an artist, designer, or craftsman.

  • Art Instructor
  • Animation
  • Illustration, Sketch artist, Cartoonist
  • Video, Photography, Movies, Television, Computer
  • Architecture
  • Body art, Tattooing
  • Sculptors
  • Calligraphy
  • Ceramics, Glass artists
  • Collage
  • Drawing, Painting
  • Furniture
  • Graphic art, Print making
  • Jewelry
  • Sand, Metal, Wood
  • Contemporary Art
  • Performance
  • Poster
  • Tapestry, Textile, Fiber
  • Medical Arts, Scientific Arts

Employment locations:.

  • Work environment:
  • Office setting
  • Publishing house for magazines and newspapers
  • Schools and colleges
  • Tourist locations
  • Federal government
  • Art studio, loft, warehouse, or different types of commercial buildings depending on the product
  • Museums and historical sites
  • Advertising and public relations firms
  • Factory
  • Medical and hospital facilities
  • Private home.

7 Tips for Being a Full Time Artist - Tips for Artists

Artist and Craftsman

Are you an artist, a craftsman, or both?

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