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Arts & crafts

Fine artist

Fine artists create original works of art using methods like painting, drawing and sculpture.

Annual Salary


Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 irregular

You could work: freelance / self-employed; managing your own hours

Future employment

There will be 0.5% more Fine artist jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

Typically you will:

  • work from your own ideas, or a commission from an individual or an organisation
  • sell your work through an agent or through galleries, exhibitions, shops or online
  • research subjects, materials and new artistic techniques
  • network with agents, dealers, gallery owners and other artists
  • attend exhibitions and join artists’ groups

You might also:

  • work as ‘artist in residence’ – running classes and workshops in places like schools, prisons or hospitals
  • teach art classes privately, in colleges or through community learning
  • run local art projects

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio, in a workshop or from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • self-teaching

You'll need a high level of skill and talent in your chosen art form. To develop these skills, you could train by doing a degree or postgraduate award in:

  • art and design
  • art history
  • fine art
  • visual arts
  • graphic arts

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a foundation diploma in art and design
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information

You can do a Level 4 Higher National Certificate or Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Art and Design or Art Practice.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national certificate or higher national diploma
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

Volunteering with community arts projects can open up possibilities and extend your network of contacts, which could be useful for finding work.

Other routes

If you're exceptionally talented and have taught yourself, you may be able sell your work without formal training or qualifications.

More information

Career tips

You'll need to be able to promote yourself in different ways. You could:create an online presence through your own website, blog or through social media channels; join together with other artists to form a 'collective' or artistic community; organise your own shows in galleries or other venues

You could also:get an agent; raise funds through crowdfunding websites; illustrate products like books or greetings cards

Entering competitions or open exhibitions can also raise your profile as an artist. a-n The Artists Information Company regularly lists opportunities.

Professional and industry bodies

You could become a member of a-n The Artists Information Company for networking and professional development opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a fine artist from:Artquest; Crafts Council; Discover Creative Careers

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You could move into areas like art therapy, art conservation, valuation or art sales.

You could combine working as an artist with teaching.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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