Fine artist

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

Salary range: Variable

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How to become a fine artist

You can get into this job through:

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

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

More information

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College

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

More information

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Volunteering and 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, like:

  • having an online presence through your own website, blog or through social media, like Instagram
  • joining together with other artists or ‘collectives’
  • organising 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. The Artists Information Company regularly lists opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a fine artist from:

You can get more information on working in this and other creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • 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
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks will be:

  • 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 from home, in a creative studio or in a workshop.

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Career path and progression

You could move into areas like art therapy or art conservation.