What Types Of Visual Arts Jobs Exist?

"I am really interested in being an artist, and know it’s my passion to create. I would also like to make a living and be able to live comfortably. I love painting, and I also have lots of varied skills, I’m not sure where to specialize. Can you tell me some of the jobs that are available to visual artists?"

asked by Rebecca from San Luis Obispo, CA

What a great question! It can be challenging to find financial stability in the art world. The majority of painters do not make a lot of money, especially in the beginning. But there are many creative jobs available for visual artists.

If you prefer to keep working with paint, house painting is a perennial job. You can set the rate you want to be paid, and it is easy to build a reputation as a quality house painter. You can get many clients through referrals and simple advertising. Mural painting is another way to apply your skill and talent as a painter. Muralists are often needed by individuals, businesses, and municipal agencies. It can be quite satisfying to participate in beautifying a large building or bridge underpass with an uplifting art piece.

If you have an eye for the aesthetic arrangement of objects in space, consider a career in design. There are many interior design firms in the major cities throughout the country. You will help homeowners and businesses create beautiful living spaces and efficient offices. This work can include everything from choosing furniture, flooring, and window treatments, to hiring painters and adding decorative painting touches, to even planning the entire interior of a house before it is built.

If you enjoy working with plants and being outdoors, landscape design is also a creative way to use your artistic eye. You would be designing the layout and flow of a yard, garden, parking lot, or other outdoor space. Municipalities sometimes hire landscape designers to sculpt city medians, design parking lots, and beautify empty lots and other public spaces.

Another way to apply your creativity is to go into fashion design. This could be as simple as helping an established designer sew his or her clothing items, or creating and selling your own unique creations. As clothes are more universally needed and partially expendable, the demand for clothing designers is often higher than for painters or sculptors.

Drafting is another artistic job that is more technical in nature. You would be helping architects and builders draw up the blueprints and plans for their projects. While some people still draw out plans by hand, most designs are created with the assistance of a computer, or are a combination of computer printing and hand drawing.

If you are facile on the computer and want a more colorful job, there is graphic design. The wave of the future seems to be computer-created art, and the possibilities are endless. You could create simple graphics like business logos, or more complex projects like full website templates and entire company brands. Graphic designers often earn the highest salaries of all artists. They are also, along with teachers, the artists most likely to find a fully salaried position. It can be demanding and specific work, spending hours refining and tweaking every little detail.

Design software is constantly evolving, so you will need to stay up to date with the latest tools, apps, and accessories. The initial investment in a computer and software can be quite expensive, but well worth it if you build a name as a quality designer and have ongoing work. Your digital art could also go viral, spreading rapidly through online social media and potentially creating more interest in your other art.

These are just a few of the jobs that are available to creative visual artists. There are many more options to apply your talent in a way that can financially sustain you. As with any creative field, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination and curiosity.

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