Many people mistakenly assume that artistic jobs don’t pay well. It is not uncommon to be met with pity if you mention you’re an artist, perhaps due to the cliche of the starving artist. While it is true that some artists make less than people who work in more mainstream professions, there are still high-paying jobs for artists.
Whether you aspire to work in graphic design, fashion design, or as an art director, this article can help you figure out which are the best jobs for artists.
What Is an Artist?
An artist uses their creativity to produce something unique and usually refers to visual arts such as painting, photography, and pottery. It can also be used to refer to creative entertainers, such as musicians, poets, or theater actors.
What Jobs Are Available to Artists?
Since there are many definitions of art, there are also many types of jobs within the art world. These include art historians and art conservators, architects, musicians, fashion designers, multimedia artists, art teachers, and more. If you have an art degree and the right skills, many high-paying jobs are available to you.
If your interests and skills lie in visual arts, you can work as a fine artist or as a curator at an art gallery. If you’re more into fashion, you may find a job as a textile designer or a stylist. If you have art and technical skills, you might want to work as a video editor, sound designer, film producer, web designer, art teacher, or creative director.
Companies That Hire Artists
- MAC Cosmetics: MAC Cosmetics provides professional quality makeup for all ages and skin types. Its makeup artists who work in retail are paid about $20 per hour.
- Riot Games: Riot Games is a video game maker founded in 2006 that touts itself as a player-focused company. If Riot Games seem like the place for you, check out this article on how to land a job at Riot Games.
- Walt Disney Company: The Walt Disney Company, which produces movies and owns several television networks and film production companies, was founded almost 100 years ago. Walt Disney is famous for hiring various artists like graphic artists, assistant production artists, animators, and illustrators.
- Electronic Arts: Electronic Arts, or EA Games, is a video game developer that regularly hires artists who have a passion for developing video games, with over 5,000 game makers on staff.
- Microsoft: Microsoft is hiring artists to help create its new operating system, which will feature augmented and mixed reality experiences in head-mounted goggles.
10 Highest-Paying Jobs for Artists
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There are a lot of jobs available to you as an artist, but not all of them bring in an impressive annual salary. However, having a degree in art or previous experience can help your chances of landing a well-paid job. This section gives you detailed information on 10 high-paying jobs for artists.
A creative director makes high-level creative decisions and oversees the creation of various branded items such as logos, websites, and advertisements. If you become a creative director, you’ll lead a team that may include graphic designers, photographers, and videographers.
A visual designer creates aesthetics for websites. The profession is a combination of user interface design and graphic design. These designers create concepts, layouts, and artwork for digital projects based on their clients’ requests.
A brand manager is in charge of developing brand strategies for a company. They may work for a public relations firm or a particular brand. They oversee a wide range of tasks, including creating general branding guidelines, working on product development, market research, and creating both online and offline promotions.
A digital designer’s job is to combine their creative design skills with technical knowledge to bring graphics and animations to life. They often design websites and can work in social media designing for brand campaigns, video game companies, or production companies.
A television writer is a skilled writer who conceptualizes, writes, and revises scripts for TV shows. They must develop plot lines, dialogue, characters, and situations for the genre of television that they specialize in. This could be commercials, documentaries, comedies, or even soap operas.
An interior designer works with clients to decorate rooms in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and meets the standards of their client. The primary duties of an interior designer include sketching design plans, determining costs and budgeting as necessary, and sourcing materials.
A graphic designer puts images, typography, digital illustrations, and sometimes moving animation together to create a design. They can work for a wide array of businesses, from advertising firms to publishing companies. Graphic design would be a good career fit for you if you’re a very visual person who can create aesthetically pleasing designs.
A music teacher helps students learn how to play an instrument or sing. Some work at schools, some in music academies, and others work freelance teaching private lessons. Often, they are responsible for directing school choirs, orchestras, or bands.
A dance teacher trains people how to dance. They often train students in a particular style of dance by demonstrating techniques, creating choreographies, and organizing performances. They usually work for a school or a dance studio, but some may teach private lessons.
A fashion designer designs and helps produce all kinds of clothes. They identify trends and select styles, fabrics, and colors to create a collection. A fashion designer uses their creative skills to develop pieces that are on-trend and are visually stimulating.
Tips for Finding Success as an Artist
Artists must be bold in their work and the path to success may be lonely. You run the risk of ending up in a low-paying job even if you have the right skillset. Regardless of the path you take or your definition of success, following the steps below will help you realize your goals and make sure your annual salary isn’t too low.
- Find your passion: To succeed as an artist, you need to find out which creative field you’re most passionate about, and look into the various art careers that are available in that field.
- Master your art: After identifying your passion, you need to master your art. You can do this by getting an art degree, graphic design degree, or another degree that matches your interests. If you hone your skills, you’ll be able to make a name for yourself.
- Create an online presence: Once you have a college degree or have attended other formal education, the next step toward landing a high-paying job is to create a website and a social media presence to showcase your work. Gradually, you will build up a fan base with who you can connect to and grow with as a community.
- Treat your art like a business: Many people treat their art as a side hustle or a hobby. But if you genuinely believe in your artistic skill and want to succeed, you must treat your art as a business and give it a majority of your time and attention.
- Join an art community: Life as an artist can be lonely. If you’re an aspiring artist, surrounding yourself with other creatives like you can go a long way toward helping you achieve success. The right connections can land you a job with a decent annual salary.
Jobs for Artists Outlook
Though there’s a lot of misconception around arts jobs, there are many successful artists all around the world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in arts and design is projected to grow by four percent from 2020 to 2030, so artists will be in demand.
BLS also noted that the median salary for arts and design employees was $49,600 in May 2020, higher than $41,950, the average for all occupations. You don’t need to let your paycheck determine whether you are successful. Even if you don’t have a high-paying job, the important thing is that you are passionate about your work and are attempting to master your craft.
Best Jobs for Artists FAQ
Yes, you can become an artist without a degree. Artists are creatives and most use their art as a way to express themselves in a way others can relate to and appreciate. Most artists rely on their natural talents and creativity, so many have no degree and are still successful.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual pay for an artist in the US is $44,898 per year. Artists’ salaries will vary according to the kind of job they do.
Many creatives who want to make a decent annual salary want to work at ad agencies like Wieden + Kennedy and Droga5, or for big companies like Nike, Google, or Apple, according to an annual survey from Working Not Working of the nearly 6,000 creatives who are part of the magazine’s community.
There are plenty of art communities open to you and your fellow artists, many of which can be found online. You can also meet like-minded people by attending classes in your local community.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.