Career Paths

Careers in Fine Art

Careers as a craftsperson or as a fine artist may not be as well-known as some other career paths but they’re still quite common and lucrative. Interest in expertly made crafts and objects of art are on the rise, not just in the United States but across the globe.

Career Information

Learn everything you need to know about Craft & Fine Art careers with our in-depth career guides.

Degrees & Majors

What degree is best for a career in Craft & Fine Arts? Search degree & program options here.

Salary & Job Outlook

How much do Craft & Fine Artists get paid? Explore salary and job outlook information by location.

Appreciation for expertly made crafts and objects of art has grown exponentially over the past decade, so today’s artists are more likely to find fulfilling and lucrative work than ever before. If you’re a creative type, there’s never been a better time to make the jump from hobbyist painter, sculptor, or potter to professional artist. Businesses and institutions of all kinds are giving more thought to the role that art and design play in their everyday lives. Many commercial companies, from department stores to banks, have art departments whose job is to find ways of integrating fine art, sculpture, crafts, jewelry, and other art forms into the company’s spaces and products. We explore the finer points of this surprisingly well-paying field and provide guidance on how to find work in our guides below.

Career Profiles

Fine Art Careers List

If you love to create, you’ve probably thought about doing something creative for a living. The good news is, trends towards using handcrafted items are gaining significant traction in today’s job market. In fact, the need for skilled artisans and crafters is so great that a growing number of colleges offer a Craft or Fine Arts degree. If you’re on the fence about pursuing a career in Craft & Fine Art, our guides can help you understand what it takes to work in these creative professions.

Airbrush Artist

An airbrush artist uses an airbrush to create art. Airbrush artists apply paint through a handpiece that atomizes the paint with pressurized air. Airbrush artists are generally expected to be competent in other artistic techniques, such as drawing and painting, so they can work from any type of reference material.


A caricaturist specializes in creating portraits that are typically exaggerated or distorted in some way. Caricatures exaggerate an individual's facial expressions, physical characteristics, and personality traits for the purpose ofpolitical satire, social commentary, character reference, or a general attemptat humor.

Courtroom Sketch Artist

Courtroom sketch artists are professionals who are hired to capture important details of a courtroom setting in order to give viewers a better idea of what occurred during the trial. Their drawings may be used in place of photographs or video recordings when sensitive evidence or witnesses arepresented.

Floral Designer

Floral designers typically create unique bouquets for weddings and other ceremonies when flowers are needed for different purposes than just decoration. Floral designers must have an artistic talent for design and arrangement, an eye for color balance, and creativity in the use of a variety of materials.


A glassblower is someone who makes glass art by blowing molten glass into different shapes. Glass pieces can be blown into any shape imaginable, from plates to vases to flowers. The process of creating such intricate glass designs is long and difficult, but the finished pieces are often considered priceless by collectors.

Ice Sculptor

An ice sculptor creates beautiful figures and shapes from large blocks of ice. The sculptures are designed to be used as centerpieces at weddings and other events and can take anywhere from a few hours to over a month to create. Some artists carve their creations out by hand, while others use power tools.

Mosaic Artist

A mosaic artist creates beautiful works of art by piecing together small pieces of glass, stone, or clay. Some mosaic artists might work with stained glass windows or create mosaic murals on floors or walls while others find a niche in tile mosaics that are used for flooring, backsplashes, tablescapes, fountains, and more.


A painter is an artist who creates artwork using paint. Some are self-taught artists who paint for pleasure, while others have had formal artistic training. Most commercial painters have a background in fine art, or graphic design; developing the eye and hand skills needed to produce quality work.

Screen Printer

A screen printer is a professional who prints a design onto fabric. The process is accomplished by creating a stencil and placing it on a mesh screen that has been stretched across a frame. Ink is then applied to the design's negative space onto the fabric, effectively printing the design on it.

Sketch Artist

Sketch artists produce drafts and render drawings of suspects, crime scenes,and other aspects of criminal investigations. They typically use pencil and pen, charcoal, chalk, or pastels to sketch a likeness of a suspect seen in person or in photographs. Sketch artists also produce diagrams and maps of crime scenes.


Taxidermy is the art of preparing animal skins and hides, usually for display in a museum, for legal hunting trophies, or to create natural specimens for public education. The process involves the cleaning and preserving of a carcass, stuffing the carcass with various fibers, and placing it in a semi-realistic posture.

African Artist

African artists are people who create art from Africa. They use traditional African materials like clay, grass, rock, and other items that are indigenous to the region. African art is a broad term that includes the various visual arts developed within the continent of Africa (including North Africa).


A blacksmith is a trained, skilled metalworker who works with metal to creategoods that range from household items like pots and pans to heavy-duty equipment like gears for train engines. Blacksmiths work both forging hot metals and welding cold metals, including wrought iron, cast iron, steel, nickel, and others.

Ceramic Artist

Ceramic artists use a variety of hand-building methods, but their medium of choice is clay. In order to work the clay into desired shapes, they use hands, knives, and other pieces of equipment. The result is pottery or ceramic creation, which can be used for artistic or practical purposes.

Craft Artist

Craft artists are artists who are self-taught and often work in traditional crafts such as painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture, or other crafts. In the past few decades, there has been a renaissance of interest in this type of art which is considered more personal than much other modern art.

Found Artist

A found artist specializes in creating art out of everyday objects that can be found in the world around them. These objects and natural materials often have minimal value and have been discarded by society, hence the term "found". Found artists use these scraps to create meaningful works of art.

Graffiti Artist

A graffiti artist is someone who creates graffiti, that is art on walls or other parts of buildings. Though the word "graffiti" is often used to refer to any type of unsanctioned drawing on public property, it can also be used to describe a particular subculture that evolved from the New York City street-art scene in the 1970s.

Metal Fabricator

A metal fabricator creates works of art out of metal, for use in industry, or as a standalone art piece. The job of a metal fabricator requires immense skill and a thorough knowledge of the properties of metal in order to create something that will be both aesthetically pleasing and functional.


Muralists are professionals who paint large-scale, public pieces of street art. With the popularity of street art and graffiti, the field of muralism has been growing rapidly over the last few years. Muralists often come from a graffiti or street art background, bringing their established signature style into the mural form.

Portrait Artist

Portrait artists capture the spirit and likeness of their subjects in oils, watercolor, pastels, or black and white photography. To capture a likeness, portrait artists most typically rely on direct observation of the subject and arrange for multiple sittings to capture the subject's true expression at different times of the day.


Sculptors are artists create a representation of some subject by manipulatingthree-dimensional materials such as clay, wax, plaster of Paris, or other types of molding media. Sculptors can be found in many different fields and are one of the most versatile members of an artistic team.

Tattoo Artist

A tattoo artist is a person who applies permanent ink designs to the skin. Tattoos are created by injecting ink into the skin by means of a tattoo machine. Tattoos are part of popular culture in many places around the world, with people belonging to various cultures choosing to display tattoos as a form of self-expression.


A woodworker is an expert in the art of woodworking with a deep understanding of the craft. They work on projects both large and small for residential or commercial uses. A woodworker makes use of a variety of toolsto create their projects such as table saws, power drills, sanders, lathes, and more.

Degrees & Majors

Best Degrees for Fine Art Careers

A degree in craft or fine art is often loosely defined as an education in visual arts. These programs can focus on painting, sculpture, printmaking, installation art, and other creative endeavors. One major goal of this type of degree is to enable students to understand the history of their chosen medium. Another way that you might benefit from a craft or fine art degree is through understanding how it can be applied to other disciplines. A degree in fine or craft arts can also provide diverse career opportunities. Many graduates pursue careers in art education, while others work as curators, graphic designers, conservators, private collectors, or public art administrators.

Salary & Job Outlook

Fine Artist Salary

According to the industry profile for Craft and Fine Artists published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for craft and fine artists was $49,120 in May 2020. The industry with the highest concentration of craft and fine artists is Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers. However, craft and fine art is a versatile profession with opportunities that span multiple disciplines, so artists in this field are not limited to one type of art but can explore a variety of fulfilling careers in several lucrative industries. Below is a list of the top-paying industries for Craft and Fine Artists.

Computer Systems Design and Related Services$97,170$46.72
Motion Picture and Video Industries$94,830$45.59
Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services$80,250$38.58
Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services$80,220$38.57
Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services$78,130$37.56
* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, May 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

Fine Art Careers FAQ

Craft and fine artists are people who create or produce material by hand, using any combination of materials such as clay, paint, fibers, or metal. They create art for aesthetic and also functional purposes, such as weaving or ceramics. There are many different types of craft and fine artists that each practice a unique art form.

The arts are always a popular career choice, and the field of fine arts has a wide range of different jobs that artists can take on. Fine artists can create anything from paintings and drawings to sculptures and glasswork. Jobs in this field vary widely depending on the field within fine arts that an individual specializes in. Painters are some of the most well-known fine artists. Painters use an assortment of tools to create their art. They can use many different kinds of paint, including watercolors and oils, as well as specialty brushes and rolling equipment.

Most craft artists do not need formal education, but depending on the work you want to do, some higher education and advanced training are recommended. For example, some artists may need to complete four years of art school for painting, sculpture, or printmaking to be able to do complex art with a high degree of skill and quality. It is easiest to find the requirements by looking at the detailed job descriptions for each craft artist position.