How to become a Artist

Artists conceive and create visual representations to investigate, respond to or communicate an impression or idea.

Personal requirements of a Artist

  • Artistic ability
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Creative and the ability to conceptualise ideas
  • Self-discipline
  • Promotional skills

Education & Training for a Artist

You can work as an artist without formal qualifications. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications in relevant art-related disciplines, which may enhance your skills. You may like to consider a VET qualification in an art-related area, such as visual arts or design. Applicants may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of work. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become an artist by studying visual arts, creative arts, fine arts or design at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and an arts or design subject are normally required. Applicants may also be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of work. A high level of talent is required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Artist

An artist may be concerned with the production of two-dimensional or three-dimensional forms, employing a number of methods such as painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture and ceramics to realise their ideas. They may also use film, digital technology and performance techniques and forms.

Working conditions for a Artist

Artists may concentrate on a specific area of work or may use a combination of techniques. They generally work in studios and may share the space with other artists.

Employment Opportunities for a Artist

Artists often establish a studio or cooperative base and take part in group or individual exhibitions. They may be represented by galleries that promote and sell their work. Their work may be purchased by private collectors or held in public collections within cultural institutions. Other opportunities include public art commissions, residencies, research and grant opportunities, as well as work within the creative industries. Other possible employers include educational institutions, television and theatre companies, design and printing firms, hospitals and museums. Artists may be commissioned to create a specific piece of work for an individual or organisation. Job opportunities are extremely competitive and depend on the demand for artistic services, the quality of the artist's work and their reputation within the arts industry. Most artists take on other jobs for financial support.


Painter (Fine/Visual Arts)

A painter (fine/visual arts) researches, sketches and develops ideas for paintings. Painters use mediums such as oil, watercolour, pencil, pastel, acrylic or ink and paint onto prepared surfaces such as canvas, paper or board. Painters mix or apply colours using appropriate techniques while taking into account the relationships of line, colour, design and form. Painters may run workshops and oversee community arts projects.

Performance/Live Art Artist

A performance/live art artist uses their body as the site and material of their art practice. Through action and spectacle performance and live art, artists may explore ideas of process, experience and production. The performance may be scripted or unscripted and can include audience participation.


A printmaker etches designs onto metal plates or cuts designs into wood or linoleum to produce prints. They also prepare screens for screen-printing and execute lithographic prints. Printmakers prepare ink and printmaking surfaces and transfer images to print material by using a press or other printing method.

Sculptor/Installation Artist

A sculptor/installation artist conceives and develops a concept or design for a sculpture or installation project. Sculptor/installation artists may sketch designs and then decide on the material, techniques and the space where the sculpture or installation is to be exhibited. They often make models using wax or plaster and then carve, model or assemble materials to the desired form using hand or power tools. They may also fire clay objects in kilns and prepare moulds for casting sculptures in metal.

Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT ACT 3.1%

NSW NSW 38.9%

NT NT 4.3%

QLD QLD 10.4%

SA SA 12.3%

TAS TAS 1.4%

VIC VIC 17.3%

WA WA 12.3%

Hours worked:



Average unemployment

Gender split:

Male 45.6%

Female 54.4%

Education level:

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0%

20-24 - 6%

25-34 - 15%

35-44 - 20.1%

45-54 - 21.3%

55-59 - 8.4%

60-64 - 12.2%

65 and Over - 17%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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