Visual artists convey thoughts, opinions, and ideas through their work, whether it is a realistic painting, a piece of pottery, or an abstract sculpture. They use one or more media, such as clay, paint, metal, or computer technology, to create two- or three-dimensional works. The field of visual arts is usually separated into three categories: commercial art, fine art, and craft. There are approximately 28,000 fine artists (including painters, sculptors, and illustrators), 12,800 artists and related workers, 12,500 craft artists, 73...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



Experience as an artist's assistant helpful



Digital Media


Personality Traits



The amount of money earned by visual artists varies greatly. Most work as freelancers, so they can set their own prices.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual earnings of salaried craft and fine artists totaled $48,380 in May 2018. Salaries ranged from less than $22,020 to more than $101,400. Median annual earnings for craft artists, specifically, were $34,240, whi...

Work Environment

Most painters and sculptors work out of their homes or in studios. Some work in small areas in their apartments; others work in large, well-ventilated lofts, garages, or warehouse space. An artist may choose complete solitude to work; others thrive on interaction with other artists and people. Occasionally, painters and sculptors work outside. Artists engaged in monumental work, particularly sc...


Employment for craft and fine artists and multimedia artists is expected to show little or no change through 2028, and employment for graphic designers will grow slowly, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. However, because many are usually self-employed, much of their success depends on the amount and type of work created, the drive and determination in selling the artwork, and the inter...

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