Fine Artist

Job Description:

Fine artists create original works of art using methods like painting, drawing and sculpture.

Job Category:
Art & Fashion

What you will do:

Typically you will:

  • work from your own ideas, or a commission from an individual or an organisation
  • sell your work through an agent or through galleries, exhibitions, shops or online
  • research subjects, materials and new artistic techniques
  • network with agents, dealers, gallery owners and other artists
  • attend exhibitions and join artists’ groups

You might also:

  • work as ‘artist in residence’ – running classes and workshops in places like schools, prisons or hospitals
  • teach art classes privately, in colleges or through community learning
  • run local art projects


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • creativity – ability to think ‘outside the box’
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a fine artist, specific GCSE subjects are not typically required, but certain subjects can provide a strong foundation for developing artistic skills and knowledge. Here are some recommended GCSE subjects that can be beneficial for aspiring fine artists:

  1. Art and Design: This subject is essential for developing your artistic skills and creativity. It often includes practical coursework that allows you to explore different mediums and techniques.
  2. Textiles: While focused on fabric and textiles, this subject can also provide valuable insights into design concepts and working with various materials and textures.
  3. Design and Technology: This subject can offer practical skills and understanding in design, problem-solving, and working with materials, which can be applicable to fine art.
  4. Photography: Photography can enhance your understanding of composition, visual storytelling, and the use of light and shadow, which are relevant to many aspects of fine art.
  5. Art History: While not typically a GCSE subject, some schools may offer art history courses. Understanding art history can provide valuable context and inspiration for your work.
  6. English: Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, can be beneficial for explaining your artistic concepts, writing artist statements, and communicating about your art with others.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • self-teaching

You’ll need a high level of skill and talent in your chosen art form. To develop these skills, you could train by doing a degree or postgraduate award in:

  • art and design
  • art history
  • fine art
  • visual arts
  • graphic arts

You can do a Level 4 Higher National Certificate or Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Art and Design or Art Practice.

Volunteering with community arts projects can open up possibilities and extend your network of contacts, which could be useful for finding work.

Other Routes
If you’re exceptionally talented and have taught yourself, you may be able sell your work without formal training or qualifications.

Career tips
You’ll need to be able to promote yourself in different ways.

You could:

  • create an online presence through your own website, blog or through social media channels
  • join together with other artists to form a ‘collective’ or artistic community
    organise your own shows in galleries or other venues

You could also:

  • get an agent
  • raise funds through crowdfunding websites
  • illustrate products like books or greetings cards

Working Hours and Environment:

You could work in a creative studio, in a workshop or from home.

Career Path & Progression:

You could move into areas like art therapy, art conservation, valuation or art sales. You could combine working as an artist with teaching.