To become an artist, you must have a passion for expressing yourself through art. Artists have to be able to look beyond the potentially low income or lack of prestige they may face, and focus on their work. For many artists, it is the creative process that is most rewarding.

Most are self-employed.They tend to work when time is available between other commitments (such as part-time jobs or teaching) and when inspiration hits. No two days in a row are the same for them.

An artist’s earnings depend on the economy, the popularity or uniqueness of his or her work, and the public’s willingness to purchase art. Those who do find salaried positions as fine artists generally earn somewhere between $20,000 and $87,000 a year. The median annual salary is about $44,000.

There are no required educational qualifications for becoming an artist. However, many artists benefit from the discipline and training of a formal education. A post-secondary art program can provide artists with an understanding of the history, techniques, and different mediums of art.


Unpaid to $2,000 a year.
• A degree in fine arts is recommended
• A job with flexible hours to allow for work in the studio (such as waiting on tables or retail sales)


$2,000 to $20,000 a year.
• Experience conducting workshops
• Recognition outside the local art community


$20,000 to $85,000 a year.
• International status and reputation
• Represented by a dealer or agent who negotiates the sale of your art