How to become an artist: Australian careers in design

As an artist, you provide an important contribution to your community through creative expression, adding valuable offerings to our cultural and artistic identity as a country. Art is a very broad category and you can specialise in your passion or artistic field you are naturally talented at. There a variety of places you can work including in photography, video production, creative writing, commissioned painting, sculpting or music. There are also therapeutic or educational pathways in school and universities, helping young and old Australians nurture their creative talents in an expressive way.

  • Task Career in focus: what an artist does

    It is very hard to summarise what an artist does, and it depends largely on what medium or industry you decide to specialise in. Generally some of the tasks you may be involved in is speaking to clients, writing or reviewing briefs, applying for grants, working with community leaders and councils, providing quotes, generating proofs and artworks and helping businesses improve their creative environments. Most artists work on a freelance basis, so you will also perform administrative and writing tasks.


    • Provide quotes based on briefs from your client
    • Create art as agreed to by your client
    • Ensure work meets agreed deadlines and budget
    • Liaising with other artists and contractors
    • Writing bids or proposals for local community organisations and councils.
  • Skills Core qualities: Skills to succeed as an artist

    As an artist, you will speak with a range of people from wealthy individuals to contractors, so it is important you can effectively and clearly get your message across. You will often be given commissioned work, which means your product should match what your employer had in mind, so it is important you can easily understand and meet your client’s needs. You should also be able to use your skills and abilities to translate an idea into something that is achievable, practical as well as artistic.

    • Natural abilities and passion for your creative medium eg. painting, photography, pottery, etc
    • Ability to communicate to a wide-range of people
    • Skilled at listening and anticipating a client’s needs
    • Able to meet deadlines and communicate realistic and achievable timelines and resources.
  • Specialisations The field: Specialisations within design

    There are lots of specialisations to choose from when it comes to creative art. You are more likely to succeed in a field which you are most passionate about or have a natural talent for.

    Stills photographer

    A stills photographer can work in a lot of different industries and has a comprehensive understanding on various camera equipment, lighting and environments, working in both commercial and artistic places. There are lots of areas you can work as a photographer such as for magazines, fashion, weddings, family photography or landscapes.

    Video content producer

    Video production is booming in Australia with the rise in accessibility and share-ability of content on social media. Now, more than ever, businesses are using videos in their marketing campaigns, which could see you creating videos that are engaging, funny or have a high emotional impact on the audience. 

    Performance artist

    Usually hired on a short-term basis, performance artists work in a range of mediums and what you will perform depends on your talents and what your employer requires. You will need to consider how much space and resources your art will take so your employer knows if you will meet their requirements.

  • Pathways The right track: find study options for becoming an artist

    To improve on your existing talent and passions, you can expand on you employment options by gaining a qualification.

    Starting Out

    Pick a course that is tailored to your creative appetites. 

    Building Skills

    Build on your existing talents by picking an educational course that will help you refine your chosen craft. 

    Developing Your Resume

    Having a well-developed portfolio, coupled with an attractive resume, will help employers link your experience and knowledge to your abilities. Have a look at some of our example resumes and cover letters to get started. 

    Industry Recognition

    A qualification will help you achieve recognition in your field, as well as expanding your networking opportunities. 

    Entering the Workforce

    Kick start your career by effectively communication how your strengths and abilities will benefit your potential employer. Target your resume for each individual job opportunity to help employers see you as a strong candidate.

    Job Prospects in Design: Working life as an artist

    Working in visual arts or crafts is very competitive and employment opportunities are forecasted to be low. Because it is mostly freelance work, income is not always steady, but personal reward and satisfaction can be very high for those who are passionate about their craft.

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