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How to become an artist in Australia: careers in design

How to become an artist in Australia: careers in design
Artists create works of art for sale or for exhibition using a range of materials. This can include painting, sculpting, pottery, photography, textiles, glasswork, and other handcrafted items that are created for aesthetic purposes. Other pathways as an artist include creating digital content for production houses and companies, composing music and illustrating for publications. If you’re interested in becoming an artist in Australia’s booming creative industry, there are a number of career pathways available to you.

Being an artist: daily duties

The daily duties for an artist will vary depending on the field they work in and the materials they work with. However, in general, artists may work on briefs for clients, provide quotes for content, generate their material, acquire supplies, advise clients on industry trends, market themselves, and carry out various administrative tasks and processes if they are working as freelancers or sole traders.


  • Quoting on jobs
  • Liaising with clients or prospective employers
  • Creating artworks to deadlines
  • Administration
  • Marketing

Being an artist: skills for success

To become an artist you will need to have talent and ability in a creative field. You will need to know how to apply your skills and generate a body of creative work. Good communication skills are important so you can interact with a variety of people, including commissioning clients, prospective employers and collaborators. These skills will also allow you to properly communicate your ideas.
  • Creative skills in your chosen medium
  • Good communication and listening
  • Able to articulate ideas
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Networking skills

Specialised roles within design

There are a range of potential occupations available to an artist, depending on what they are skilled at doing and most passionate about.
  • Stills photographer
    A stills photographer creates photographs for a range of different artistic and commercial purposes. This could include food photography, fashion photography, portraiture, or taking photos for commercials and digital content. A thorough knowledge of cameras and photography is needed for this occupation.
  • Video content producer
    There is demand for people who specialise in moving images thanks to the booming world of online content and marketing through social media. Video content producers create digital media for a range or purposes, working to client or company briefs.
  • Performance artist
    Performance artists create a form of conceptual art in a variety of mediums designed for specific spaces. They are usually hired on a temporary basis to do this depending on the needs of their client.

Educational pathways for artists

There are a number of employment and educational options available to you if you’d like to work in a creative field, depending on where your passion is and your chosen medium.
  • Start your career
    Start with a course that builds your skills and lets you explore your interests.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Work towards building and honing your skills in your chosen specialisation.
  • Build your resume
    Built your portfolio and qualifications to increase your chances of success in your career.
  • Industry requirements
    Depending on your chosen medium, required qualifications may not apply and will be heavily reliant on the industry you work in.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your design career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    Job openings and employment opportunities in the visual arts and crafts sector is forecast to be low in the next few years.

Resources for Artists

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