Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Future growth for the next 5 years is moderate
Median weekly earnings: Varies
Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website 2019
We see artists' work displayed in galleries, on greeting cards, on coffee tables, in public spaces and even in mining company board rooms. In South Australia, there are approximately 1,100 artists. The main age group is 45-54 years of age with majority of South Australian artists being females. Around half of Artists are working on a full-time basis largely working in the Cultural and Recreational Services industry.

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Artist

Accredited (Award)

  • No matter what medium artists choose to work with, their art continues to challenge, entertain and inspire communities around the world. Artists express thoughts, feelings, images and ideas through different creative mediums. They can use materials such as oils, water colours, acrylics, inks, plaster, clay, multi media technologies or recycled objects to either paint, sculpt, model or illustrate works of art.

    Artistic and CreativePractical and Manual

  • There are no educational requirements to become an artist, though there are many formal qualifications available in fine and visual arts to enhance your skills and your employment prospects. Currently 28% of the Industry have Advanced Diploma or Diplomas, 12% have Bachelor degrees, 9% have Graduate Diplomas or Graduate Certificates and 9% have Certificate III or IV. So while 38% of the industry have no formal post school qualifications it is still strongly recommended that further study is undertaken to improve your chances of gaining employment in the Industry.

    TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Certificate IV in Visual Arts.

    Flinders University offers a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts/Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts where you study concurrently at both the University and TAFE SA to complete both Awards.

    Still Unsure! Then try a short course also offered through TAFE SA such as Life Drawing, Fusing Colour, Watercolour or an Introduction to Painting or Abstract. Check the website for the full list of short courses.

  • Artists need strong skills in selling and promoting their work. Those working in their own studios may work seven days a week, doing a mixture of administration duties and creating pieces for exhibition and also mass produced items for commercial retail. This takes efficiency and organisation.

  • ''Often a painting doesn't start out as an intellectual exercise. It starts out as a response to something happening in the natural world around me, or to a matter of social concern such as the Tiananmen Square massacre in China,'' says a local artist. Some artists choose to sketch an idea before actualising it; others work using intuition, imagination or develop ideas based on previous works. Many works of art are conceived as a response to social and cultural events and as such, artists are important chroniclers of real and imagined history. Think about famous events and people. The Mona Lisa or Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo may well be influenced by artist's interpretations. Other works are purely experimental and push the boundaries of what we perceive as art. Whether its a painted Campbell's soup can or half a cow pickled in formaldehyde exhibited by controversial British artist, Damien Hirst, artists are creatively reinventing the rules all the time.

  • Artists create works that communicate an impression or an idea through painting, drawing, printmaking, carving, sculpting, photography, film-making, music, acting and dancing. Artists may concentrate on a specific area of work or may use a combination of these techniques.

    They first and foremost need to have an artistic ability. It is essential that they good hand-eye coordination as well as creativity and self-discipline. It is also sometimes necessary to have good promotional and marketing skills and a knowledge of business/management skills, if artists intend to be self-employed.

    ''I get called to paint murals on walls, do workshops with school kids, public art commissions, or paint on canvas. I just got back from Los Angeles where I painted the set for a new movie" says local artist Daniel. There are many opportunities for artists besides the traditional arena of exhibition work. Be prepared to look at wider avenues of work such as community and public art, crafts for tourists, teaching, art reviewing, gallery employment or art administration. For example, some commercial companies like BHP/Billiton have commissioned artists to paint scenes reflecting the changes in the mining industry. Employment prospects for visual artists are growing in the areas of community and public art. Artists also need to be multi-skilled, especially using the latest technologies. For example, rather than designing a series of sculptures, it helps if you're able to animate them as well. Aboriginal art is another great growth area and expenditure by international visitors in the purchase of craft and artworks is substantial. ''According to the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, on an annualised basis, total overseas expenditure on art and craft items was $296 million of which $155 million was on Aboriginal art and craft,'' says an Industry professional.

    Jam Factory Contemporary Craft and Design
    Phone: (08) 8410 0727

    National Association for the Visual Arts
    Phone: (02) 9368 1900

    Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (SA/NT)
    Phone: (08) 8223 6055
    Internet Address: