3 answers

What can someone do with an art major?

Asked Bloomington, Indiana

I am very interested in visual art like painting, drawing, and photography. I am not sure I could get a good paying job though. #art #photography #arts #art-college #drawing-and-painting

3 answers

Andy’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

Hi Sara,

That's a very broad question that you've asked. Arts degrees can be in a variety of subjects from theater and music to writing and painting. I see that you are interested in more of the visual arts side but even that is very diverse.

In broad terms, art jobs can be split up into two umbrella categories: commercial art and fine art.

Fine art is generally work that will be displayed in galleries and sold as unique or limited editions. Paintings especially will tend towards being fine art with each piece unique as something the artist wanted to paint or was commissioned to create. Photographs as fine art will either be sold individually or as a limited print run that is signed and numbered.

Commercial art on the other hand is something that you will create for a company. You might be employed full-time with a company or work freelance, one job at a time for a variety of clients. For visual arts, commercial art may range broadly from concept art for film and video games to graphic design for corporate or ad use.

For both of these categories, there are good paying jobs and jobs that don't pay as well. A lot of that will depend on your skill in your field, the competition in your area, your previous experience, and the industry in which you work. For example, in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are many video game companies that require art for their games. There is a lot of opportunity but there is also a lot of competition from other artists. So the pay may be good, but it may also be difficult to find those jobs. New York City generally has a vibrant theater and advertising industry and Los Angeles is, of course, home to the movie and television industry.

Finding well paying art jobs outside of those markets may be more difficult but your competition for work will be somewhat diminished. But rest assured, art is needed for everything from entertainment to corporate branding and everything in between. Some other examples would be illustrating children's books, medical and science illustration, comic books, product design, automotive design, industrial design, print publishing and web layouts, etc.

I hope that this helps.

I am very interested in my career because of your information
its very useful to me thank you

David’s Answer

Updated Waco, Texas

Hi Sara, A degree in fine arts is a prerequisite to even be considered as a hire in any art museum. Despite what Mr. Wang thinks, all major cities have art museums. Dallas and Fort Worth, Tx, are rich with them. Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, etc. An assistant curator can make any where from 80k and up, a degree in fine arts is required. Independent galleries will also not hire you without one. Some of those galleries pay very well and you might be surprised as to where they are.

My advice to you would be to think with your head while following your heart and always check the source before taking advice. A failed dream is better than a haunting regret.


I am very interested in my career because of your information
its very useful to me thank you!

Misty’s Answer

Updated Huntsville, Alabama

There are quite a few different types of things you can do as an art major. For example, there is interior design which could allow you to stage and photograph homes for realtors, there is graphic design which could allow your love of sketches to turn into something a bit more tangible in terms of doing designing for companies or even could lead you into 3d imaging. There is freelance photography work which some companies will post as a way for aspiring photogs to get their foot in the door to that world so to speak. It really all depends on which type of art you really want to get into. Check out the website below and you will be able to see quite a few different types of careers in the field that you could get by majoring in art. This is a list of jobs as well as salaries for those jobs. Hope it helps.