Visual arts and crafts professional

What they do

Visual arts and crafts professionals produce forms of art that are appreciated more for their aesthetic value and meaning than for their function or practical use. This is not to say that art work cannot be practical or functional, and quite the opposite can be the case with craft in jewellery, furniture or utensils. Visual arts and crafts professionals use a wide variety of mediums to articulate their feelings or ideas, such as painting, illustration, sculpture, photography, pottery and ceramics, wood and metal work, graphic design, multimedia, textiles and film. Sometimes they create abstract forms that challenge the very idea of what art is, or produce work that articulates particular views on social or political issues, though often art is created simply for pleasure.

Working conditions

Visual arts and crafts professionals work in studios and workshops, which can range from rented space with other artists, designated studios supplied by art-organisations, or even their own homes. They frequently travel locally to gather materials or equipment for their work, or to promote and sell their work in shops, fairs, exhibitions or private clients.

They spend a great deal of time developing ideas, sketching plans and practising technical skills. Some works may take a very short time to create, whereas others can take years. Due to time spent conceptualising and creating work, the competitive nature of the industry and the uncertainty over how popular their work may be, many visual art and crafts professionals seek additional employment to support themselves. They often supplement their income by teaching art or working as administrators in the arts and crafts industry.

Tools and technologies

Visual arts and crafts professionals use a variety of materials and equipment for their work. They use materials such as paint, glass, clay, stone, wood, metal, photographic film, canvas, glazes, varnish, paper and fabric. They then use a variety of tools, like brushes, sponges, cameras, and cutting and carving tools to craft these materials into artwork. They may also use special computer software for graphic design. Most visual art and craft professionals use paper and pencils for sketching ideas, as well as equipment to assist in the creation of their work, such as easels, stands, work benches and special drawing tables. Since some visual arts and crafts professionals use chemicals and tools such as hammers, drills, sanders and grinders for sculpture or multimedia, it is important that they use safety equipment.

How do I become one?

Education and training

It is possible to work as a visual arts and crafts professional without any formal qualifications. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in art or a related area.

The Certificate IV in Visual Arts, Diploma of Visual Arts and Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

You can also complete a degree majoring in fine art or visual arts.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses.

Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Learn more about your study options.


Required registration and licensing


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