Employment of craft and fine artists is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations.
Employment growth of artists depends in large part on the overall state of the economy, because people usually make art purchases when they can afford to spend the money. During good economic times, more people and businesses are interested in buying artwork; during economic downturns, they generally buy less. However, there is always some demand for art by private collectors and museums.
Job growth for craft artists may be limited by the sale of inexpensive, mass-produced items designed to look like handmade American crafts. A continued interest in locally made products and crafted goods will likely offset some of these employment losses.
Demand for illustrators who work on a computer is likely to increase as media companies use more detailed images and backgrounds in their designs. Illustrators and cartoonists who work in publishing may see their job opportunities decline as traditional print publications lose ground to other media forms. However, new opportunities are expected to arise as the number of electronic magazines and Internet-based publications continues to grow.
Competition for jobs as craft and fine artists is expected to be strong because there are more qualified candidates than available jobs. Competition is likely to grow among independent artists given that many of them sell their work in the same online marketplaces. In addition, competition among artists for the privilege of having their work shown in galleries is expected to remain intense.
Because the demand for artwork depends on consumers having extra income to spend, many of these artists will find that their income changes as does the overall economy. Only the most successful craft and fine artists receive major commissions for their work.
Despite the competition, studios, galleries, and individual clients are always on the lookout for artists who display outstanding talent, creativity, and style. Talented individuals who have developed a mastery of artistic techniques and marketing skills are likely to have the best job prospects.
Craft and Fine Artists
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Art and design workers
Craft and fine artists
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program