Income and career development

Visual artists earn amongst the lowest creative incomes, despite devoting more time to their practice than other artists

Visual arts practitioners spend longer hours on their principal artistic occupation each week compared to other artists (28 hours vs. 22 hours).

The gap between the time they actually spend on creative work and the time they would prefer to spend is smaller in comparison to other artists.

However, this investment of time is not reflected in the earning patterns of artists. Visual artists earned an estimated median annual income of $4,500 from their creative work in 2007-08. This is two-thirds of that earned by the other artists ($7,000) and less than half of the median creative income of craft practitioners ($10,000).

All artists earn less than similarly-educated professionals in other industries. Cunningham and Higgs found that that the mean full-time annual income of those in arts occupations was 16 percent lower than para-professionals and advanced clerical occupations.

Full time visual arts practitioners (including painters, sculptors, potters etc.) earn a median income that is between $14,600 and $24,600 less than that earned by the average workforce.