Freelance Visual Artist jobs(Also known as Freelance graphic designer, Visual designer)
A freelance visual artist is commissioned to plan, design and execute the artistic rendering of traditional and digital artwork in various forms, for the purposes of brand communication or the conveyance of a visual message. The area of visual art design exists as a sub-sector of the vast graphic design market, but with much more of a free rein on conceptualisation and delivery of the art project. Whereas a graphic designer will be given a brief along the lines of a pre-existing format for the client to use, a visual artist is responsible for creating that framework, and for engineering the concept behind the finished product. It is a free-ranging job where the artist will work with the client to establish a method, theme and channel for the finished project. They must be open-minded and creative, being able to use elements of everyday life to explain visually more ambiguous concepts. Companies will typically have a visual director responsible for a team of graphic designers, but a freelance visual artist is responsible for the whole process, from conception to conclusion. They will work on short or long term contracts, agreeing a specification for a visual project, and subsequently presenting their work. Because of the “one man band” nature of the work, they must also travel to client meetings, handle their ongoing diary of forthcoming work, and eventually administer all of the delivery and invoicing for the finished project.
SalaryDue to the freelance nature of the job, there is no typical salary as such, although a busy visual artist working in the UK Midlands can expect to earn between £15,000 and £25,000 per year. This increases quite dramatically if the freelancer is able to relocate to London, where freelance earnings can quite easily breach £40,000 per annum. It is down to the independent artist to be able to find new clients and agree contracted rates for single projects.
- Take the project specification and consider ways for the eventual goal to be successfully communicated.
- Design and implement an artistic style, method and programme of delivery for the finished piece.
- Supply materials in a format which is suitable for the client, be it digital or in hard copy.
- Communicate with the client during the relationship to ensure demands are being complied with.
- Actively seek new business and implement a successful strategy of work and re-work.
QualificationsWhilst it is true that there are some visual artists operating successfully without formal academic qualifications, it is generally assumed that a degree in design, digital art or visual art is required in order to be successful. A university degree will equip the candidate with the required knowledge in order that they can effectively plan and orchestrate finished artwork to a professional standard. Graduates often elect to go back to university for a one year post-graduate diploma in business studies, as this forms a key link in being able to manage effective business relationships and implement conceptual design in line with a client's key message or marketing strategy.
- Understanding of client's demands for successful channel marketing.
- Complete understanding of various visual art forms.
- Ability to seek inspiration from everyday forms, as well as more far-reaching, unusual concept art.
- Good understanding of marketing strategy and advertising implementation.
- Keep up to date with movements in the art world, to avoid repetition or stagnation.
Working ConditionsMost freelance visual artists work from home, so the ability to be self-motivated is paramount. Working from home is generally considered to be a low-risk activity as there are few threats to health from a safety point of view. Due to the nature of the work, client site meetings are regular, and so the designer must usually have access to a vehicle and be prepared to travel often. The job can be quite stressful, as it is very difficult to develop a creative concept on a limited time-line. For this reason, busy visual artists find they have less and less time for free-thinking, which can often hinder the creative process for existing or forthcoming project builds.
ExperienceMany visual artists begin working as traditional graphic designers for established companies once they leave university. This can be very useful in giving them the skills they need in order to turn their creative ability towards successfully delivering a project brief. Graphic designers who wish to go on to become freelance artists quickly find the constraints of project work for someone else's company becomes very restrictive, and so seek to find their own clients whilst still in the full-time employ of a design house.
EmployersAs the role is freelance, there are no major employers as such. The salaried, nine-to-five side of being a visual artist typically involves working as a graphic designer for a company, although this is far more constrained in terms of creative flexibility, and requires a significantly different skill set.
Jodie McGuiness is a freelance visual artist living in Leicestershire, UK. Her work has been the subject of a solo gallery exhibition in the city.