Each month we take a look at one of the 650 career pathways featured within Indigo. This month, we explore the role of a sculptor.
Artist Luke Jerram shares his insights with this video career profile from the Indigo Careers module.
So what is a sculptor?
A sculptor is an artist who develops ideas for sculptures and statues, and brings them to life in three-dimensional form.
You will collect the materials you will use and make sketchings, plans and small-scale models.
You may create a master mould from an original sculpture to produce multiple copies for exhibition and sale.
You may display your work in public buildings, outdoors and as part of temporary displays.
You will be responsible for promoting your work to sponsors, galleries and other organisations by networking or issuing publicity material.
You might organise solo or joint exhibitions in a variety of venues to showcase your work. Some residencies are available in institutions such as schools and prisons.
Much of your time will be spent alone and you will set your own hours.
You will work in a studio, on location or teach workshops at a residency.
Type of work
Sculptors will work with dangerous tools such as knives, chisels and welding equipment.
Things to consider
Rewarding Creating striking pieces of work out of materials such as clay should provide a sense of artistic achievement.
Creative freedom You will be required to be original and will have the opportunity to try out new ideas and designs.
Isolating This may not be the best job for an extrovert who can’t bear to be alone. You’ll be putting in some serious work hours with potentially only your sculptures to talk to. Depending on your personality, this may be very appealing or a little lonely.
Unpredictable/unstable profession Many sculptors need to have another job to provide a more stable source of income.
Most people have an undergraduate degree and you will need natural ability in your chosen field
Sculptors usually have a fine art degree with a specialisation in sculpture. Entry requirements for degree courses vary. Some institutions require A levels/H grades in relevant subjects, some want the student to have completed a Foundation degree and others accept students solely on the strength of their portfolio.
Most sculptors have other ways of making money related to their sculptings, such as tutoring or running sculpture classes.
Salary progression It is difficult to make a steady income a sculptor, or indeed any kind of artist when starting out. You should not expect to earn a full-time salary from your work.
With experience, a good reputation and the sale of several high-profile sculptures to high profile clients, you could cover living costs with your salary.
If you become a famous and established sculptor, the amount you will be able to charge for your work will rise. You may be able to earn £45,000 a year or more.
You could earn additional experience (and income) by working in related areas such as arts education, community development and in art galleries.
Emma Davies works within the editorial department at Trotman Publishing. Graduating from her Masters degree in 2017, she is familiar with all aspects of the student journey through university. She is passionate about helping students find the right career, and was a member of the SYP’s inaugural committee in the South West.