Career Opportunities and Job Prospects for Visual Arts Graduates in Nigeria


The visual arts are art forms such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, video, filmmaking, and architecture. Many artistic disciplines (performing arts, conceptual art, textile arts) involve aspects of the visual arts as well as arts of other types. Also included within the visual arts are the applied arts such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and decorative art.

Visual art is one type of modern art which create works that are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, craft, photography, video, filmmaking and architecture.

Visual art includes fine arts, certain contemporary arts( like installation, performance) and decorative arts.

Fine Arts:-  It encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking.
Contemporary Arts: – Arts continues to be created during our lifetimes.
Decorative Arts:- Arts  or crafts concerned with the design and manufacture of beautiful objects that are also functional.

Scope of Visual Arts

If you’re creative and imaginative, a degree in Visual art could be just what you’re looking for to express yourself. Art may not be a vocational subject – that is, one that leads to a specific career – but this doesn’t mean it won’t be a good preparation for the world of work.

Specializing in visual art or the history of art, the skills you gain during your degree are likely to be highly valued and transferable to many sectors, including specialized art careers as well as many general graduate roles. Alongside a range of practical arts skills, art graduates should also have good observational, analytical and research skills, including the ability to solve problems creatively and work well both independently and in groups.

In the majority of the art careers, you will find it essential or highly advantageous to have a varied portfolio of work to show prospective employers, including some of your own original ideas as well as coursework.

Skills and Competencies needed by Visual artists

Seeing, drawing, and understanding form
Mastering the use of color, space and line
Relating abstract ideas and visual forms
Visualizing shapes and spatial relationships
Utlizing theories of composition
Knowing the qualities and limitations of each medium
Working with a variety of media
Attaining a high level of Craftsmanship
Good finger and manual dexterity
Working independently
Criticizing, evaluating, and explaining works of art
Problem Solving and Critical Analysis
Use critical thinking skills to evaluate and solve problems, demonstrate the ability to be creative and innovative in identifying solutions
Analyze complex textual and cultural phenomenon
Develop critical observations and attention to detail
Pursue innovative and unconventional solutions: ability to take multiple approaches to problems
Utilize available resources
Demonstrate leadership
Monitor the success of a project and identify ways to improve it
Interpersonal Abilities and Teamwork
Establish good relations with the people you work with as well as respecting individual differences
Work well with people from diverse backgrounds
Work effectively within a group, demonstrating leadership
Monitoring the success of a project and identifying ways to improve it
Organize ideas and materials in an effective way
Design, plan, organize and implement projects and tasks within an allotted timeframe
Citizenship and Global Perspective
Integrates an awareness of how social, organizational, and global issues are inter-related with individual and local concerns
Think and write creatively 
Lead and participate in discussions
Effectively convey arguments and opinions and encourage independent and creative thought

Other important skills include:


  • Constructive drawing. ...
  • Ability to draw from life. ...
  • Drawing from memory and imagination. ...
  • Knowledge of art materials and their skillful use. ...
  • Knowledge of the rules of perspective. ...
  • Knowledge of golden proportions. ...
  • Composition skills.

Career Opportunities and Job Options for Visual Arts Graduates

Fine artist Painting
Kicking off with perhaps the most obvious of art careers, there is no reason why you cannot pursue a career as a professional artist if you have talent and dedication. You will also need plenty of self-belief, stamina and the ability to promote yourself, as this is a highly competitive career path. Relevant work experience in the creative sector, such as working as a studio assistant, would be useful, and you should be resourceful in finding new and interesting places to showcase and sell your work to get yourself known. Some fine artists also decide to continue developing their work alongside work in a relevant full- or part-time job, such as that of an art teacher/tutor.

Illustrators use their creative skills to communicate stories, messages or ideas to an intended audience. They usually work on a freelance basis for multiple clients, and are likely to specialize in a specific medium, such as drawing, photography or digital illustration. In this case, your portfolio should demonstrate that you can work to a clear brief, such as creating designs for a book cover. You should also show that you can work in a variety of formats, particularly with computer-aided design (CAD) techniques. A postgraduate degree in fine arts specializing in illustration should give you a good range of relevant skills to offer prospective employers.

Photographer Photographer 
Photographers use a range of equipment to capture permanent images in the style and brief set by a client or employer. There are a wide range of purposes and specializations in photography – from weddings to advertising, photojournalism and more. Some fields, such as fashion photography, are particularly competitive, and you may find it beneficial to have a Master of Fine Arts specializing in photography. As well as working on your portfolio, you should look for opportunities to make contacts, get work published and generally gain new skills and experience through opportunities like volunteering, work shadowing, or taking part in work experience and project work with photographers or relevant employers.

An animator produces multiple images called frames, which when sequenced together create an illusion of movement known as animation. Animators could even work in the visual effects team on a film. This is another competitive area and in this case, your portfolio would be in the form of a short yet effective showreel – a DVD or online portfolio video. To enhance your employability, a postgraduate specialization in animation would be beneficial, but this is not essential. To become an animator you need to have artistic talent and strong technical skills with a good eye for detail.

Graphic designer Crayons
A graphic designer is responsible for creating design solutions that have a high visual impact. The role involves working to a brief agreed with the client, creative director or account manager. Graphic designers develop creative ideas and concepts, choosing the appropriate media and style to meet the client's objectives. To become a graphic designer, it is very useful if you have specialized in design (or an aspect of design) in your degree and mastered the skills required, such as the use of computer packages like Photoshop. You may also consider continuing your studies at postgraduate level, with a Master of Design (MDes).

Arts administrator
As an arts administrator, you would plan and organize arts activities and ensure they are successful. If you’re passionate about the arts and enjoy managing and organizing, this career could be for you, enabling you to gain new perspectives on art and its various community and social roles. You will need strong administration and computer skills for this role.

Printmaker Printing
Printmakers create art using printing press, typically on paper, and again usually work to set briefs. Techniques used include etching, block-printing, woodcuts, silk-screening and lithography, with electronic and digital processes increasingly being used. You might find that printmaking emerges as your preferred medium following a degree in fine arts, especially if you specialize in design or illustration. To increase your employability (especially if you decide to become self-employed), seek out relevant work experience opportunities and build up a network of relevant contacts by reaching out in person and online.

Teacher/university lecturer
If you wish to use your passion for art to motivate and inspire young people and encourage the development of budding talents, a career as an art teacher could be highly rewarding. In most countries, you will need a teaching qualification to teach at primary/secondary level, and a postgraduate degree to teach at university level. You should also have lots of confidence and excellent communication and presentation skills, in order to effectively teach and inspire your students. You may also choose to offer private art tuition to individuals or small groups, or specialize in an area such as art therapy.

Some others careers may include:
Art Director.
Book Illustrator, Technical/Production Illustrator.
Exhibitions Designer.
Freelance Photographer.
Font Designer.
Graphic Designer - Advertising, Corporate, Publishing.
TV/Film, Entertainment.
Multi-media specialist.

Admission Requirements for the study of Visual Arts in Nigeria

In UTME, please note that English Language is Compulsory for this course. Therefore, the three (3) other JAMB UTME subject combination needed to study Visual Arts under the Faculty of Arts & Humanities in the above Universities include;

Fine Art and two other Arts subjects or Social Science subject.

The O'level subject combination and requirements needed to study Visual Arts;

You require; Five SSCE credit passes to include English Language and Fine Art, Lit in English and two other required art subjects



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