Artist Assistant

Artist assistants tend to occupy a junior position in a studio working for an established artist. Assistants are often trained as artists in their own right and the job provides experience and contacts in the art world.

The work varies according to the type of work that the artist/ studio produces, but might include: 

  • Working under the guidance of the artist to produce and finish artworks (anything from one-off paintings to large and complex installations)

  • Stretching, priming and preparing canvasses

  • Using a variety of techniques to produce different artforms

  • Working quickly and accurately under pressure to assist the artist

  • Administrative duties, including answering email/ phone enquiries and arranging the packaging and transportation of art

  • Provide help with setting up exhibitions

  • Working as part of a team with other artist studio workers

Artist assistants may work normal office hours, although flexibility is important as longer hours may be required at certain times, such as before an exhibition or an important deadline. Often the role of an artist assistant will be freelance. 

What skills are needed to become an artist assistant?

  • A proficiency in the way of working used by the artist. This might be painting, sculpture, installation, sound, film, photography, print etc. 

  • An ability to work quickly and accurately under pressure 

  • Good organisational and administrative skills

  • An ability to work independently and as part of a wider team 

  • Flexibility

How do I become an artist assistant?

  • Study for a degree in fine art or a related area such as painting/ drawing etc. 

  • Look out for artist assistant positions on artsjobs as well as internship schemes, such as this recent one run by Artquest

  • Approach artists /an artist’s studio whose work you are interested in and see if they require assistants.

Where next? 

Look up other roles in the visual arts including:

Contemporary Artist

Art Technician (University)