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Occupational Profile

Sculptor

Sculptors create original three-dimensional artworks in traditional media (for example, wood, clay, metal, stone) and nontraditional media (for example, sound and virtual reality).

  • Avg. Salary $51,755.00
  • Avg. Wage $27.52
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Artisan, Artist

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

93%
93%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Sculptor is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Sculptors
NOC code: 5136.2
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing ideas to create artistic forms from metal, stone and other materials in order to express ideas, feelings and moods by shaping, carving and sculpting materials such as clay, ice, paper, stone, wood and metal

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to carve and shape materials to desired forms using hand and power tools, welding and metalworking equipment, and masonry tools

methodical

Interest in speaking with models when directing them to pose; and in using established techniques of sculpting and arranging objects for compositions

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 15, 2016

The boundaries between categories in the visual arts are much less distinct today than they once were. Traditionally, sculptors have used materials such as stone, bronze, concrete, wood, clay and plaster. Today, many sculptors use materials and methods normally associated with other disciplines. For example, they may work in, and experiment with, photography, metals of all kinds, fired ceramics, electricity, video and digital media, sound, wax, ice, plastics, performance art, fibre, textiles and other materials. They may produce only one or a limited number of copies of each piece of work.

Some sculptors choose to design their work entirely on a computer using three-dimensional (3D) software and fabricate their sculptures with digital tools (for example, computer numeric controls or CNC machines, 3D printers, computer controlled laser cutters). Others may create the design using software then use conventional methods to produce the work.

Digital tools allow sculptors to:

  • fabric artworks that previously were impossible to create by conventional means
  • produce accurate models for presentation
  • work out design problems before fabricating the sculpture
  • position the proposed work in the desired context before production
  • produce digital animations of the work positioned on the site to give clients a precise idea of how the work will appear.

Sculptures range in size from a small coin to several hundred acres of "live art." There are many new and emerging areas as sculptors experiment with new materials, installation techniques and mixed media applications. In some cases, sculptors employ the assistance of engineers, mechanics and other technical experts.

Many sculptors study different techniques and experiment with different materials on an ongoing basis. They keep up to date with what is going on in the art world by reading and attending exhibitions at art galleries.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 15, 2016

Sculptors' working conditions vary with their media. They may use a variety of hand tools and power tools. Some materials and tools require attention to safety practices to prevent injury.

Studios may be clean and well ventilated, or they may have less than ideal working conditions. Flying particles, falling objects, fumes, heat and chemicals are common occupational hazards. Sculptors may work at home, wherever large pieces are situated or in studios located in artist-run centres or warehouses.

The work can be physically demanding. Lifting requirements vary depending on the medium.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 15, 2016

Sculptors need the following characteristics:

  • initiative, self-discipline and determination
  • self-promotion and marketing skills
  • artistic talent and creativity
  • the ability to translate their ideas into finished products and critique their own work
  • the ability to communicate their ideas on paper (to prepare proposals)
  • the ability to deal with criticism.

They should enjoy working independently.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 15, 2016

There are no formal education requirements for sculptors. However, they need: 

  • some knowledge of art history, composition and contemporary art criticism 
  • a portfolio of their best work (for example, a website with biographical information, digital images of artwork and other relevant information) 
  • training in the safe use of materials, tools and equipment 
  • small business skills (marketing and financial management skills in particular).

Prospective sculptors should look for education programs that have the best blend of technical and creative course materials for their particular interests and needs. Some galleries may prefer to feature sculptors who have a Bachelor's or Masters degree in Fine Arts.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Grant MacEwan University

Keyano College

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 15, 2016

Sculptors may receive commissions or fees paid in advance that allow them to buy materials and cover some living expenses while they finish a site-specific or major work. However, few sculptors can support themselves on their art work alone. Many teach recreational, secondary school or post-secondary courses; work in foundries; do related work such as mass production design or mould making; or work in other fields to cover their living costs and studio rent.

Sculptures may be commissioned by special request, or sold in retail markets or through agents. Sculptors may display their art in:

  • galleries and museums
  • restaurants and clubs
  • office buildings and public spaces
  • parks, exhibit grounds and international expositions.

They also may market their work electronically through television or the internet. Sometimes, film makers rent available ready-made sculptures.

Emerging sculptors can get a start by entering art competitions, art festivals or arranging their own shows in their homes or artist-run centres. Before approaching gallery owners, sculptors should do some research to identify galleries that have a style compatible with their own. Sculptors usually have one gallery representative per city.

The Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Canada Council for the Arts purchase artworks and offer grants for promising sculptors to enable them to study and work for a few months or a year at a time.

Sculptors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5136: Painters, Sculptors and Other Visual Artists. In Alberta, 76% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 15, 2016

Some sculptors receive commissions or fees paid in advance that allow them to buy materials and cover some living expenses while they finish site-specific or major works.

Sculpture prices vary considerably depending on the sculptor's reputation, size of the piece, materials used and availability of the sculptor's work. Most galleries deduct a commission ranging from 50% to 70%.

A few well established sculptors hire agents to handle marketing, bookkeeping and sales transactions. Agents may add or deduct a 20% to 40% commission.

Painters, sculptors and other visual artists
NOC code: 5136

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $0.00 $0.00 $24.63 $25.96
Overall $0.00 $0.00 $27.52 $29.20
Top $0.00 $0.00 $32.72 $35.47

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

D: Lowest Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lowest Reliability, represents a CV of more than 33.00% and/or if fewer than 10 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 25% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

93%
93%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

N/A

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

N/A

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • Fine Arts
    • Visual Arts
  • English Language Arts
  • Science
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Design Studies
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Fabrication
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 15, 2016

Alberta Foundation for the Arts website: www.affta.ab.ca

Canada Council for the Arts website: www.canadacouncil.ca

Sculptors Society of Canada (SSC) website: www.cansculpt.org

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 24, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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