To put it in simple terms, a video game artist is the person or people responsible for creating, developing, stylizing and realizing any and all visual components that get used by the other branches of development in the game development team, and ultimately get seen by the player.
This role involves many different aspects depending on what specification you are assigned to, however some of the most important aspects of the job rely heavily on your artistic ability, and your ability to work in a team environment. most game development studios will have different people or teams working on different components of the visual aspects of the game, such as character design, texture design, and level/environment design, that they will later fuse together with other artistic teams, and then give off to the back end, or programming end of development for them to implement into the functioning game.
Most game development studios, look for an art related degree, or better. however at the end of the day, most positions are determined by sheer skill, talent, and qualifications. If you are an adequately fit for the position, some development studios will mostly likely still consider you without a post secondary education.
Like stated before most work is divided into different sections of visual development when it comes to large scale game production, so many of the skills and proficiency can differ from job to job, however some of the most common skills required for a position such as this include a creative background in the visual arts, physical or digital, good teamwork skills, and a very important skills is the ability to adapt to different situations and means of production. every development studio utilized different tools, and some even create new graphic tool for their games, so you ability to adapt to new tools and methods is very important.
depending on what branch of game development you work for, salaries can differ greatly, independent studios generally have a much smaller fund to spread around, thus making salaries much lower than industry funded AAA games. and the opposite applies for large name brands where the pay is much higher. a rough statistic puts an average salary for a game artist at 75,000 USD.
Like mentioned before, there are generally two categories of work that can be found in the development end of the gaming industry these being, the independently funded game studios, and the AAA big name brand game studios. independent or indie studios as they are referred to as, exist everywhere and generally are very exited to have new people on their teams, AAA positions are harder to obtain but usually have company branches located in major cities. some of these big names include Ubisoft, 4K games, or even bigger MMO style companies such as Nexon or Neople.
Personally As a career path, I would not be appose to the idea of working in the visual side of game development, however I don't believe that I have the proficiency nor passion to contribute to my full potential. I would much rather work on the programming end of game development, however even that position usually has an artistic component because its better to have people who are well versed in several fields of development to lead better communication within the different branches in the gaming industry.