I''m not quite sure of the level for game artists, but a typical union salary for an animator is around $27-$29 an hour I think. That''s "regular" animation though, not sure if this applies to the gamin industry, I do think you get paid less in a gaming company.
I started in the game industry almost 10 years ago at 21k. These days, I would guess that starting salaries would be 25-30k. It''s possible that they are even higher, given that the industry seems to be hiring people with a bit more experience than what I had back in the early 90s. (Ie. there were no game schools or 3d courses back then, and no college multimedia studues programs. Almost everyone had to be trained on-the-job.)
But salaries go up from there. An experienced artist at a successfun company can make 80-90k or more. Average is probably more like 45? These salaries often don''t incluse bonuses that many companies give if things are profitable, which can be several thousand dollars or more.
Alot of artists I know freelance, they contract themselves out to diffrent companies. They often do very well as far as money goes because the company doesn''t have to pay for all the things normaly associated with a full time employee.
According to a book I have here called the Game Developers Market Place (which is a few years old) the salary for artists is $25,000-$60,000 on the norm. Animators get $30,000-80,000+. Just keep in mind those salarys have probably gone up in the few years the books been published.