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Do Artists Need Mentors?

10 Reasons Why Art Mentorships Help Artists Flourish

As artists, we can often feel like we have to maneuver the art world alone. Like it’s a singular experience, and we can only succeed if we sit in a room by ourselves and create. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Learning is an ongoing process and doesn’t end once you develop skills. Instead, art mentorship programs are unique learning experiences that offer advanced students a chance to learn from professional artists who have already succeeded, while gaining crucial insights and next steps for their art practice.

Mentorship takes art students to the next level. They no longer just see art as a pastime, but something they can invest their future in! Whether it’s to help them prepare for college or even offer industry / career advice, mentors can offer art students insight into the creative world they want to be a part of.

Have you ever considered advancing your studies with an artist mentor? If you're an advanced artist who is looking for an independent study or to explore creative majors/career choices, here are the top 10 reasons why an art mentor will benefit you:

1 - Motivation and Inspiration

One of the most influential things mentors can do is motivate you! It’s inspiring to hear from someone who has navigated the art world successfully. And by success, we don’t mean that there were no bumps in the road along the way, but that they learned valuable insight from every obstacle they overcame. Mentors share this information with you so that you can avoid making those same mistakes. It can give you hope that the field you are pursuing isn’t just a dream but can become a reality! Mentors encourage and push you to explore art in ways you might’ve never had the opportunity to before.

2 - Careers in the Creative Industry

As much as art is a hobby for many, making and selling art is a very real career choice. It’s also not the only art related career, but so is working in galleries, studios, teaching, art direction, graphic design, and many other options in commercial art and design! Mentors can offer insight for you to start planning for your future. By speaking to people who have successfully built careers in the arts, you’ll start to learn how you can too! As a creative person, you can really love what you do and do what you love!

3 - Develop Your Art Style

Almost all artists struggle with finding their style. It can feel like one of the biggest steps in an artist’s career, and for many, it is. Whether it’s because you don’t know what you like or you need to explore some more, art mentorships give you a chance to develop what art you want to present to the world. You’re given a place to explore and discuss ideas in a one-on-one environment where you can receive feedback.

4 - Professional Feedback from Working Artists

Sometimes — or most of the time — artists wonder how they can improve their work and what might be missing from it. Often, we go to family or friends for advice, but a lot of the time they fall short with a mumble of “It’s better than I could do.” An art mentorship offers professional and constructive feedback that will help you reach your full potential from an artist. They can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and help you target your artistic practice to improve on those gaps. It’ll also prepare you for college and art commissions, where art critiques are frequent and will help you feel comfortable receiving constructive and honest criticism that will help your art flourish. Creating art is best done when you can ditch your ego and make the necessary changes and improvements!

5 - Master Art Techniques

Art mentorships are one-on-one experiences and sometimes even held in small group mentorships of 2-6 people. Small groups give you the chance to learn from your peers while supporting each other, while private mentorships allow you to have full personal guidance and portfolio reviews when timing is tight. In both cases, you’re given the chance to choose specific things you want to work on and master them. With the help of a mentor, you’ll be able to find areas that you struggle with and work on them until you feel confident!

6 - Networking with Creatives

Networking is one of the most helpful tools you can acquire in any career, but most importantly, in the arts. It helps you build connections and gain access to opportunities that you might not know of on your own. Your mentor will be the first person you network with. They’ll expose you to opportunities that will help you push your art into the world, like art competitions, grants you can apply for, artist residencies, and exhibition opportunities. They can even provide you with contacts that can help expand your network of artists, galleries, institutions, and industry professionals!

7 - Mentors Provide Accountability

Life is undeniably busy, and with school, work, or other commitments, it can be easy to forget to practice your art. But, practice and consistency are keys to success in the arts. Mentorships help you be accountable to someone other than yourself. This means that you’ll continue to explore the arts, challenge yourself, push boundaries, and practice because it’s no longer just a hobby that can be pushed to the side, but a passion you explore with the guidance of an artist mentor.

8 - Expert Advice on Portfolio Preparation

Art portfolios are not just encouraged, but a requirement for many applications for school or work. Mentorships and art portfolio classes can guide you through preparing your portfolio and creating work that will get you accepted to the creative program or job you dream of. You can go through in-depth conversations of what your application needs and what your strongest work is.

A mentor has probably seen many successful portfolios, hired creative candidates, and most likely created portfolios of their own (for both school and work). They can share many helpful tips and valuable insights that can mean being accepted or rejected. Having an expert look at your artwork can help you level up and edit your portfolio by weeding out your weak pieces, highlighting your best / most conceptual pieces, and improving on specific areas to make it stand out among your competitors.

9 - Custom Art Demonstrations

For a lot of art classes, you don’t get to choose what’s taught to you, which is great when learning art fundamentals. Art mentorships are different. You have the opportunity to ask your mentor to demonstrate lessons specific to your needs, or request demos. This will give you the chance to learn about the things that matter most to you and your growth as an artist! Having an artist mentor allows you to pick their brain and tap into their expertise on a variety of topics and subjects. If there’s something you’re curious about, or dying to try, ask your artist mentor! They can either demonstrate their approach on the subject, share their knowledge, or point you in the right direction, saving you lots of valuable time.

10 - Mentors Build Confidence

Art mentorships don’t just help your career, but offer real emotional support during a time when you are discovering who you are as an artist. You’re able to witness success while paving your way to it as well. Most of all, it offers a safe place where your ideas and art can be discussed and encouraged. You’ll realize that art isn’t about being perfect, no art is, and most shouldn’t be. Many professional artists hate their work before they love it. Art is about expressing how you see the world, and by the end of your mentorship, you’ll feel more comfortable and confident on your journey, since that’s what art is. It’s a lifelong journey, not a destination!

Are you an advanced artist looking for art mentorship?

Here are some of our recommended virtual art mentorship and portfolio building classes!

Mentorship plays a huge role in developing who you are as an artist. Luckily, today, it’s super accessible. With virtual/online options, you can meet with your mentor in easy and modern ways. You get the chance to learn and build a connection with all of your own art supplies around you. That’s sort of the best of both worlds!

Take a sneak peek at our online art mentorship class!

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Virtual Art Classes

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Art Mentorship

This is an art program specifically for students who know what they'd like to learn, or those seeking one-on-one style lessons. (40).webp (43).webp

Teacher Resources

Doesn't matter what grade you teach, you can use our free teaching resources to help you educate the next generation of artists. (44).webp

Access the Best Art Education From Anywhere!

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