Four Questions to Ask When Searching for an Artist Mentor | Matt Tommey

Engage Art | Artist to Artist, Reflection & Growth | July 17, 2023

Choosing someone to walk with you on your artistic journey is one of your most important choices as an artist. Why? Because who you choose determines what seeds you will plant in your life and, ultimately, what fruit will be produced.

​As you consider choosing an art mentor, let me offer four key questions you need to ask:

Do they have relevant experience or just good ideas?

One of the big frustrations I hear from artists who see a creative coach is that the people offering the mentoring have yet to establish their own financially sustainable art career. They may be “professional consultants,” but they have never made a living selling art.  

Many people can offer a sounding board, but there’s nothing like learning from someone with direct, hands-on experience in the vocation you want to pursue. Artists who work with me value that I continue to be successful as a working artist, making a six-figure income from my art and thriving creatively.  

Who inspires you with their experience?

Are there regular opportunities for interaction?

Many online artist mentorship programs fall short by solely providing archives of written material. In-depth, reliable information is valuable in artistic development (like Engage Art’s free eCourse!), but actual growth comes when good information is paired with powerful insight and meaningful interaction. If you’re exploring group or online mentoring, consider asking whether you have direct opportunities to interact and receive personal feedback on your artwork and business.

Connecting with others on the same journey is essential for encouragement and collaboration. In my "Created to Thrive Artist Mentorship Program", we offer weekly interaction with me through live Q&A sessions along with a vibrant Facebook community with other artists in the program. Engage Art also fosters an active Facebook community designed explicitly for Christian artists seeking connection and support.

Do they have a holistic approach?

I've come to believe that thriving as an artist is not just about honing your craft or strengthening your marketing—although those are both critical if you want to establish yourself as a professional artist. Instead, thriving as an artist comes through aligning yourself with the divine design God used to make you an artist.  

Your artistic gifts are critical to who God has made you to be. Everything else flows out of that foundational relationship with God. If you don't know who you are, what you want, where you're going, and what God says about all of that, no marketing trick will enable you to live the life you were designed to live. The ideal mentor will support your growth in these three areas: 

  • a healthy, vibrant spiritual identity
  • growing in artist excellence 
  • learning how to establish, cultivate, and grow a thriving art business

Are we connecting on a spiritual level?

Who is pouring what into you? The people who plant the seeds play a significant role in determining what fruit is produced in your life. Each person is divinely endowed with a supernatural investment, and it's a mentor’s great honor to help you uncover that investment as led by the Holy Spirit.  You were created to be an artist that releases the supernatural life and light of God.


This article was originally published by Matt Tommey in 2020 and is adapted with his permission from https://www.matttommeymentoring.com/. Matt Tommey is an artist, internationally-known Christian speaker, and the author of 7 books who is passionate about helping artists thrive spiritually, artistically, and in business. He is a mentor to artists around the world through his Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program and also hosts The Thriving Christian Artist Podcast. Find more resources from Matt at https://www.matttommeymentoring.com/.

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