Thinking back on my art career, when I found my Mentor, I believe that my development and progress was accelerated by several years! Because of my Mentor’s knowledge and experience I was able to bypass a lot of unnecessary trial and error, needless expense and most of all a lot of wasted time! Think of a Mentor as someone who can help an artist to get where they want to go more quickly. Let’s explore how a Mentor can help an artist’s career.
First, what is a Mentor and what do they do? A Mentor is someone who gives another person their professional career knowledge and experience. They are there to support that person with guidance, help and advice. A Mentor will teach that person (Mentee), over a period of time on how to improve their career or how to meet their career goals. To me, a Mentor can provide to a new or emerging artist with the expertise to guide the artist through the challenges of that profession. The Mentor will also provide hope, advice and counsel on what an artist needs to do to achieve their stated career goals.
Who are the Mentors? Teachers are most likely to become Mentors. A teacher will see someone who desires to be better than most of their other students. The teacher will recognize in that student that they have a thirst for further knowledge of that subject and they are naturally drawn to give that person “extra” of themselves in terms of time, expertise and wisdom. We all have been exposed to special teachers who had a passion for what they taught and they are the most likely candidates to become a Mentor.
Other types of Mentors are the ones who recognize themselves in another person, who works in the same field. They are the “That was me” type Mentor. Those Mentors will see in a person what they once “were” and are naturally drawn to help that person not make the same mistakes that they once made. This type of Mentor may also see in the person a potential that the Mentee has not yet realized exists.
Finally, there is another type of Mentorship that exists and that is when a person is invited to be the Mentor or Mentee. These are usually related to professional/business relationships. Being this type of a Mentor is usually when someone needs to be groomed for replacement positions in a company. The Mentee is provided with a huge advantage over similar persons or employees as they are imparted with that Mentor’s knowledge and experience that took many years to acquire.
Some artists may even have multiple Mentors who they rely on and who specialize in certain areas of that field. Someone may provide the artist with instruction on art techniques for their chosen style or media. Other Mentors may provide expertise with art marketing/promotion or general art business practices. A Mentor will help provide the knowledge and guidance that the artist needs to acquire in order to further their career and goals.
Overall, we see that a Mentor is someone who can impart to an artist a base of knowledge and experience that can help them to succeed much more quickly than other artists, who do not have Mentors. The artist who has a Mentor will learn about their profession in an in depth manner, that would otherwise take the artist years to learn on their own. The artist can accelerate their art career and achieve their goals when they have availed themselves of a Mentor.
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