As I reflect on my three decades journeying through the realms of art, faith, and business, I'm often reminded of pivotal moments early in my career. There I was, a young hobbyist artist, brimming with ideas yet grappling with the complexities of transforming my passion into a thriving career. I had no clue what that could even look like, much less how to get there. I had dreams but little understanding of how to see them come to fruition.
I didn't have any art mentors, but thankfully, I did have other mentors who taught me about the Kingdom of God and about business. After being a hobbyist artist for almost 13 years, I began pursuing my art seriously as I started learning how to walk in the Kingdom and understand who God designed me to be. That changed everything. Over the years, I've tried to share what I've learned with others in art, faith and business so they don't have to experience the failures and frustrations I did as a young artist. Seeing their success is what continues to fuel my passion as an artist mentor.
The Crucial Role of Mentorship in Artistic Development
The significance of mentorship in art, business, and my spiritual life can't be understated. Art is not just a skill to be learned; it's a voice to be honed and a vision to be sharpened. Business is not just spreadsheets and numbers; it's how we share who we are with the world and how we receive the financial provision God has for us. Spirituality is not just a part of my life that shows up on Sunday, but rather the framework and perspective from which I live my life. Mentors act as catalysts in this process, offering their wisdom, experience, and sometimes even their studios to help young artists find their footing.
In the broader context, the importance of mentorship in artistic growth is a universally acknowledged truth in both educational and professional spheres. It's about passing down a legacy of skills, insights, and artistic philosophies. A mentor can help an artist navigate through creative blocks, offer critique that encourages growth, and provide connections that open up new opportunities.
I'm reminded of a friend of mine who became an art mentor for me. He saw what I was doing in copper early on in my career and saw that I was in desperate need of help. Instead of judgement, he offered his hand of experience and knowledge. Just a few hours with him cemented our relationship for many years to come and became the ground in which artistic seeds were sown which have produced much fruit!
The Business of Art: A Mentor's Guidance
The stark reality of the art world is - for many artists - its economic challenge. The Artnet News study revealing that about three-quarters of U.S. artists earn $10,000 or less annually from their art is a harsh reminder of the financial struggles artists face (source). This statistic is not just a number; it represents countless artists grappling to sustain their passion in a market that is often unforgiving.
Artist mentorship in the business aspect of art is thus not just helpful; it's essential. A mentor who has navigated the treacherous waters of art marketing, gallery relationships, and sales can provide invaluable guidance. They can teach artists how to value their work, build a brand, connect with audiences, and create a sustainable income from their art. This artist mentorship can be the difference between a struggling artist and a successful "artrepreneur". That's what I'm passionate about!
One of the things I love most about mentoring artists inside our Created to Thrive Artist Mentorship Program is teaching them how to connect with God's promise of abundant provision and teaching them how to renew their mind according to that truth. Transforming your inner framework of belief is the key to transforming your outer experience in business.
Faith and Art: An Intertwined Journey
My personal journey as an artist has always been deeply intertwined with my Christian faith. In a country where Pew Research Center reports over 70% of the population identifies as Christian, this intersection of faith and daily life is a shared experience for many (source).
In my artist mentorship program, I emphasize this fusion of faith and art. It's about creating art that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also spiritually meaningful. Seeing God move through both the artist and the viewer, the creative process and the artistic product. This integration is about more than just themes; it's about how faith can guide an artist's ethical decisions in business, their interactions with the art community, their creative process with the Holy Spirit, and their overall approach to life and work from a Kingdom perspective.
Throughout my career, I've encountered numerous challenges and milestones that have shaped my understanding of art, business, and faith. But the most powerful stories of overcoming difficulty are the ones I've seen in the lives of the artists I mentor. Artists who face faced seemingly unsurmountable obstacles with their health, finances and life situation only to persevere and thrive as they learn to trust God's best for their life, hear His voice and follow His lead in the context of the community we've nurtured inside the Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program. These stories, too numerous to include here in just one article, keep me going as an art mentor and provide the momentum we enjoy every day inside our artist mentorship program.
The Future of Artist Mentorship
Looking ahead, the landscape of art and artist mentorship is ever-evolving. With the advent of digital technology and social media, new platforms for artist mentorship are emerging. These platforms offer unprecedented access to guidance and community for artists, regardless of their geographical location.
However, the essence of mentorship remains unchanged – it's about the transfer of knowledge, encouragement, and support. As I continue my journey, I am committed to fostering a community where artists can thrive in their craft, business, and spiritual life inside Created to Thrive. It continues to be the gold-standard for Christian artist mentorship in the world. Since 2017, we've helped thousands of artists start to thrive spiritually, artistically and in business.
The journey of an artist is complex and multifaceted. Artist mentorship in art, business, and faith plays a pivotal role in navigating this journey. It's about more than just learning techniques or business strategies; it's about shaping an artist's entire approach to life and their craft. As a mentor, my goal is to light the way for others as my mentors did for me and point people to Jesus, helping them weave together their art, business, and faith into a harmonious and fulfilling life in God's Kingdom.