Interviewing a mentor can be an intimidating, but highly rewarding experience. Remember, your mentor is also your peer, and he or she will be happy to share what they have experienced with you. Below are some sample questions you may wish to ask your mentor. Use this list as inspiration for highlighting the questions that are especially important to you. It is best to keep your interview short (no more than 10 questions), and allow your mentor ample time to answer fully.
1. What is your artistic process?
2. What have you been working on recently?
3. What were your first artistic experiences? What made you interested in the arts?
4. What formal education or training have you had, and what importance would you place on your degree in your success as an artist?
5. Where do you draw inspiration for your work?
6. How do you continue to be inspired?
7. What artists influence your work? Who do you look up to in the art world?
8. What was your largest career leap?
9. How difficult is it for you to balance being an artist and being a business person?
10. How do you approach deadlines and what style of time management do you use?
11. How did you get into the industry?
12. When did you decide what you wanted to do for a career?
13. Do you feel your job gives you the opportunity to inspire others?
14. What tools or skills do you find most effective for promoting your work?
15. What tips would you give a (beginning or emerging artist) to help them differintiate themselves and keep a competitive edge?
16. How do you find your clients?
17. What are some specific challenges you’ve faced in your profession?
18. What single piece of advice would you give to an artist who would like a career like yours?
19. How do you find exhibition opportunities? How do you approach galleries/museums?
20. What does a typical work day look like for you?
21. What are some pros and cons of working freelance? Do you recommend working freelance or for a company? If both, please explain.
22. How do you price your work? How do you charge for your time?
23. What are your future plans?
24. What are some common mistakes that artists new to this field make? How can they be avoided?
25. What set of skills are required for your field? Is a degree from an accredited school necessary?
26. What is the most effective way to manage multiple jobs at once? And how did you arrive at that solution?
27. Do you often have people help you with your business choices? (for example, an agent or a tax advisor)
28. What do you see as your future in art?
29. Does your family support your choice to pursue a career in art?
30. How do you divide your time? How much of your time is spent on personal projects, professional projects, self-promotion, networking, client correspondence, etc?