38 Artist Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Author: Jamie Birt

Jamie Birt is a career coach with 5+ years of experience helping job seekers navigate the job search through one-to-one coaching, webinars and events. She’s motivated by the mission to help people find fulfillment and belonging in their careers.

Interviews are an important part of the hiring process for many art-related jobs, including teaching, working at a gallery or creating art for products and merchandise. Although each of these jobs may have different duties and require varied qualifications, many potential employers ask similar questions to artists who want to practice professionally. If you’re interested in a career as an artist, understanding some of the common interview questions for this field can help you prepare to speak with employers.

In this article, we discuss 38 artist interview questions and provide sample answers for a few of them to prepare you for interviews and increase your chances of getting hired.

General artist interview questions

Interviewers may ask the following general artist interview questions to learn more about who you are and why you’re interested in a career as an artist:

  • Where are you from and how does that affect your work?
  • Who are your biggest artistic influences?
  • Tell me about your favorite medium.
  • Where do you find inspiration?
  • When is your favorite time of day to create?
  • Describe how art is important to society.
  • What motivates you to create?
  • How do you define success as an artist?
  • Does art help you in other areas of your life?
  • How do you develop your art skills?

Questions about experience and background

Since employers want to know more about your past work history and the path you’ve taken to become an artist, they make ask questions like these:

  • Have you worked as a professional artist before?
  • What’s the purpose or goal of your work?
  • How can your work affect societal issues?
  • How do you navigate the professional art industry?
  • Which art trends inspire your current work?
  • How has your style changed over time?
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of professional art?
  • Do you have a network of other artists, and how do they support you?
  • What have critics and collectors said about your work?
  • Is there a specific environment or material that’s integral to your work?

In-depth questions

Depending on the role for which you’re applying, you may have to answer in-depth questions like these about how you might fit into a specific position:

  • Do you have an existing customer base?
  • What factors influence the price of your work?
  • How can this job help you improve your art skills?
  • What are your ultimate career goals?
  • How do you manage a work-life balance as an artist?
  • Describe your ideal working environment.
  • How can you benefit this workplace?
  • Do you plan to sell your work anywhere besides here?
  • Are you currently employed elsewhere?
  • Describe how we can encourage your career growth.

Artist interview questions with sample answers

Here are some common artist interview questions you might encounter during your job search, plus explanations of what employers expect from an answer and sample answers to help you prepare:

1. Tell me how you’ve developed your art career so far

Potential employers may ask about your career development to learn more about your previous experiences in the art industry and the knowledge you gained from various roles. This is an important question for employers to get to know your background because, for many art roles, there’s no definitive path that candidates must follow to reach a certain point in their career. To answer this question, consider the decisions you’ve made since you decided to become an artist to reach your current position. Then, explain some ways you’ve developed your career, like by taking art classes or expanding your network.

Example: “I’ve developed my career as an art instructor by doing commissions for custom ink drawings and working as a preschool teaching assistant. Each of these experiences and practices allowed me to become a better and more patient artist who can connect deeply with those attending my classes and teach them the basics of pen and ink drawing.”

2. Why do you want to make and sell art?

Questions about why you want to be an artist or make and sell art allow interviewers to understand your passion for this industry, your motivation and your goals. Often, people join this career because they enjoy creating and sharing their work, but you may also want to be a professional artist for other reasons, like making money from something at which you’re talented or working outside of an office. A good way to answer this is to consider what art means to you and what you want to accomplish as a professional artist.

Example: “My motivation for making and selling art is to illustrate my experience as a child growing up close to nature. Most recently, my art features many topics related to nature, like climate change and sustainability, and I use my digital drawings to start discussions about these important topics. Selling my art simply helps me have the funds to work fewer hours at my part-time job so I can focus on my art.”

3. Describe your dream project

When a potential employer asks about your dream art project, they may want to know whether your skills and desires match the role they’re filling. It’s important to answer this truthfully to ensure you get a job that you enjoy, but it’s also useful for employers who want to help you work on something like your dream project in the future. You can answer this question by describing a project that would be fulfilling, engaging and fun for you. If you don’t currently have a project you want to complete, you can simply describe one that you’d enjoy.

Example: “My dream art project would be if I could work on a community-designed mural to display on a building in town. Being able to connect with people in my community and show the diversity of ideas and cultures to visitors would be fulfilling and challenging, but I would greatly enjoy it. I also love working outdoors, so a project like that would make me very happy.”

4. How do you collaborate with other artists?

While each artist’s role may differ slightly, there are often times when you have the opportunity to work with other artists, so interviewers like to know how you typically collaborate. Collaborating can be useful in many art jobs because it allows you to incorporate other artists’ styles and ideas into your work and, on projects like murals or large sculptures, can improve efficiency. In your answer, describe a time you worked successfully with another artist. If you haven’t worked directly with other artists, you can explain how you’d share duties and how you might inspire one another’s creative process.

Example: “I love collaborating with artists like dancers and musicians when I have a gallery show because these mutually beneficial projects give audience members a deeper understanding of our art. When a gallery allows it, I present many of my sculptures with accompanying performative dance and music from various genres to set the mood and tell a deeper story. Lately, I’ve been collaborating with a local dance company to create a series of sculptures based on their dancers and help create choreography to present with my pieces.”

5. Do your other interests influence your art?

Employers may want to know if you have other interests, whether they’re different types of hobbies, study topics or recreational activities, that influence your art style, the topics about which you create art and your opinion of art. For example, if you enjoy gardening, you may see the colors and arrangement of your garden as a form of art, and describing this to employers can show your creativity and perspective. When answering this question, try to choose one or two other interests that may affect how you make art and detail those connections for the interviewer.

Example: “As the child of a chef, I’ve always been interested in how food can influence my art. My most recent projects use pigments from produce, herbs and edible flowers as watercolor paint. I think food waste is an important topic to discuss, so many of my pieces focus on showing the life cycle of produce and still-life paintings of people cooking real recipes with these products.”

6. Describe the best piece of art you’ve created

An interviewer may ask you about the best piece of art you’ve created to determine what you define as a successful art piece, how confident you are in your abilities and whether you can accurately describe the positive characteristics of a work to someone else. This information is valuable for most art positions, but it’s especially important to describe your work to potential buyers. Consider a recent artwork and detail a few aspects that made it unique, technically masterful and visually appealing.

Example: “My best piece of art is a ceramic tea set that took me months to perfect as I studied classic tea-set shapes worldwide and combined them to represent my cultural heritage. The teapot, each cup and each dish are white clay formed on a kiln and by hand, and the pieces all show a roundness from far away that matches well with the smooth, shiny glaze. I also colored each piece in pale blue and dark orange to represent my contrasting heritage, which increases visual interest.”

7. How has your education helped you in your career?

Because some artist roles don’t require specific educational credentials, employers are often interested in how artists use advanced degrees to improve their skills and careers. If you have a college degree, describe any way that it’s helped you establish a career as an artist. Some potential ways your educational experience may have helped you include introducing you to people who helped you get art jobs, teaching you important skills for your field or if your degree isn’t art-related, providing you with knowledge about other interests that influence your art.

Example: “While pursuing my degree in art history, I learned many medieval art techniques and found inspiration from those sources that still motivate my work today. My education also introduced me to art historian seminars, during which I met a medieval art specialist and children’s book illustrator who helped me get an internship as a graphic designer for their employer. This led me to combine my graphic design talent with my university knowledge to create and illustrate a series of historical fiction comics.”

8. Tell me about your techniques for overcoming creative blocks

Creative blocks are common for people in creative careers, and potential employers like to know how their employees overcome those types of challenges. Questions like this one help employers ensure candidates understand they must often submit work despite these challenges and show interviewers you understand yourself and your process well enough to find solutions to creative blocks. Try to answer this question with two or three techniques for overcoming creative obstacles that work best for you and help you stay on track for meeting work goals with your art.

Example: “When I encounter creative blocks with my work, I often switch between projects or take a timed break before attempting to continue a piece. If I feel very challenged by a piece, I might change something about it or work on it a few minutes at a time to ensure I finish it by my deadlines.”

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