Somewhere between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, art dealers in New York reinvented themselves and changed the title of their occupation to ‘gallerist’,” writes Caroll Michels in the 6th edition of How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul, published in June 2009 by Henry Holt and Company. “The new title arrived with a set of rules regarding who can use the title and who cannot. . . Although the new title is pretentious and a less-than-subtle embellishment of the occupation of ‘sales person,’ it can also be interpreted that the ‘ist’ at end of ‘galler-ist’ symbolically represents yet another encroachment into an ‘art-ist’s territory. It can be compared to the 50 percent sales commissions art dealers receive, an implication that they are major contributors to the creation of artwork!”
Drawing on more than three decades of experience as a career coach and artist-advocate, Michels shares insights for navigating in the complicated art world. In the chapter “Launching or Relaunching Your Career: Overcoming Career Blocks,” she pinpoints specific danger zones for artists, including an unwillingness to confront money issues, an awe of New York and self-imposed “regionalism,” the quest for external validation, and adolescent career goals.
Other chapters include advice and guidance on presentation tools, pricing work, art marketing and the Internet, press relations, exhibition and sales opportunities, dealing with art dealers, the mysterious world of grants, and handling rationalization, paranoia, competition, rejection, and the overwhelm factor.
Caroll Michels served as chairperson of the Fine Arts Advisory Board of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She was also on the faculty of the New School for Social Research. Her artwork has been exhibited in museums and cultural centers in the United States and abroad, including the Georges Pompidou Museum in Paris; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; and Exit Art and the Institute for Contemporary Art/The Clocktower in New York City. Michels has received numerous grants, including those awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council for the Arts; the New York Council for the Humanities; and the International Fund for the Promotion of Culture/UNESCO. She was a fellow at the Alden B. Dow Creativity Center, Northwood University, in Midland, Michigan. She is the founder of the Artist Help Network , a launching pad to help fine artists mine resources on career development and career challenges. In the fall 2009, she will teach a course based on her book at the Ringling College of Art and Design, Continuing Studies and Special Programs, in Sarasota, Florida.
HOW TO SURVIVE AND PROSPER AS AN ARTIST
Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul
By Caroll Michels
Published by Henry Holt and Company
On sale: June 2009/ISBN: 978-0-8050-8848-9/ $20