Caroll Michels has served as a career coach and artist advocate since 1978. The author of the classic handbook How to Survive & Prosper as an Artist. Selling Yourself without Selling Your Soul (Henry Holt & Company, New York), which is now in its 5th edition, she has helped thousands of beginning, mid-career and established fine artists launch and sustain their careers — with art marketing, art business, and career advice.
Neoteric Art: What is one of the most important things artists can do to promote themselves?
Caroll Michels: Promotion is a multi-faceted activity and requires a blend of maintaining patience, perseverance, and a sense of humor. Art marketing is not an exercise in instant gratification. In most instances, the only time instant gratification occurs is when you are in your studio creating. So, for the purpose of this interview, if I have to narrow it down to one thing that an artist can do to promote herself/himself, it would be to keep in mind that the “middle people” – the ones who sell art – are not the brightest or most sensitive creatures inhabiting planet earth. Nor are they savvy at sales or promotion (so why are artists paying them a 50%? commission fee?). Consequently, the more opportunities artists generate to physically meet the art-appreciating public/art-buying public without the interference of an art dealer (I refuse to call them “gallerists”), promotion becomes an organic endeavor and a “win-win” situation for all parties involved.