Career Coach & Artist-Advocate



Artist/Dealer Relations

"Artists who want to gain broad exposure and/or derive a healthy part-time or full-time income from gallery exhibitions and sales must be represented by many dealers. Relying on one dealer for your livelihood is not practical for many reasons. For example, your dealer might die, go into bankruptcy, or go out of business for other reasons. And unless a dealer understands the importance of expanding his or her client base, and most importantly, is willing to engage in an expansion, the gallery's narrowly focused market will soon become saturated, and sales activity will come to a screeching halt."

"Somewhere between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, art dealers in New York reinvented themselves and changed the title of their occupation to ‘gallerist.’ . . . 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 the 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!” 

Artists' Websites

"Unfortunately, many artists make a big mistake of combining a consumer-oriented site with a fine-art portfolio.  They naively believe that a multipurpose site will attract the general public for the purpose of generating sales and also gain the interest of the art world.  However, it is highly unlikely that members of the art world are impressed with a website that drools of advertising hype, or that offers paintings for sale that are categorized as ‘extra large, large, medium, and small’.”

Pricing Artwork

“Fear-based thinking is responsible for the difficulties artists have in establishing prices for their work.  Establishing prices for artwork in which you compensate yourself fairly has everything to do with self-confidence and a willingness to defend your prices and take some risks.”


Excuses and Fears of Rejection

"If you want to avoid fulfilling your potential as an artist, there are many ways of going about it. Excuses are easy to find. It is also easy to blame others for disappointments and place the onus of rejection on other people’s shoulders. It is also easy to become paralyzed by insecurities and fears – a fear of the marketplace – a fear of rejection – a fear of not measuring up to the talents of other artists. The fear list can go on and on.”


"Beware of dealers who won't use contracts. Requesting someone to enter into a formal agreement does not imply that you are distrustful. It merely attests to the fact that being human lends itself to being misunderstood and misinterpreted. Contracts can help compensate for human frailties. Another important reason for using contracts is that it will save you a lot of time and energy in having to reinvent the wheel each time a situation arises that needs some sort of clarification."

Copyright 2016 by Caroll Michels. All rights reserved.

You have the power to set things up so that the studio visit accomplishes something positive.”

Excerpts from How to Survive & Prosper as an Artist


"Artists who are apprehensive and skeptical about applying for grants have many misconceptions about who receives them. Skeptical artists deem themselves ineligible for various reasons, such as being too old or young, lacking sufficient or impressive exhibition or performance credits, or lacking the right academic background. They believe that the kind of work they are doing isn't considered "in" or that they lack the right connections, which implies that juries are rigged!.. However, on the basis of my own experiences as a grant recipient and juror, as well as the experiences of my clients (the majority of whom would not measure up to the tough stereotype that many artists have of “the perfect grant-winning specimen”), I am convinced that, for the most part, grant selection is a democratic process - meaning that everyone has a real chance."

Copyright 2016 by Caroll Michels. All rights reserved.