The NEW Professional: Part 1 of 3

Professional used to have an allure of conservative confidence instantly recognizable by the dark blue suit, skirt just below the knees, the sensible heels, perhaps pearl earrings and a thin chain of gold peeking beneath a scarf.

It was warm but reserved, attentive but distant, confident and quietly cagey. (I think it was called getting “the upper hand.”)

Then virtual reality came along and…

rearranged the furniture. No need for a suit, who could see you? A computer monitor sure as heck wasn’t going to distinguish between warm and reserved, much less put them together.

And getting the upper hand no longer had anything to do with who you knew, or how you leaned forward in your chair and mirrored your client or prospect, or if you dropped a breath mint before the meeting.

Suddenly It Was All Different

The world as we understood it had a whole new set of rules that only a very few were figuring out. What was really fascinating was how fast the Internet would knock off one sacred cow, replace it with another, and then knock that one off too.

In some ways, it seemed to recall a time in recent history when a much maligned group, knows as Hippies, became famous for knocking off sacred cows and trying to level the playing field between the powerless and the powerful.

Now the playing field between who had resources to start something and get the word out, and who didn’t, was being leveled. And the old guard freaked.

Back room deals were still dealing, but they weren’t the only game in town anymore. On the art scene, galleries, who once had the upper hand, were faced with artists who had ways to reach an audience that were unheard of in what I call the Old World.

From Flower Power to Tribe Scribe

Hippies understood that bureaucracy and stagnant rules were strangling creativity, spontaneity, and authenticity – three of the most joyful, delicious traits of human beings – and that reserved confidence was overrated. They understood what Twitter now heralds: being a scribe for your tribe. Using creativity, spontaneity, and authenticity to rally your audience around your message.

The new professional has to be real, someone with preferences, and ideas, and a personality. The new professional has to be professional even as she kicks off her shoes, curls her feet underneath her on the couch and invites us into her living room to share her experience on the last sculpture she had commissioned by her city council. Oh, and she has to be articulate.

The Success Blend

The New World offers us the opportunity to exercise what I call personal professionalism – a way to engage more of ourselves with the world by blending our personal selves with our professional selves. And like the Old World, this New World has rules that influence how effective you can be, how successful.

One of the biggies is the rule of authenticity, or will the real you please stand up, which, as an artist, is intimately connected to what I can your artistic fingerprint – a style that is unmistakably yours and no one else’s.

In Part 2 of “The New Professional,” we’ll take a look at how your unique artist’s voice is the single most important key to your success in the New World, just as it was in the Old World… or is it?


Having an artistic fingerprint will only go so far in the New World. Being articulate about your uniqueness is the magic key to unlocking your relationship to your art for your audience. Nothing does this as well as your artist statement. Isn’t it time you stopped putting it off? Click here.

10 Responses to “The NEW Professional: Part 1 of 3”

  1. elisa says:

    That’s a great way to put it. It’s such a tricky blend between the personal and the professional. I’m looking forward to the rest of this series.

  2. Ariane says:

    I agree, it is a “tricky” blend – and, there are things that make it less tricky and more successful…stay tuned for Part 2!

  3. I’d like to think I have been wearing the “authenticity” suit for many years now, so I am looking forward to reading what the other New Rules might be! (Oh, how I remember those navy blue suits with ties back in the ’80’s.)

    • Ariane says:

      Hey Carol – glad you put a decade to that image, something my daughter can do with impunity while I haven’t a clue when anything happened! It’s a trait, a friend tells me, of being Future oriented.

      Isn’t that an interesting thought? That we have time orientations to our personalities?

      One daughter is all about the Past (wants carriages outside her door instead of cars). The other is Present (oh how those plans change like New England weather!).

      Then there’s “authenticity,” the perfect time traveling companion!

  4. Shirley says:

    Hi Ariane, Great post. Are you saying the gallery system is dead?

  5. I like all the new opportunities we have today with technology. It was so different only 15 years back. So much more fun now! And I enjoy sharing some of myself with others and I learn so much by my readers by the same time.
    Nice post,

    Franziska San Pedro
    The Abstract Impressionist Artress

    • Ariane says:

      I’m liking this New World of ours a whole lot too – fun, definitely. I’m wondering if any researcher is tracking how the phenomenon of depression without social engagement has changed with online socialization: Is not being alone virtually as effective as not being alone in the flesh?

  6. Ariane, I saw somewhere that they have done research about depression and its relationship to the virtual world. It is not a good thing. Too many people are boarding themselves up in to cave like living situations. However, for me as an artist, I do benefit from the social interaction online.

    • Ariane says:

      Yes, of course. Television, after 45 minutes of viewing, also registers as depression for most of us. Cars can kill us, electromagnetic waves are destroying our blood brain barrier. 100 years ago it was the flu! I suspect just about everything has a downside to it and the question then becomes: in the face of that which is, what are we to become? What will we choose to focus on?

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