What’s in a name?

Today’s Art Marketing Action newsletter presents the option of using a different name for your artwork that looks like another artist did it. If you use two names, can you share your experience and show us your work online? Just leave a comment (use the link at the bottom of this post). We’re curious . . .

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4 comments to What’s in a name?

  • When I first started doing custom work in ironwork and mosaic, I wanted to target architects and designers. I named my business POP Vernacular… It had a nice ring to it (I thought) and described the two main inspirations for the work I was doing at the time. After all, most of the architects I wanted to work with had hip, trendy names for their studios as well (though you’ll note that most of the big established firms operate under the name of one or several partners. That should have been a clue). I felt designers might respond better to a name that sounded like a company than an individual. I figured it would give a professional impression and suggest that there were more people involved, more accountability, speedier fabrication, etc. I also wanted to stay away from the lone, flaky artist stereotypes. Well, it didn’t really work, despite aggressive marketing, great design for the logo and brochures and so on. Someone eventually convinced me that people really wanted to connect with the artist directly and I switched to using my own name exclusively. That proved to work much better. Almost immediately upon switching to working under my own name, I started getting a great deal more work and exposure across the board for all the different kinds of art and design I was creating. I think that overall, it makes a lot more sense to work under one name than two… Each new name you use can amount to a major distraction for both yourself and your audience. Although I work in vary diverse media and styles, it seems that I’ve done better by just admitting straight out that I’m an unapologetic polymath. It used to be true that artists did best to stake out their reputation on a single solid body of work, but I feel that this *is* changing these days. If you can demostrate that a diverse body of work has some underlying connection (whether that be simple curiousity, obsessive reinvention, or whatever) people tend to respect the rigor required to do multiple things well.

  • What a timely column!!! I do a contemporary work and really want to expand into something more traditional. I’ve been thinking of using another name but I’m wondering how to do it. I use my first initial and last name now. If I make up a totally fictitious name it opens up problems like how will I cash checks at the bank? What do I use as a resume? I’m thinking of using my husbands name. I really don’t want to start a new DBA business because I do enough paperwork now! Any suggestions?

  • Casey

    Are you reading my mind? My own modern work, Colorist American Landscapes, are very well branded as they are. However, I have a background in realism, and a big urge to start marketing this more pedestrian but very wonderful work. I also am being pulled towards some illustration work. For years I have considered using my given name, Kenneth, in place of my commonly used nickname, Casey, in order to represent another line of art. Now, my modern works are established, and the business side is rolling along. It might be the perfect time to get a “second” art job under a second name. Thanks for going out on a limb, and providing a very positive comment on something that I think a lot of artists would like to do. BTW, I changed over from the obscure name, “Rainy Day Studio” to using my own name about 5 years ago.

  • Soon after I first started quilting, I set up my website http://www.serendipitypatchwork.com.au so that I could share my quilts with family and friends overseas. Then I started producing quilt design projects for magazines and my website took on an increasingly commercial role. Recently I decided to set up a separate website showcasing my contemporary and experimental quilts – http://www.brendagaelsmith.com. It’s early days but I do not feel schziophrenic. Each website serves a distinct purposes. When I am in serious artist mode, I go with my name. Otherwise it is serendipity!