Art history is a history if individual artists, not of company names. Since my master’s degree is in art history, I naturally want you to use your name when promoting your art. Using a company name puts you in league with all of the companies out there who are manufacturing and promoting unremarkable products. You’re different. Art is different. Art is not a mass-produced product. It’s remarkable!
Using your name as your business name tells the world that your art is different from the mass-produced stuff they can pick up at Target or Pier One. It says “This is made by hand, and not just any hand, but the hand of an artist.” While it may seem safer to hide behind a business name, ask yourself what playing it safe has ever done for anyone. Seriously. You have to take risks and put yourself out there when you want an art career–when you want to be known.
If you think your name is too common, you have a couple of options. You can change it (hey, it’s been done!) or you can embrace it and distinguish it somehow. Add your middle name, your middle initial, or your maiden name. The big question to answer is: How do you want to go down in the history books? As Alyson Stanfield? Alyson B. Stanfield? A.B. Stanfield? A. Stanfield? The choice is yours! But you have to pick one and stick with it. You will use this name whenever you create a promotional piece, be it your Web site, newsletter, exhibit label, press release, business card, or letterhead.
– – > And it should be prominent on every single page of your Web site, including any enlarged photo pages. Double check this on your Web site and blog right after you read this. Listen to Clint Watson talk about promoting your art online.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to sign your name this way. A signature is just a mark. You can sign your art with whatever feels natural. For example, I have signed my name “AB Stanfield” since I was a teenager. “Alyson Stanfield” was just too long to write out and the y in my first name seemed to interrupt the flow of writing it out. So, AB Stanfield it is. Signing my full name seems unnatural. But, I chose “Alyson B. Stanfield” as my professional name. I didn’t fear there would ever be too many Alyson Stanfields around, but I’m kind of attached to my middle name, so I always wanted the B in there. And I’m glad I’ve used it! I recently found someone else with my name–spelled the exact same way–on Facebook. A teenager!
If you’re reading this and bumming out because you aren’t using your name, stay tuned. Next week I promise to give you some parameters for using a business name.
Art history is a history of individuals, not of company names.
THINK ABOUT THIS———-~>
You are your art. Your art doesn’t exist without the individual who made it by hand.
Use your name for your art business. Decide how you want to go down in the history books and stick with it. Also, insist that others identify you as you would like. There’s an interesting post about this on the blog. It’s an older post, so comments are closed, but you might pick up some good tips on how to ensure others are also using your professional name.
This is a decision that many artists struggle with. How did you decide what name to use? Any regrets?