Deep Thought Thursday: Two bodies of work

Is it possible to promote (successfully!) two different bodies of work under the same name?

How can it be done?
What stands in the way of it being done successfully?

(Clarification: These are two bodies of work that look like two different artists made them.)

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14 comments to Deep Thought Thursday: Two bodies of work

  • I think it all depends on how you represent your work. I split mine up into “styles.” I’ve had clients who have used both my painterly and found object styles for different projects. I’ve been successful in promoting and landing jobs by giving both styles equal focus. I do think it helps to establish a certain style first and then bring in something different. That way it’s something “new” to your clients and it might widen your target market. I think what stands in the way of some artists is having a hodge-podge look to their portfolio. It could seem inconsistent and unorganized.

  • It isn’t easy. People either think you are versatile or schizoid. I have two simultaneous, very different bodies of work- 2D visionary realism and 3D abstracted figurative. Plus a lot of sort of whimsical older stuff. They all come from my heart though. I have them all in my gallery, but I only submit new work (both 2 & 3D) to shows and galleries.

  • Another thought. It’s been really a challenge to present it all on my website. People who’ve bought the “art of the natural world” go to the website to see it, but as much as I love that work and that part of my life, what I really want to promote is, of course the NEW stuff: visionary realism and sculpture. I’d appreciate any thoughts: http://www.lizamyers.com

  • There was some artist whose website I saw years ago, and I noticed his painting was dramatically different from his sculpture. I believe the painting was rather realistic, but the steel sculpture was definitely postmodern with all kinds of weird surface effects done to them. Both sets were nice, but they did indeed look like completely different artists, so I was a little confused. I completely understand why (steel is a lot different from paint.) I totally understand what Liza is saying about how people could interpret it as schizoid. I think my suggestion would be to find a way to tie it together, or at least explain the differences in your statement.

  • Liza, I get it … I mean to say , it all works for me , all the same hand … The nest paintings tie in with the natural bohemian flow of the sculptures , the flower watercolours , everything speaks to me the same artist , beautiful earthy deep eco spiritual smart … no signs of schizoid here , & by the way , WOW !

  • I’m interested in this topic because I’m about to go there myself and been thinking of how to do this smartly.

  • I’m a glass artist, so maybe this applies to me a little differently. So far, I have developed three distinct bodies of work. All three are marketable and all three are very, very different. I have named each of these series and dedicated a page to each on my site. In reflecting about my work, style, and motivations, I found the underlying thread that ties these very different series together. I bring this out in my artist statement. I am currently marketing one series, the River Series, heavily. When buyers go to my site and see what I’m all about, it has opened a dialogue about all of my work. On the one hand, the other 2 series give the River Series context. And even better, I have obtained wholesale inquiries into work I had not previously been marketing. I continue to work in series and really recommend it. I have two more in development now, and again, the same common thread is there, but they are distinctly different, and could be from a different artist. I guess my advice is to give importance to the different bodies of work by developing the various series, then dig deep, and figure out why you’re doing it. What’s the common thread. Discovering your need to work in different series or styles should help you define and develop your marketing plan. Regards, Mira

  • I am a painter, and after taking Alyson’s Promote class I separated my work with two websites. One is focused on the abstract and the other on traditional landscapes and still life. I also use different versions of my name – the full name with the abstracts, and a shortened version with the landscapes. What I found was that each body of work presented better when it was the main focus of the site. I have links that will take people from one site to the other if they are interested. I was hesitant to do this at first because I knew I was doubling my costs, but I am pleased with the outcome, although sometimes it can get confusing to people (local galleries, media and friends) about which name to use. My name is so generic, though, I really had to do something once I started reaching beyond my home area. And while it’s not perfect, it’s workable.

  • Sue: This is interesting. I’m glad it’s working for you and hope you’ll keep us updated on future moves.

  • One of my galleries is very liberal in their aesthetics and is very kind to show both my more illustrative whimsical images and my more representational almost classical landscapes. Things were progressing at a reasonable but slow rate, when we had the idea to split the two styles to opposite sides of the gallery, and wham! over night the sales dramatically increased for both. I think people can be over whelmed and confused, also many people hold a bias toward one or the other styles and there for may be turned off from the whole. On my website now I have them very separated, I like to think there is a slightly daydreamish magic to all the work, but I don’t suppose that is enough to tie the work together visually. All the best

  • I tried using 2 different names for a while but I just didn’t like doing that. It made ME feel like a schizoid. I now have 2 websites. One of my sites has everything I paint but separated: contemporary American Indians which I’ve been doing for years,and my newer traditional western and realistic still lifes. My second site just has my newer, non-contemporary work.

  • Michael: Great story. And it provides much-needed proof to the theory. K: Yes, I often recommend 2 websites for two different styles. You didn’t say, but I assume it’s working for you.

  • Chrystal

    I have a difficult time with the concept that artists have to work a certain way in order to have work accepted. I do a number of different things and work with a number of different mediums. That is who I am and how I work? Where did the idea come from that you have to create in the same manner consistently and why the confusion when your work has your signature? I do what I do and there is a natural order that my work falls into, so it separates itself into bodies of work. But, I am conscious of trying to fall in the standard of having my work look similar and it causes me distress when I am just creating what is in me to create.

  • Leslye

    Good Topic, Great Questions Is it possible to promote (successfully!) two different bodies of work under the same name? Absolutely, anything is impossible. How can it be done? Through the use of creativity within every artist mind, is it free? Free to soar. What stands in the way of it being done successfully? Not being free at mind, is it free? Free to soar. I think it’s essential to separate your different groups of works, rather than confuse your viewers. Your art should have nothing to with the amount of sales, but what the viewers sees. I don’t have a problem with separating my bodies of work, why? Because I want the viewers to be able to feel, adjust and relate to the individual groups of works that I create. In my POV, I do not allow room to cloud my mind with contradiction or let judgments dictate in any way, what I can or can not create to capture the thoughts of what’s going on in viewers’ minds. After all “The human mind is like anything with wings, free to soar.” © Leslye Miller. I prefer to be as creative as possible by using my mind to create freely and soar as high as I can with creativity, it is abyss, and it is believable that anything is possible. Leslye