Artists all over are struggling with their names. This inner battle usually pops up when it comes time to decide on a URL. The most frequent concerns I hear:
- My name is too common
- My name is too hard to spell
- Someone else already owns the URL with my name [might add: And she’s a porno star!]
- I sign my name as X on my paintings, but I want to be known as Y
- Everyone already knows me as X, but I think my professional name should be Y
Let’s look at these one at a time using Jim Harris as an example. Jim contacted me recently with some of these concerns.
1. Your name is common.
You can either (1) change your name once and for all or (2) embrace it and add something to it to distinguish the URL–something like a middle initial, middle name, or add-on at the end. You could be
Or even look at your initials:
jihsculpture.com (not as crazy about this one because the focus is on the sculpture rather than the name)
2. Your name is too hard to spell, hard to remember.
I wrote a whole post on this.
3. Somebody else already owns the URL with your name.
See responses to #1.
4. You sign your name differently than you’d like to be known.
It doesn’t matter how you sign your name. Pablo Picasso signed his work only “Picasso,” but he really did have a first name. Sign your name any way you like. Signing your name shouldn’t be a factor at all in how you want to be known. They are two different animals.
5. Everyone already knows you under a certain name.
First, I’ll ask: “Who is everyone?” If you’ve been exhibiting and selling your art under a certain name for years, it’s difficult to change your name. However, if everyone means your friends and family, that’s different. They can adjust. It’s the art-buying public that you don’t want to confuse.
Jim was concerned that James was too formal and that everyone knew him as Jim. Jim has one of those forgiving names. We all know that Jim is a shortened form of James. We aren’t surprised that someone’s professional name is James, but goes by Jim in everyday conversation. If you have one of these names (Peter/Pete, Robert/Rob, Michael/Mike, Katherine/Kate, Jessica/Jessy), you can tap into variations of your name–as long as you’re comfortable being known by that moniker.