Podcast: Use your name for your art business

Make sure your name is prominent for your art business. You want to become known, don’t you?


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8 comments to Podcast: Use your name for your art business

  • Thanks for this! I’ve had one book, as you know, tell me to come up with a business name. I did, but I incorporated my name: Hempel Studios. It’s what I always have called the studio, before I had to think up a name. This issue is very challenging for women artists who marry and want to take their husband’s name. It has been, and still is for me. I was Sarah M. Hempel, Sculptor. When I got married I wanted to take my husband’s name, but still wanted to keep the Hempel around since I still sign my work S. Hempel. Now I go by Sarah Hempel Irani, Sculptor, but I call the studio “Hempel Studios.” A lot of my art friends still call me Sarah Hempel or just Hempel. Is that too complicated? It feels complicated to me!

  • As a teenager I worked as a ranch hand for Buddy Ebson (best known as Uncle Jed, on the “Beverly Hillbillies”). His real and legal name we Christian Ebson. He only used Buddy as his professional name. I was always impressed that, to the general public, he real name was unknown. When I became serious about my art career I struggled with what name to use since Michael Adams is about as common a name as they get. So professional I go by Michael Lynn Adams, and prefer to use Michael Lynn as my professional first name. I can’t thank my parents enough for their foresight to give me a unique middle name, even though, before using it professionally, the only time I heard it use was when I was in trouble. Sarah, I would encourage you to use the name that, in the minds of your clients, has the strongest relationship to you art. Since you sign your work S. Hempel, I think using Sarah Hempel as your professional name is perfectly legit.

  • Sarah: If it feels complicated to you, imagine what it feels like to others. I kind of get it. Your friends will get it. But it might be too complicated for the artworld. What does a critic call you in an article? It’s okay to be incorporated under a different name since you don’t need to use that name in the artworld.

  • As a curator and arts administrator, I really suggest consolidating names. In fact, I just blogged about this because of the confusion and frustration keeping up with artists’ special names. As a curator and arts administrator, I really suggest consolidating names. In fact, I just blogged about this because of the confusion and frustration keeping up with artists’ special names. If you do go with a different name for your artwork, at least keep it the same—forever. We get many updates from artists changing spelling or even completely new names. They loose any past recognition they had as they change names…

  • I agree. Keep your name out there. Another aspect of this question comes up with how one signs one’s work. Although I hate big flashy signatures on art, tiny illegible scribbles don’t make sense. I understand some types of work just aren’t conducive to being signed but if one can sign one’s work with subtle but easy to read lettering, that is a big plus over time. I’ve also been helping some of my students have shows at a local lobby. It is interesting that many of them don’t think to put their name on the wall label under each piece they hang, even though they dutifully record title, dimensions, media and date. A couple of times these were group show situations and a viewer would have no easy way to learn which artist had done which piece. Again it comes back to remembering to put oneself in the viewer’s shoes. Help people learn who you are.

  • Great podcast. I am 10 years into a commercial brand for my business Art Paw, and will stick with that, however for the past few years I have toyed with the idea of creating a distinct and separate brand of “my name” for my fine art or less commercial type of work. I think it is possible and ok to create a studio name that can eclipse your personal name. I would be interested in hearing ideas on how to go about setting up a 2nd brand for yourself that can support and enhance an existing studio brand.

  • Julia: Thank you for your insight. It’s valuable for artists to hear from you! Rebecca: Yep! Stay tuned to the next podcast.

  • What should an artist do if their name is complicated and hard to spell? I really struggled with what to name my business in the beginning. My entire name is difficult to pronounce let-alone spell. I really wanted to have Starostka in the url of my website but I decided it was just too much. Now, I’m having second thoughts. I agree that an artist’s name should be put on everything they are connected with, but what if people can’t spell it? So, I decided on using a shortened version of my last name “Star” in the url (star studio arts) for my site and business name, but I feel that is too generic. Hmm…maybe i should go ahead and purchase the domain name “Starostka.com” and link it to my current Starstudioarts.com site?